How To Afford Back To School When You Think You Can’t Afford Back To School

So once again the kids are headed back to school for a new school year. It seems that as each year passes, the summer months fly by faster and faster.

Next week, we’ll begin to see bus drivers practicing their routes and teachers headed back to school to set up their classrooms. This school year, my family will have one college graduate, one high school Junior and one 4th grade student.

I am always a little apprehensive that first day back to school. I worry about my kids – Will they like their new teachers, will the teachers like my kids?

Along with the worries about teachers, friends and new schedules, some parents worry about how to afford to purchase all the necessary school supplies, back-to-school outfits and school fees.

Here are a few tips to help other parents that I have learned along the way:

Shop early!
Many retailers – Like Target, Office Depot & Staples offer deals to get you in the door. During past few weeks, Office Depot/Office Max has offered many penny deals on items like rulers, pencils, pens and index cards.
Make sure to also check out your local grocery stores.

Most schools sent home supply lists at the end of the school year but if you can’t find it, check your child’s school website. Most stores also have the lists by their school or office supply sections.

By shopping early you will have a better chance of avoiding the the shopping rush that is inevitable after the schools have their registration & meet-the-teacher days.

For those families in deep financial straits, make sure to check with your local co-ops and churches for help. Many can offer assistance and help provide your child with the needed supplies. Go here for more info
www.SE Gwinnett Co-Op

Clothing is another major expense for most parents. Every kid wants a brand new outfit to wear the first day – And, if your kids are like mine, they want multiple outfits!

Here in Georgia, the weather is so hot until late fall that it is unnecessary to purchase fall clothing until the weather cools. Most retailers have all their summer items on clearance sale right now so pick up a cute outfit or two.

Thrift stores are also a great place to find school clothes. You would not believe the name brand clothing I find for a fraction of the original retail price. A good rule of thumb is to not get so excited by all the good deals that you overbuy. Just imagine you spend a fortune on clothing your child just “HAS to have,” only to find out after the first day of school, your child had changed his or her mind and – Oops! THAT clothing is not “in style” anymore! So my advice is: Only purchase one or two cute outfits and wait. We all know that after the first week of school the kids are all wearing their old stuff anyway.

Shoes are another expense that cause many parents and guardians to cringe. Your kid wants that latest popular pair of Nike shoes at $100. Yet you know his feet are still growing and those shoes will only fit him a few months. What’s a parent to do? I always check stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory and Ross. They always have a great selection of name brand shoes at a much cheaper price. Word of warning, you do have to consistently shop these places and watch for specific items you want. When they get them in stock chances are it will sell very quickly, so pounce on the good deals.

Those pesky school fees tend to really upset some folks. They say, “I am already spending a fortune on supplies, why do I need to give the school even more money?” Believe me, I understand. The fees are not required, but please remember to support your school. We all see how much we pay in school taxes yearly, but did you know that your local school will only see a very small amount of that money? So make sure to help support the things that are important to you!

Do you have any advice or great ideas to share with others? Comment below and let’s all help each other save a few bucks!


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