Sending Daniella back to school was very difficult for me this year. 5th grade seemed like a milestone for me. Not only was she moving into the “big kid” classroom but she was also moving teachers. She was reluctant to be in the classroom and I can’t say that I blame her. Normally, she is all about being with the big kids but I think the hesitation came from being the “little kid” in the big kid classroom. Our school is made up of 23 students this year. Yes, you read that right. The entire school, kindergarten through 8th grade is made up of 23 students. I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are a total of three classrooms. The pre-k and kindergarten in one, 1st-4th in the second and 5th-8th in the third. This is called having multi-level classrooms (much like one room school house) and if you would like to familiarize yourself with it more, you can do so here.
I always try to stick to a budget when shopping for her because, let’s be honest; shopping for our kids is fun and can, very quickly, get out of hand. Below are some quick tips that I have found when approaching a budget friendly school shopping experience. I hope these help in your endeavors!
1.Shop end-of-summer sales.
I found this particularly helpful with stores like JCPenney and Aeropostale. If your child is anything like mine, she likes to wear t-shirts with sweatshirt zippies and jeans. Other things like tunics and leggings are also a fan favorite. These things typically are on shelves year round and generally, especially at JCPenney and Aero; you can find a ton of things on clearance.
2.Stick to the list.
More specifically, make a list. Thankfully, we get a list of specific needs for the classroom for the teacher. However, for clothes, Daniella has the daunting task before we shop of trying on closet clothes in order to determine what she really needs. Things like under garments, I typically pitch and buy all new but for shirts and jeans, if they fit and are still in good condition, she gets the pleasure of continually wearing them. She doesn’t mind.
3.Shop the home stash first.
I covered a little bit of this in #2 but as far as school supplies, I can’t tell you how many times after school has started, I have gone through my desk and found packages of pencils from previous years. So I made it a point to surf through all desks and Daniella’s stash in her room to check off things before hitting the stores.
4.Name brand isn’t always the answer.
There are a few things like Crayola markers, JIF peanut butter, Kleenex, etc. that I will not budge on when shopping for our household and school. However, things like jeans, t-shirts, pencils, and paper, I don’t hesitate to buy at a cost savings to me. Especially Clorox wipes, those I usually by the Meijer brand or whatever is on sale. Those are the same exact ingredients, I am not about to spend double so the name can be on the container.
5.Re-use as much as you can.
Back-packs and lunch pails can often be used. I tend to buy the patterns that will not go out of style and try to avoid “characters” on those items. This way, you don’t have to “roll with the trends” and create an added expense.
This is a must. In shopping for things in clearance, I compromised by splurging on shoes that Daniella has really wanted for a while. I knew that I could cut corners in other areas for her to be able to get these. I set limits and boundaries and I would encourage everyone to do so.
I always try to plan ahead. Knowing that she returns to school the end of August, I orchestrate August to be organizing month for all of the household, her room, etc. This allows everyone to get on the right page and when school starts we are part of our routine.