Who knows better about what young students need, and don’t need, in a classroom than teachers?
They’ve witnessed the goofy, excessive and flat-out strangeness in back to school supplies. And the teachers we talked to have one comment: Stop it.
Back to the basics is what Back-to-School shopping should be all about, said Lisa Rogers, a fourth grade teacher at King Springs Elementary in Smyrna. Marbut Elementary school educator Rose Smith has no room for extras, either.
“I have a big tub of things in my closet that I collect,” Rogers said. “If they bring all that stuff to school, I end up taking it anyway. By the end of the day, they’ve forgotten all about it. It’s a waste of money.
Top of Rogers’ leave-it-at-home list? Pencils, all kinds of pencils.
Pencils with whistles and pompoms attached. Transformers and cheerleaders dangling off pencils. Even big packs of 24 pencils. “You only need one or two,” she says. Pencil sharpeners with lava inside? Another no-no.
Smith says bypass the name brands when shopping for school clothes. She does it for her own daughters, ages 14 and 12.
“I never by name brand anything, and I very rarely go to the malls,” she said. She will be shopping this weekend, though, during the sales tax holiday.
Before you do the same, heed these tips to save money on back to school shopping.
Chances are there are pencils, notebooks, pens, highlighters and other essentials lying around the house. Collect what you have before making any purchases.
Labels are lame:
We admit. Your kids won’t think so, and you might be in for a battle. Explain to your children why forking over lots of money on trendy attire and supplies isn’t necessarily the smart buy. If you do go the route of popular brands, don’t pay full price.
Look for sales:
An obvious tip, but one not to be taken lightly. Comparison shop to get the best deals on the items you need most. Look for coupons online and in the newspaper.
Stick to the list:
Speaking of needs, buy only what you need. If it’s not on the list provided by the school, it’s probably an extra that you can elect to leave on the shelf. If your child wants something fancier, think about a DIY approach. Decorate a backpack or book cover with designs and stickers. Your kids might enjoy their own creation!
Consider discount stores:
Don’t overlook consignment stores and thrift shops. Also, outlet malls often have popular brands at considerably lower prices. For supplies, bargain stores are most often your best bet.
Think about the season:
Buying clothes out of season will often save you money. As fall clothes come out, summer wear can be deeply discounted.
Garage and yard sales sometimes are ripe with school supplies, like backpacks, crayons, rulers, etc…Take a few minutes to stop and visit a few on a weekend morning.
While you’re racking up great deals, it would be nice to pick up an extra item or two that you can donate to the numerous charities providing supplies to those who simply can’t afford it.
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