Summer has come to an end and the countdown to the start of the next school year is over; school is back in session! With that comes gearing up for the big day with a completed supply list – a fun and exciting time, but also one stock full of back-to-school shopping expenses.
There are quite a few online fulfillment tools that work directly with the classroom and parents to streamline supply list shopping, namely TeacherLists.com and SchoolToolBox.com. These tools are great for some families - making the process easy, efficient, and quick. But, other families must take the “haul-pass” on this supply hack and resort to traditional in-store shopping methods. I did this year and found that my kindergartner's supply list totaled $43 via the kit and $32 for like-like items in a store, saving me $11 or 25.5% of the bill. On top of this, there are always some needed incidentals (like a clay pot, some classroom cash, and headphones); in my case, these back-to-school shopping extras were an additional $29 cost either way I managed it.
Parent/Child Wants and Needs
In addition to the traditional list, parents must manage another set of fixed and variable costs; in my case, this year cost an upfront $255 (clothes, shoes, backpack, lunch box, labels) and another $42/week (lunches and after care). More so, I earmarked another $180 for the future purchase of winter wear. BTW - Label tags are a must-have in any group setting such as school or daycare for essential items like coats, bags, shoes, clothes, etc. To save on the expense of my favorite brand (Mabel’s Labels) I purchased one set for $34.95, but put both
of kids name on them it since it fit in the allocated character space. Ingenious; I basically saved myself 50% of the bill (or $34.95)!
The Bus (a.k.a. Buck) Stops Here
All and all, I give myself an A+ for effort when it comes to getting ready for school season, coming in at $496 ($32 + $29 + $255 + $180) which is less than the NRF’s recent study
that states families plan to spend an average of $674 (+ 9% to LY) on a student’s accessories, electronics, shoes, and school supplies. With that kind of price tag, it’s no wonder why the season is chalk-full of retailer savings, sales, and supply drives. We all want our kids to have a first-class education, just not at first-class prices. Raise your hand if you agree. Now, think outside the (lunch) box and share other tips/tricks for finding back-to-school shopping efficiencies!