Back-to-School To-Do List
By Ashley Sigrest
There’s sand in your shoes and the towels are still wet from your trip to the beach, but it is time to focus on back-to-school preparations, so when the summer is over it doesn’t throw us into a frenzy. It means catching up on doctor visits, dentist appointments, summer readings, haircuts, and shopping.
Parents see lots of dollar signs when they think about back-to-school shopping. Nevertheless, if you plan ahead you can save time and money. Most schools now sell the necessary supplies that you can order from them. This is by far the easiest way to get all the items your kids will need. However, you may have already missed the deadline for that. Check now with your school to see if you can order through them. If that deadline has passed, you don’t necessarily have to wrestle the crowds to find that mysterious yellow folder with pockets and brads; you may be able to order it from Amazon. It’s a good idea to go in with your friends to order supplies together to save money. Another option is to purchase your school supplies through Wal-Mart’s grocery pick up and you totally avoid the crowds. If you must hit the stores to shop, you can break down the lists over the next month to help you not spend too much in one trip. Buy those elusive colored folders that may sell out soon first. Then over the next few weeks you can pick up the more generic items.
If you’re able, buy extra supplies to give to your children’s teachers. They will appreciate the gesture more than you know. “Purchasing school supplies doesn’t have to be a drudgery. We can turn it into an opportunity to bless a teacher and teach our children it is more blessed to give than receive,” suggests Carrie Cook who is a former teacher and married to a school administrator. She says these extra items let your teacher know you appreciate them and are thankful for all they do.
Save the date for Mississippi’s tax-free weekend! Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27 you can shop for back-to-school clothing and save some money! Before you go, make time to raid your kids’ closets to see what they will actually need for the coming year. Have them try on clothes to see if their jeans are now high waters or if their favorite shirts have now become crop tops. School-aged children are hitting growth spurts left and right, and what fit in May could be too small now. Make a list of clothing and shoe needs to keep in mind what the biggest priorities are when you’re shopping with hundreds of other parents and kids who are also frantically hopping in and out of stores, too.
If you have certain stores you like, go online and sign up for their emails. This way you will know when they’re having sales and can possibly avoid going in by shopping online. Don’t be afraid of buying secondhand clothing, especially uniforms, from consignment shops or local Facebook group sales pages. If parents have kept them in good condition, you can save a lot of money by shopping this way.
Teach your kids how to make and pack their own school lunches and snacks. Before you do this though, go ahead and stock up not only on food items, but also plastic or paper bags, containers, and other supplies needed. Even young children can learn how to make a sandwich and pack it ahead of time. Mom and teacher Danielle Polk insists this will help you save time in the future and also allow your child to learn some independence. “The more they can do on their own, the smoother the mornings run. My kids know what they need in their lunches so they pack them on their own along with snacks.”
Ashley Sigrest is a former public school teacher who always loved getting pretty Expo markers and pens from her students as well as gift cards to her favorite coffee shop.