It’s that time to start thinking about school supplies for 2019!
I really can’t believe that it’s time already. My middle child is starting kindergarten and she has been asking to get school supplies since school ended in May!
I guess I’m going to have to break down and take her, she is so dang excited.
I just can’t believe that I am going to have two kids in school next year. How am I this dang old already? Okay don’t answer that.
This got me thinking about how to plan and budget for school supplies.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average parent will spend $122.13 on school supplies. When including clothes, the average is closer to $637 PER kid!
That’s a big chunk if you haven’t planned and budgeted for it.
I decided to compile a school supply budget planner to help you plan and find the best deals.
I typically buy everything when it’s on sale at Walmart and stock up for the year. I don’t like shopping and dealing with crowds so I don’t usually scout all over.
I do know that Staples has some great deals as well.
I am going to go over how to budget for school supplies and find some cheap school supplies so you can stay on budget.
But first, grab your school supply budget planner:
How to Budget for School Supplies:
First thing we need to do is to determine what your budget is.
Start with a zero-based budget and work from that. Once you know how much you can spend, get the school supply list.
I also want to mention that clothing should be saved throughout the year as a sinking fund. That way it will lessen the burden of coming up with all of this at once.
It is important to do this step so you can avoid debt. Using credit cards to pay for school supplies will not help your situation.
Doing a zero-based budget will help you see the real numbers of what you can afford and not guess them.
When you are planning your budget, it is important to look at the numbers of what you can really afford
You need to do whatever you can to avoid using debt to pay for the supplies.
School shopping is like Christmas, it comes at the same time every year.
You can even print off the school supply lists for the next year and pick things up through out the year for the next year.
That way you can avoid debt and the stress of the crowds at school time.
An easy way to avoid debt and stick to your budget is using cash for the school supplies.
One way to do this easily is to start a sinking fund for the next year. Then save a little here and there.
Then when August rolls around, you’re not panicking trying to figure out how to pay for it all.
Same goes for clothes. Clothes should be saved for in a sinking fund every month.
I can’t believe how much comes home with my kid at the end of the year that was barely used.
I had to search everywhere for a primary journal and had to order it online because it wasn’t in a store anywhere. Then she comes home at the end of the year and had only used two pages!
I mean c’mon!
If you have supplies from the previous year, use them.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY EVERYTHING NEW!
Especially if things are in good condition like book bags and lunch boxes.
When it comes to clothes and other supplies, like scientific calculators, search for a good used deal before buying new.
You can check Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and local mom groups for good deals.
Wait until later
Not everything on the supply list needs to be bought right now. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and feel rushed to get everything right now.
But the majority of the items will not be needed right away. Some of it will never even be used!
If the list says to buy multiple quantities of something, just buy one.
If there is an item listed that is out of your budget, ask the teacher if it’s really needed and when.
They may even have extras of them or have suggestions for a cheaper product.
At least you will know if it really is needed and when you need it by.
Find The Best Deals
One way to save money on school supplies is to find the best deals.
If you have the time and energy to shop around and scout out all the specials, you can save a ton of money on supplies.
I usually stock up on certain things that are a great deal, like crayons and Play Doh for the year.
In my area, those are both usually $0.50 at school time which is over 50% savings. I know we will use them so I grab a ton and hide them.
Walmart usually has some of the best deals on school supplies.
It’s important to have a general idea of what the normal cost is on items so you can tell if it is a great deal or not.
One thing I hate about school shopping at Walmart is that the supplies are usually a mess and then I think something is $0.15 and it’s really $1.00. That happen last year with the colored folders. They were a disaster and not in the right places.
So, make sure you are paying attention to which items are which price in order to stay on budget.
Or you can do an online pick up order and avoid all the chaos of doing the shopping!
I have actually never shopped at Staples for school supplies. I have seen the deals and know people that do.
I find from the advertisements that it’s around the same cost as Walmart and not worth my time to go all over the place.
This is because of my location.
So, for you, they may have a better deal and be worth going there.
Prices are dependent on your location for everything, including Walmart.
I love Dollar Tree BUT I have found that most of the time, the school supplies aren’t worth it.
Especially when I can get almost everything at Walmart for less than a $1.
This year I did buy a few things at Dollar Tree because my daughter was so excited and I knew they were a deal.
For example, I got 8 glue sticks for a $1.
Last year Walmart was 2 glue sticks for a $1.
Granted they weren’t name brand, so we will see if they were worth it or not.
Dollar Tree does have free in store pickup with online orders now.
Which makes it super convenient to shop around for prices and know you are getting the best deals!
Plus you get to avoid the chaos of shopping!
Do what you can to plan ahead and avoid debt.
Even if you are already behind for this year, do what you can to make do and start planning for next year.
Start a sinking fund now or buy things through out the year for next year.
Use what you have or look for things to buy used.
I know it will be hard to tell your kid no or that they have to wait.
But it’s better for everyone to stay in your budget and to stop using debt.