A Working Mom’s Back to School Guide
In a week and a half, the summer ends (well, the heat doesn’t end… but the “Summer Season” ends) and school begins. It never fails… this time of year always manages to sneak up on me. We receive the “Hello, I’m your child’s new teacher…” post card in the mail and my immediate reaction is:
“CRAP! I haven’t started buying school supplies yet!”
My tendency to procrastinate means I have missed all sales, as well as the tax free days for my state. I end up spending more money, building more stress, and forgetting important supplies.
I vowed this year would be different! No more waiting until this last minute…and rushing like a crazy person (with hyper kids in tow) to the store to grab whatever is left on the shelf!
Ok, that is a total lie. The truth is I fell into this year’s system totally by accident, but I learned some very important lessons.
Don’t wait until the last minute
I am a HUGE planner by heart. Anyone who has been following this blog knows that I make lists… and lists that keep track of my lists. I carry notebooks with me everywhere and keep two calendars on my phone (as well as Evernote…LOVE this app!).
However, when it comes to planning for the beginning of the school, year… I suck!
After work ended on a Friday a few weeks ago, I took the boys to the grocery store to pick something up for dinner. As we walked in, I noticed the rack of school supplies with the sign “Buy 1, Get 1” in big bold letters… Score! We picked up a few packs of paper, pencils, and glue sticks.
Since there will be three of us in school this year, we are going to need a LOT of paper!
Always, always buy extra supplies
The boys and I were really excited to find such a great deal! My 9-year old is the king of savings… if the “Total Saved” isn’t a certain amount at the grocery store, I get a dirty look.
The next day my mother-in-law came home from Dollar General with a few more supplies for them (how sweet is this woman!!). Later, I had to go back to Dollar General for some “girl supplies” and I saw signs EVERYWHERE that said “$5 off if you spend $15 in School Supplies”. On top of that, I already had a $5 off coupon for orders over $25.
Have you ever had those moments where the harps started playing, and the angels start singing… and the world begins to glow? That’s what happened…
We filled the cart!
If you see amazing deals on clothes/shoes, buy extras
Later, we went to our local Wal-Mart to pick up my favorite Fine Point No-Bleed Sharpies, and saw shoes for Gage on sale for $3. I had to look twice… and once again to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. I bought him two pairs!
My children wear uniforms so they can either wear school shirts, or plain polo shirts. We went to the Goodwill by our house and they had a HUGE row of plain white polo shirts that would fit my 6-year old…I bought five.
Ignore the school supply lists the stores display
I used to be a stickler about picking up the school supply lists displayed at the front of the stores. However, even when you get the list specified for your child’s school and grade, it’s rare that it actually lists the items that the teachers need.
Now we just get the basics: paper, scissors, glue sticks, crayons, etc (when they are on sale). When we receive the real list from the teachers, we pick up the remaining items.
Buy a really high quality backpack
My children go through backpacks like crazy. Finally, we picked up a really good quality heavy-duty backpack for my 9-yr old. It was originally $65, and marked down to $19.99. He is on his third year with it.
What are your favorite back to school tips?