Wednesday, July 19, 2017

School Shopping on a Budget: First Grade Edition!

Last year my Padawan and I decided to homeschool for his Kindergarten year. While I truly cherish the time we spent together and I truly believe that it greatly benefited him educationally wise, but ultimately it was decided that we would try public school. It was a hard decision to make, but I see it like this:

- he will get the opportunity to socialize in a much more scheduled routine
- he will get the same learning opportunities at school and at home
- I can still partake in his activities along with volunteering
- It will [hopefully] help his independence

I don't necessarily mind my little guy being homeschooled - except for the fact that he doesn't like to see me as his teacher all the time - but I truly think this will help him excel in life with a multitude of new tools. That being said, we had to pick up a few new items for his school this year and being on a budget is my way of living, so of course I had to show you all what we got and how you too can get everything super cheap!

First off if you're not sure what school supplies your little one might need (perhaps the school list hasn't been released), check out a really neat website I found called "School Supply List". You can easily look up your padawan's school - hopefully it's there - and see what their list will consist of for which grades. Personally it's relatively self explanatory and easy when they're little, but things can get pricey nonetheless.

To start off our school shopping, we headed to Toys R' Us for a backpack and lunchbox. Now I'm a re-user, so I was just going to opt for my son using the orange camo backpack we got two years ago, but I know that he really wanted a special backpack for his new school year. Something most people don't know though is the cheap price Toys R' Us has along with the current deal that they do almost every year, and that is that if you purchase a backpack (roughly $12 for an expensive one), you get a lunchbox free! No you're not stuck with a mediocre lunchbox, you (or your kiddos rather) can choose which lunchbox to claim.

My Padawan had many choices - Batman, Minions, Lego's, you name it - but he decided to go with a grey camo lunchbox as the pairing to his Lego Ninjago backpack. Personally I felt both were excellent choices and choosing a backpack for the kiddos can be more tedious than originally thought. Two key features I highly recommend on any backpack, are that they have straps to hook the lunchboxes onto and a water bottle side pocket to keep the wetness out of the actual bag itself. Two features that [believe me] make a bigger difference than you'd think.

Afterwards, we headed to Target to pick up the supplies to fill up my kiddo's new bag.

A few things I'd like to say now is this: some things SHOULD be name brand and some things don't matter. If it isn't specific, try to go the cheaper route. Also, don't worry so much about having brand new items. A backpack and lunch box I can understand, but besides that you really don't need to worry so much. Those pencils are going to get messed up anyways.

Here's the breakdown on how things went:

3 Folders $1.00 each
2 Black spiral notebooks $0.50 each
1 Minecraft spiral notebook $2.50
2 Pack of erasers $0.50
2 Pack of glue sticks $0.99
Crayola markers $0.99
Crayola colored pencils $0.99
Crayola crayons $0.50
Fiskars scissors $1.49
Pencils were free (we had extras from last year)
Minions case was free from last year

All in all, less than $12 for every bit of supplies are under $14 for a brand new backpack AND lunchbox, bringing the grand total to: $26! Granted that's not including the new clothes, but to be honest we won't be going crazy with that. We have so many "hand me downs" and thrift finds, we may just get a few new key pieces here and there.

Side note: the tiny blue item in the middle of the school supplies, is a mini hand sanitizer I got for free using a Bath and Bodyworks coupon I received in the mail. My Padawan loved it and he's a little health conscious.

My dad and his girlfriend gave us a gift card for Target to shop for his school supplies and with so little used, we will be able - or at least are going to try - to stretch the gift card out for the rest of the year. Seeing as how we don't need much else, we're going to use it for anything needed throughout the year. Shoes, a sweater, perhaps some more crayons, whatever necessary. For now, we're able to get by with what we've purchased.

As you can see school shopping doesn't have to be insanely stressful or insanely expensive. With [hopefully] a head start on school shopping, you and your little ones will be able to start the new school year with a clear mind and a smile because you'll have gotten everything for less! Now that's smart.

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