Welcome Containers for TeachersMany years ago, I put together welcome containers for the teachers on the first day school. I put in a tea bag, instant coffee, pack of sugar, candies and little notes of encouragement. At that time, we were able to add single dose packs of Tylenol (for those extra stressful days). Now you can't add those, of course.
First Day of School PhotosEvery year, since our kids were in Kindergarten, I have taken a photo of them in their cubbies. Looking back at them, they are so small those first few years.
Smarter Back to School ShoppingEvery where you look, all you see is Back to School sales. In some places, kids are going back, but here in CA, it is the start of summer school. Either way, savings are all around us.
Saving Money on School Supplies and ClothingSending a child to school is so expensive! At the beginning of the school year the school sends you a list of things the child will need. Parents rush out with this list, piling their baskets high.
Buy School Supplies In Bulk On SaleBuy supplies in bulk and/or when supplies are on sale. Share the expenses and supplies with your children's friends and parents.
Take Your Own School PicturesIf the cost of school pictures has gotten too expensive, try this tip. Instead of having the picture taken at school, create your own school pictures. Hang a sheet or blanket on the wall as a backdrop.
Make School Mornings a BreezeIn the mornings, when getting your kids off to school, it can be hectic! I do some simple things to make it easier and more efficient, and I thought maybe the tips I use would help others.
Waking Up the TroopsI have one child who does not like to get up in the morning, so I set two alarm clocks. The one by her bed is set fifteen minutes earlier than the one that is set across the room. By doing this, she has extra sleep time or time to lounge in bed before having to get up.
Shopping For School SuppliesHere are several tips for saving money on school supplies.
Tax Free School Shopping WeekendHere's a list of the states participating in Tax Free Weekend 2011. If you have a budget for Christmas, this is a good time to buy a few Christmas gifts. Here are my suggestions for not overspending during these tax saving week-ends from my experience
Trade Used Back to School ItemsThis can be done in a community to help families provide new articles of clothing, shoes, backpacks, etc for children to have when school begins.
Use the School Supplies You HaveInstead of going out to buy new coloring utensils for the school year, grab that big box of crayons from under the bed. You can find a crayon sharpener just laying about and sharpen some of the main colors needed.
Dollar Store For School SuppliesI have found that the dollar store is a great place to buy school supplies.
Donate Leftover School SuppliesDo your children come home the last day of school with overflowing backpacks from cleaning out their lockers, cubbies, desks, etc? I like to donate the extra supplies to a local shelter that helps families with children.
Prepare for School the Night BeforeMy grandchildren live with me, and mornings were chaotic getting them ready for school. Now at night each child has to get their clothes ready for the next day, put their shoes by the door, and have their backpacks next to them.
Using Last Year's School SuppliesWe asked other families if they had some good school things from the year before, then gave them 1/4 their cost. This saves and helped the other family too.
Stocking Up on School SuppliesStock up now on school supplies. The supplies won't be this cheap until a full year later. You can use school supplies as really good stocking stuffers or you can give them out in gift bags at birthday parties!
Pool Resources on School SuppliesMy sister used to live in a town where the school bought the supplies and split the cost among the parents. They were able to save money, because they bought in bulk. Another advantage being that every child had the same items.
Replace Frequently Used CrayonsWhen we ran low in our crayon containers, the big boxes would provide the unusual colors, but the basics (red, blue, black pink, green, etc.) would get used more often. I would throw in a 24 count for the quickly used colors more often than the 64 count.
Pull Primary Crayons for School from Large SetMy son is entering Kindergarten and on his school supply list was 4 boxes of 8 primary crayons. K-Mart was running a special on a box of 24 Crayola crayons for .25 cents. A box of 8 was .89 cents. I bought 3 boxes of crayons and had one perfect set at home.
Back to School Sales for Stocking StuffersBuy school supplies and give them as stocking stuffers. My kids never get tired of getting pencils, crayons, markers, and these are always on sale around back to school season. You can find some items extra, extra cheap like spiral notebooks!
Check Fundraiser Product Quality Before PurchasingThrough the years, my children's schools have sponsored fund raisers which offer all the school supplies in a big bag for a set amount. I stopped participating because the supplies were usually of poor quality.
Work On Homework With Your KidsI sat with each of my kids and, after reading homework assignments, we did the homework together. It was quality, fun time (mostly) with each child individually, and the homework got completed.
Earn Box Tops For Education With Online ShoppingEarn cash for your elementary school while shopping online? Yes! BoxTops Marketplace showcases online merchants that contribute a percentage of your purchase to the school of your choice.
Start School Schedule Before School StartsMy mother always started having us go to bed at "school night" times about 2 weeks before it started and getting up at "school morning" times. Then she'd have us write a short paper (usually only one page) to get our minds on track.
Prepare for School the Night BeforeThe best back to school tips are to have your child pick out his or her clothes the night before and either lay them out on a desk or hang them on the front of the closet doors so that they are ready first thing in the morning.
Buy School Supplies Now for ChristmasBuy extra school supplies now, as they start to go on clearance. By Christmas time, new markers, crayons, cute pens, notebooks and folders will make great stocking stuffers and small gifts. They will be needed by then, too.
Buy a Year's Worth of School Supplies in the FallWe buy a years worth of school supplies once a year. Every year the stores such as Walmart, Target others put the school supplies on sale. Such as a box of crayons for .22cents. Most families wait for the schools list to come out.
Help Kids Match Clothes with PhotosMy 4 and 5 year olds pick out their own school clothes after I used this tip and are always in matching outfits. Before school started this year, we played model and took a photo of them in each outfit.
Getting Ready For School In AdvanceMy son just started kindergarten, I work part-time and my husband works second shift. So at night, preparing for school the next day is all up to me! To help myself stay organized, I do the following:
Swap Sports Supplies with Other ParentsMy son has played football for 8 years and is currently playing JV football in high school. My husband is a coach for the youth football league so I have faced the cost of spikes, etc many times. Talk to other parents, they may have used gear they can't use anymore.
Label Child's Belongings for SchoolWith school back in full swing, for your younger children who might have trouble remembering their coats, jackets, or other items, at school or on the school buses, please put their names on the clothing tags inside, so they can be returned your family.
Stock up at Back To School TimeI used to work in a daycare, and at back to school sale time, I stocked up on items I would need for the daycare for the year (scissors, colored pencils, markers, etc.).
WalMart's Back To School Fashion ShowIf your local Walmart store announces a "Back to School Fashion Show". Check into getting your children into the Fashion Show catwalk lineup. A friend's children recently participated in one. Walmart gave each child the clothing and props they used as a gift for walking their 'catwalk' in the show.
Reuse Containers for School Supply StorageSchool teacher supplies can be a challenge to store in a crowded classroom with limited storage space. Empty tennis ball containers which are clear can store office supplies such as paper clips, paper brads, pens, pencils, erasers, etc.
School Shopping at an Outlet MallWe plan an all day trip to Reading, PA to shop at the Vanity Fair Outlets on a weekday or a Saturday. It is a beautiful scenic trip. We make a list of all the clothing, shoes, sneakers, and school needs, etc. and spend most of the day there. We'll eat there and shop.
Saving Money on Packed LunchesWith kids going back to school soon, it's a good time to start looking for ways to save money on packed lunches. Here are some tips shared by the ThriftyFun community. If you have advice, please post it here.
Start Shopping For Back To SchoolShop now for your Back to School items. They're greatly reduced at various stores. Stock up for the whole year. Also, keep in mind buying packages of pencils, erasers, etc., these items could be put in birthday goodie bags, Easter baskets, or used as Halloween treats, in place of sweet treats.
Caddy for Homework and ToolsTo control all the essentials of homework, I bought a box that holds hanging file folders (make it a cute one). I then put tabs for each of my children so I could hold spelling tests, sight words and other papers that we use year round.
Hide Labeling on Kids BelongingsThe best plan is to always write kids names on the inside of their belongings. Displaying the name on the outside could be an invitation for trouble, should your child assume an unfamiliar person knows him/her just because this person calls him/her by name.
Use a Notebook for Teacher CorrespondenceI'm not sure how many teachers are already doing this, but even if she/he asks for a folder to put their notes and worksheets in (for younger grades), use a cheap 70 page spiral notebook so you can exchange notes.
Oriental Trading Company For Birthday GoodiesSince schools do not allow homemade goodies for birthdays and holidays anymore, Oriental Trading Company has various items in their catalog that would be fun to hand out instead of candy or sweets.
Getting Kids Ready For Back To SchoolHere are some tips for getting kids ready for back to school. Start putting the kids to bed earlier every night so that by the time school starts they are used to a school time bedtime.
Make Book Covers from Leftover WallpaperUse leftover pieces of wallpaper or pages from a wallpaper book to make book covers. Many of these book covers are even tear-resistant.
Ask For School Uniforms On FreecycleOne thing you could do to get uniforms, jackets and such is to put a post up on Freecycle or a Yahoo group. We have one here in Jefferson Parish, which is like a county. Maybe you can check to see if you have one in your town or area.
Tips for Buying School SuppliesAs a teacher and mom, I am on both sides of the "school supply list" scavenger hunt. Here are my tips.
Look For Free School SuppliesAnother way to save on school/home office supplies is to look for online freebie. I have gotten sample highlighters, photo and print paper, pens, and post-it notes!
Buy School Supplies from the ListI always wait until I have an exact list of needed items from the teachers themselves before I buy. In the upper grades, some teachers can be very specific about what they prefer; down to the color of the ink pen or size of the notebook.
Buy Supplies Before And Clothing After School StartsJust before school starts, the stores put school supplies on sale at very cheap prices. The kids will usually need most of those sale items at some point. So I purchase the limited number. Sometimes even going back more than once.
Stock Up on School SuppliesWhen each of my grandchildren were born, I started a tub where I purchase school supplies for them every year. I wait until school starts and Walmart and the other stores discount everything and I stock up.
The Benefits of Wearing Uniforms to SchoolWearing Uniforms to School. Here 'down under' we are in the middle of the school year so the tips will have to be kept for January. LOL. . .
Praise for MarshallsMy daughter is a senior in high school, a tech H.S. She has a co-op program this year. She'll be working every other week in an office. She's not one for frilly girl clothes. . .
School SnacksBack to School Snack. A little story of when my daughter was younger. I would now and then make her some peanut butter crackers. No big deal. Before you know it she was coming home with all types of junk snacks. . .
Making Custom Composition NotebooksMaking Custom Composition Notebooks. I just decorated a basic composition book that I found 3 for $1 at a local drug store. Using a glue stick, I covered it with scrapbooking papers. . .
Decorating Your School Locker with MagnetsMy son started middle school this year and he has his own locker. Of course, he wants to "decorate" his locker. I explained to him that stickers and other semi-permanent things would not be good.
Plan Outfits With Fashion Show PhotosPlan Outfits With Fashion Show Photos. This is a tip if you have a 6 year Diva who, at the last minutes before you walk out the door, decides she hates all her clothes and has nothing to wear. . .
Buy Quality Backpacks For SchoolBuy Quality Backpacks For School. I highly suggest buying backpacks at L L Bean. The quality is really good and the price is not bad either. My kids get at least 2 years out of one of their backpacks. . .
Saving For School ExpensesSaving For School Expenses. Purchasing school supplies takes a huge bite out of our budget (and it's a free public education!) Each payday, I place $25 in an envelope to be used for school related expenses. . .
Back To School Breakfast ScheduleWe use to struggle with what to have for breakfast. My children have come up with a breakfast schedule and they posted it on the fridge. They listed days of the week and the breakfast meal that will be served that morning.
Tips for the First Day of SchoolI'm a nerd and have my own handbook for tips for school. Well here are some tips for the kids if they are nervous. Dress comfortably. Be prepared. Get your stuff out the night before...
New Life for Kids' ShoesI've brought new life into shoes by buying 'Scuff' repair dye next to the shoe polish...
Marking Jackets for SchoolUnless you want to replace jackets and the like that are lost at school, be sure to label everything-on the inside. White-out can be used on dark clothes and will not wash out. One year I had 6 students with identical navy blue sweatshirts in my class!
"The Teacher" PoemI have this sweet poem in my family scrapbook, and thought I'd like to share it:
Homemade Drinkable YogurtMy kids love the Danimals brand drinkable yogurts, but they are such small servings and quite expensive. I make my own drinkable yogurt in a glass or plastic drink shaker.
Quick Homemade WafflesWe're always rushed on school mornings, so I make up a batch of waffles ahead of time and freeze them in individual serving sizes. You take them out of the freezer and put them in the toaster and they come out awesome!
Shoe Shopping Strategy - Trace Your Child's FeetSo that I don't miss out on kids' shoe sales when I am out shopping without my daughter I periodically trace her feet on a piece of paper, cut it out and tuck it in my purse.
Buy Dark Clothing - Know When to SkimpIf you're on a budget, spend less by buying dark-colored clothes. Workmanship is much less noticeable in dark-colored fabrics, so most inexpensive darks can pass for pricier.
Kids Jacket SwapKids grow out of their jackets really quickly but the jackets don't seem to wear out quickly. Get together some of your friends and host a jacket or coat swap. You can also do this with adult clothes too. Everyone needs to bring a jacket that is in good shape. And now you can swap for a good jacket that will fit your ever growing kids.
Teen Back-To-School Saving On Designer ClothingI discovered Plato's Closet which is a teenage designer clothing consignment store. My teen can get name brand clothing for less than it would cost to buy her clothes at Walmart. She also can take her outgrown clothes that are in good condition and receive money back. Go to http://www.platoscloset.com to find the location nearest you. You won't be disappointed!
By M. Day
School Supply Tip: Cheap Office SuppliesOk, this not exactly a tip on how to buy cheap school supplies but is something to think about while you are busy buying your kids supplies. Every year although my kids are all grown I hit the school supply sales and here is why:
Thrifty Stores for Back to School ShoppingDon't forget to check out Goodwill and the Salvation Army stores for good buys on clothing. Stick to neutrals when buying the basics and you can expand your wardrobe.
School Supply Clearance SalesIf possible, wait to buy most things after school starts when school supplies go on sale.
Free School SuppliesSchool supplies for my children this year were free! What I did was sign up for Office Depot's rebate program which gives you money back in the form of a Office Depot Gift card when you make purchases at their stores.
Back to School Shopping TipsWe asked our readers how they save money on their school clothes and supply shopping. Here are the answers.