Back-to-school shopping isn’t a big deal for me. Why not? Because I don’t do it. Yes, I have a child. And yes, she’s in school. In fact, she’s 16 and starting the 11th grade this year. But I don't see the point of “back to school” shopping? In my opinion, it’s just another marketing ploy to get people (i.e. primarily mothers) to spend ungodly amounts of money on STUFF at a predetermined time of the year. I mean, think about it...
School just ended two months ago -- TWO months! What is so different in a span of two months that makes you want to go out and buy all new stuff?
Did li'l Johnny outgrow the clothes he was just wearing last week? Why does he need new(er) clothes to go to school? It’s still hot outside, so what are you gonna buy -- MORE summer clothes? Or are you going to send that baby to school in a long-sleeve shirt and sweater?
How about the shoes you just bought him last month? Did he wear them out already? Are they no longer good enough? Is he going to a place to learn or to a fashion show?
You’re probably saying, "But Single Ma, li'l Johnny needs school supplies too!" True. But where are all of those pens, pencils, crayons, erasers, binders, and filler paper you bought last year -- did he ever use them all? I bet not. Where are the left overs? In the closet? In the toy box? In the trash? Disappeared in thin air? Do you have any idea? They NEVER use all of that crap.
The book bag. Why does li'l Johnny need a new one every year? Unless the strap or zipper is broken, the book bag is still usable. All it does is hold books anyway.
The lunch box. Did the other one perish with last year’s food?
Now, don't get me wrong, I do realize that notebooks (I’m not talking about binders with filler paper) aren’t reusable and pens and pencils are lost, but the former are $2 to $3 each and the latter are 50 cents for a pack of 10. So what’s the point of all the other crap?
Why are families spending HUNDREDS of dollars on “back to school” shopping? Did you know retailers consider this time of year as one of the most profitable shopping seasons, only third in line after Christmas and Mother’s Day? I don’t get the hype, and I won't allow you to fall for it either.
Here are eight budget-conscious preparations for back to school.
1.) Inventory. Do an inventory of leftover school supplies from previous years.
2.) Organization. If an inventory isn’t possible and you MUST buy all new supplies, try to be more organized this year so you can be prepared for next year. Buy a plastic bin to store all of the supplies. My daughter has a pink plastic cabinet with five drawers. She uses them to keep her pens, pencils, hi-lighters, sharpies, protractors, compass, calculators, index cards, notebooks, filler paper, etc. When she runs out of something, she knows exactly where to find it. When she says “I need,” I check there first before I buy more.