Wendy Thomas – Simple Thrift
Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It’s the perfect time to start thinking about back to school
Although it’s still summer, my thoughts have already turned to preparing the kids for school in the fall. When you have six school-aged kids, this becomes no small feat. Here are some of my tricks for not breaking the bank when doing back to school shopping.
• Clothes: When I was young, we used to have a new outfit and shoes in which to go back to school. Times are different. We do make sure that the kids get new sneakers, if they need them, but as far as clothes go, if they are clean and fit, then they are good enough to wear to school.
I don’t buy pants at the beginning of the school year anymore. It is usually too hot for the kids to wear them, and a few times, when it was finally cold enough for pants, I discovered that the kids had outgrown them. I wait to see what they need and get it then.
• Supplies: When the kids ended school in June, we went through their backpacks and figured out what supplies they had that could be reused. Scissors, pencil sharpeners, rulers and erasers all went back in. Dried markers and torn binders came out, and I made a note that I needed to get more for the next school year.
Be sure to scan the store fliers each week. Large stores will run weekly specials featuring a few school supplies that are greatly reduced. For example, Wal-Mart has crayons, glue sticks and glue on sale for 25 cents each this week. You can bet I’ll be stocking up on those.
• Storage: It doesn’t help to buy early if you can’t remember what you have or where you put it. I create a pile for each child with a list of supplies. I also have a community pile with supplies in it for use with home projects.
Finally, I never buy everything on the teacher’s list. I’ve learned that some teachers send out generic lists with suggestions for school. Unless it is a standard supply, I wait until the child actually needs to use the item before I buy it.
Ideas to share
• Juice from pickles makes good dressing for coleslaw.
• Libraries have free DVDs to borrow, and some libraries have huge collections. Interlibrary loans give us access to whatever other public libraries have. We can search many of the other card catalogs online.
• The state of New Hampshire sells surplus items and items confiscated by airport security through a warehouse in Concord. Visit http://tinyurl. com/warehousenh. The people who run the rummage sale sometimes get first choice, so working at one, or starting one, can be an even better deal than just shopping at one.
• – SUE WHITNEY, Hollis
Keep track of money
If I go out with someone and use my card, the other person will give me cash for her part. I fold the bills in half before putting into my wallet. That way, I know to deposit that money to save it for paying off the card bill. Otherwise, if it’s there, I’ll spend it as my own.
• – SUE WEST, Hollis