Like the commercial says, “They are going back.”
From pencil to paper, though now it is more like a scientific calculator and a laptop. The back to school shopping lists start coming out about this time of year. Summer is winding down and most people start to load up on school supplies for September. This is also the time of year when boots, jackets and jeans plus all the other clothing items are hauled out of the back of the closet, where they have been hiding. They all have mysteriously seemed to have shrunk as what was a little big on your children is now a little tight or short. How can you fill the closet and find everything on the school supply list at a price that will get you to the head of the class.
Shop at home before heading off to the stores. You may already have a lot of the items your child needs. Remember that items such as rulers, backpacks and pencil boxes do not have to be replaced every year. While it fun to have a new backpack with this year’s greatest TV character on it, that is defiantly a want not a need. If the items from last year are still in good shape, use them. Clean out that junk drawer in your kitchen. All those free pens that businesses give out can find their way into the classroom. The items get put to good use and you get space back in your house.
One of the easiest ways is to photocopy that school list and get your kids involved. Give them each a copy of the list and one flyer. Have them write down the best price they can find on the items needed. Be sure they put the store name on the top of the photocopy. When all the flyers have been gone through, take the sheets and transfer the best price found and the store on your copy. Pick up those items and then do the same thing next week until you have everything you need. When searching for the best deals remember to make use of coupons. You can find them in flyers and online. Big box stores advertise their flyers and have printable copies of their coupons on their websites.
You can use price comparison websites. Theses make finding the cheapest price in town a breeze. Just type in the item you want, coloured pencils or binders whatever you are searching for. They bring up for you to compare the prices at a variety of stores. Try sites such as Google shopping or pricegrabber. You can find every item on your list, without ever having to step outside your home. The internet has made the job of comparing prices quick, convenient and cost effective.
For the clothing issue, first try a clothing swap with your friends. Go through and list all the clothing along with the sizes that you have to swap. Make a second list of all the clothing you are looking for. Get together and let the swapping begin.
Sandra Nolan is a freelance writer from Rocky Mountain House. Her column will appear every other week in LIFE. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.