School starts this week! Where has the summer gone!? While many people are scrambling to snag all of the best back-to-school sales, we are taking our time enjoying the last few days of summer. When it comes to back-to-school shopping, we take it pretty easy.
If you’re looking for ways to save on back-to-school shopping, staying home may be your best bet. While we do some shopping at the end of the summer, we keep it to a minimum. We focus on things that the kids need, instead of buying everything “just because.”
Here are some things we’re not buying, and some things we are!
What We’re Not Buying
A Whole New Wardrobe
I have been buying clothes as needed, mostly at thrift stores and online from Thredup and Schoola. I have the clothes stashed away so they’ll be new to my kids. They also have plenty of good clothes from *gasp* last year that still fit. It’s fun to have a “new” outfit on the first day, but an entire new wardrobe is not a tradition we follow.
Several years ago before I had any kids in school. I found a fabulous deal on Lands End backpacks so I bought two and gave them to my older two for Christmas. They felt so grown up to have their own backpacks. Because they are high quality (not cheap, disposable quality), they can easily last through all of elementary school. Even if you didn’t invest in quality backpacks yet, if last year’s backpacks are still functional, then pass on a new one.
Packing a lunch is definitely the frugal way to go for kids and adults alike. When I got the great deal on backpacks, I got matching lunch boxes as well. I can’t remember the exact price, just that it was awesome. It was sometime in November or December, which is why they were Christmas gifts. If last year’s lunch box is still good, then use it again this year!
My kids all have tennis shoes, dress shoes and sandals that fit them. They aren’t shiny and new, but they work just fine, so there’s no sense in getting new ones. I try to keep an eye out for good shoes before the kids need them and then I’ll stash them away until their current shoes don’t fit or get thrashed.
What We Are Buying
Instead of sending juice boxes with my kids or having them buy milk, I send them with water. In the past, I have sent cheap water bottles or sippy cup style bottles, but most of them didn’t hold up or were had to clean and grew mold. This time, I’m buying 16oz Nalgene bottles with screw-on lids. We have a large collection of quart-size Nalgene bottles and love them. The smaller size will be perfect for their lunch boxes and I’m using Swagbucks credits to pay for them!
Side note on milk: Did you realize that if you pay $.50 for a half pint of school milk, you are paying $8 per gallon? Yikes! I had a reader tell me that she fills a reusable bottle up half way with milk and freezes it the night before, then fills the rest with milk in the morning. Perfect!
I like to stock up on school supplies while they’re super cheap. My kids don’t get their supply list until school actually starts, so I can’t get started on it yet. When I do buy the supplies, I avoid characters branded items and stick to solid classics. Not only is it cheaper, but I prefer a clean, neat look to being an advertisement.
How About You?
- What back-to-school items are you buying or not buying?
- Do you feel pressure to buy all new things for your kids?
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