The return to school is coming up fast, now how can you manage to buy what you need without ending up broke?
Here are some simple tips to help you while picking up all the back to school essentials on your list.
You know how you look through the contents of your cupboards before going grocery shopping, do the same thing here.
Shop at home before buying a single item on your children’s school supply list. Take a look through your house, check out that junk drawer and don’t forget the closets.
If the items are in good shape do not be afraid to use last year’s stuff.
A lot of the items do not have to be replaced every year. Things like backpacks, lunch kits and calculators can be used over again.
Clean out all the freebie pens and pencils from the junk drawer. This is a great way to use all those pens companies give out.
Most stores will give great discounts on certain things to get you in the doors. They are hoping you will just pick up the rest of what you need as well.
Don’t do this, watch the flyers and cherry pick through them to find the best deals on the things you need.
Go to the store while you are out doing other running around; go in get the sale item and leave.
Since the stores start advertising bargains starting in August you should have plenty of time to find everything on sale.
If you can bring the flyers to a store that offers price matching that way you can cross a number of things off your list with only one stop.
Now when you are in the store looking to locate the sale item do not get caught up in all the extras.
There are fancy pens that feature your kids favourite T.V. character, tons of locker accessories and other little fun things.
If you can shop without your child or be sure to discuss it before you leave to avoid the melt down as you say no to non-essential things.
To make the items that you do purchase more fun let your child personalize them at home.
Kids will keep track of the stuff they make their own more than generic items. It is fairly easy and inexpensive to jazz up pens, binders and notebooks with stickers and other low cost things.
Do not go and grab the least expensive item out there.
Keep in mind that quality does count with some things.
Choose well made products that are going to last at least one school year and hopefully a lot more.
For clothing and back packs look at the stitching and is the material durable.
Also with the backpacks see if you can find ones with a warranty.
One last tip, pick up items you know you will need every year during the whole year when you see them on for a good price.
Often the best deals are found months after school has started as stores try and make room for other stock.
Sandra Nolan is a freelance writer from Rocky Mountain House. Her column appears every other week in LIFE. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org