Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's the most expensive time of the year....

If you're like me, you dread spending money on back to school supplies.  I can think of 1000 other things I'd like to be doing with the money.  But...since cutbacks are taking place all over these days, it's important to help out our children and teachers and provide them what they need...even if we don't see why they'll need 10 glue sticks in one year.  I disgress....

Sidenote----if you are one of those lucky parents who doesn't need to buy ANY school supplies, I applaud you and tell you that I am extremely jealous.   Scroll down towards the bottom for some great supplies out there!

So over the past 4 years of having a child in school, I have discovered some ways to save a little when it comes to this time of year.  I am happy to say that I have cut my back to school supply spending by 1/3 over the past 4 years.  Now I can spend the money on other things! 

Here are a few tips:

1.  Shop EARLY....the sales starts by July 4th and although you may not know exactly what your child will need, we all know that it's the same basics each year (scissors, glue sticks, pencils, crayons, etc.)  When you shop at Target or Walmart it is so unbelievably easy to return what you may not need.  Target even takes returns without a receipt if you provide the credit card you used...GENIUS!

2. Use rewards certificates or coupons....there are TONS of coupons out there if you subscribe to the membership email programs to the major suppliers (Staples, Walmart, Target).   Also, check the newspapers. You'd be surprised what you can find.  I used my Staples rewards last year and got $80 in FREE school supplies.  Remember, Staples gives you $ for every ink cartridge you turn in.  Save those rewards and use them for this dreaded time of year.

3.  Reuse, recycle....I've learned that my child does not need new scissors each year.   How much can their hand possibly grow to need new scissors...really?   There are some school supplies that just don't need to be replaced every year.  Write your child's name on them with a Sharpie and that way you'll receive them back at the end of the school year.

4.  Lastly, be creative.  Check out this genius idea for a pencil case using a ziploc bag taken from Real Simple Family Magazine.  What a great way to re-purpose an everyday item!

Or this fun idea for a self-made pencil case from Skip To My Lou.   We are working on collecting our pouches right now to make a pink lemonade pouch :)

Or this idea for book covers that are fun and different from   How fun are they?  You could really get creative with this!  These were made with old maps and/or foreign language books.  Imagine using old picture books or magazines from a thrift store too....

Unfortunately I learned my lesson with NOT reusing and recycling by buying a cheap backpack when my daughter entered kindergarten.  I wish I had then invested in a good one and bit the bullet on the cost so that we didn't have to shop for a new one each year.   The only good daughter's taste changes with the wind.  In kindergarten she liked girly things and now as a big 4th graders, she's into zebra everything.....and I mean EVERYTHING!

She would LOVE this one from PPottery Barn Teen... and apparently she's not alone because the whole line is SOLD OUT!

Here are a few cute ideas for backpacks and other supplies that I found recently.  Some are great deals and I included their price so you can see that there really are some at every price point if you really look.

This one is from and is $27.50.  It's totally customizable too with different monograms and pictures.  Very cute.
Or this style of messenger bag which is oh so mature!   My daughter is little so it's still a little hard to carry, but I love this one.    Owls are my new fav for kids....  And the best part, it's on sale for only $12.71 at

And how about these fun binders for girls from Justice.  So cool!  And...on sale for only $4.99. 

And for boys' backpacks.....I LOVE this one!

It's from Mini Boden so of course it's pricey ($40), but.....if you subscribe to their email list as previously mentioned, they have great deals.  Right now they have buy 3 things, get the 4th for free!  It also comes in a cool skull print too!   My little guy might need this for Kindergarten next year once it goes on sale. 

And this is cool for the older boy...skater look.  From ToysRUs and it's only $19.99, comes with a free lunchbox up to $9.99 value AND....qualifies for FREE shipping.  Not too shabby!

Or the best....themed backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids.  My little guy would die for this Batman one or the Spiderman one. The only problem is that for the price they are ($39.50-$45.50), my child better LOVE Batman for a long time.  They do offer free shipping however so all's not lost.

And last but not least....for the littest in your family.  I love these options...
Both are from and there are a few others too including a zebra, frog and bumble bee! 
 So sweet and only $19.99.

I'd love to hear what you use as a backpack or if you've found any good deals out there.  

Of course you could always use one of our Busy Bags or Everyday Totes from the shop as a
book bag too....check them out!

1 comment:

  1. do you know if you can still get the binders from justice because i got one and i ripped it and i need help finding another one..... thanks my email is please respond if you know where i can get one.....