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The cost of “back to school”

Back to School Pencils

Some of the traditions I am most invested in are associated with going back to school.

I remember treading to the mall each fall to purchase new clothes, new shoes and of course, a new bag and accessories. The end of summer parties and oh, the freshly baked after school cookies…yumm.

What I hadn’t realized until recently is that “back to school” comes with a price. The average cost to send an elementary-aged child to school is nearly $500, while the cost for sending middle school and high school students to school is $575 and $1000 respectively. Holy cow!

This year, we decided to cut back a little over last year’s expenditures. Here are a few ways we’ve found to trim the budget:

1. Shop at home. Go through your closets and see what you already have (read more about this here).

2. Come up with a list of clothing and school supply needs.

3. Set a budget and stick to it.

4. Make sure you know the difference between cheap and a great deal.

5. Play the waiting game. If your kids only need a few items, start out with those and buy the rest later when it goes on sell.

Are you doing anything special to save on back to school this year?

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4 Responses to " The cost of “back to school” "

  1. Adrian's Crazy Life says:

    Going through closets is an absolute must! I had actually put in some Ebay bids for some jeans because my son swore up and down that NONE of his jeans fit and ALL of them had holes. Um, yeah, except for the SIX pairs of perfectly nice jeans I found in his drawers. Needless to say I canceled those bids ASAP!

    Hand-me-downs have become a bad word, but I'm fine with them. American culture is so perfectionistic about reusing clothes, but to me it's such a waste to only wear nice things a few times. My boys are 10 years apart, so it isn't practical for us, but we will trade clothes with cousins or people from church.

  2. Safire says:

    We're big fans of shopping at the thrift store. Clothes there are just as good as new stuff, and often won't shrink (since they have already been washed!). Other than that, I've got a brand new kinder kid and I'm just taking things as they come. I am making sure she has enough clothes, a back pack, lunch box, and supplies. Beyond that, I have NO idea. :)

  3. Camille says:

    My oldest is starting Kindergarten this year and I'm mostly dealing with the guilt that comes from not being able to drop off/pick up my kid from school (due to the full-time work schedule). So, all of the back-to-school preparations take on a different meaning since that is a way I can show my "involvement" in her school experience. Basically, I look for stock-up sales and coupons that come in mailers and magazines (for shoes and school items mostly).

  4. Steph says:

    My kids have always been in private/year-round/charter schools. Which has made back to school prep very easy for me. I have either only had to buy uniforms and school supplies when they have been in private/charter schools. And for year round they just wore their summer clothes until the weather cooled down. That gave me time to slowly stock up on a fall/winter wardrobe.

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