Ok, so I get that I am abnormal anyway. I shop different that most people, but that has evolved over the years out of necessity. I used to shop for a hobby, for fun. I used to have the money to do that. Having 3 kids and a home that I own, and a husband, changed all that. Now a trip to Walmart with kids is something I avoid at ALL costs. I am a deal hunter. I would rather hit a couple stores to save money. I get my fruit and veggies from Aldi’s or the Farmers Market. Or if desperate not to take the kids out of the house on my own, I will hit either Bi-Lo or Food Lion on my way home from work. This is really just for the necessities. We are typically limited even more because of my son’s food allergies. But we must purchase easy items for school lunches. We use glass containers at our home, but I am not trusting my 5 year old with glass containers at school, so we grabbed some of the twist top small containers for wet snacks and fruits. I made homemade cloth napkins and snack bags so to save money on Ziploc sandwich bags- You can also buy these on etsy if you are not comfortable trying to make them yourself. I am still looking for a good metal thermos for hot foods, so far I am only finding them online unless they are just sold out at all the stores locally.
We also will be attending a charter school, so we did not have to do the crazy back to school shopping a lot of people did. We were fortunate enough to find uniforms to buy from a friend who just finished Kindergarten last year at the same school. There are lots of places you can buy Uniforms now- from Gymboree to Target and Walmart there are options for every budget. Some schools even have Recycled Uniform sales and we have even found a few racks at several local Goodwill locations.
Finally- school supplies. These lists seem so crazy. Reams of paper, specific colored folders, washable markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, the lists go on and on and in some cases are very specific even to brand. Now I do not do this. I don’t buy brands. I use the brand name to tell me specifically what they mean when they say 2 pocket folder and then I find the cheaper version of it. I follow the sales and hit up Staples, Walmart, Target, and other Office Supply stores for the 25 cent and penny sales. Buy more than just what you need. This is a great time to stock up on craft items for the year. I keep a cabinet of crayons and chalk and markers. My 1 year old likes to break or tries to eat them. It makes it easy and I don’t get nearly as upset when I have several packs for back-up. It also helps make for a last minute birthday gift when you need it.
There are lots of ways you can save money- I find it harder to maintain my sanity with all of this. My main tip right now, is to try to shop Alone if possible. That way you do not have too many little opinions on things. Especially when the teacher has asked for such specific items and it will probably become community supplies. No need getting attached to supplies that will be shared with someone else in the class. Now take a deep breath- really it is all just starting.