One of my readers, Kevin, requested this post and I thought it was a great idea!
I'm going to let you all know what things we do to help us survive the expense of 3 school aged children going back to school and hope that you will comment below with what your families do. Lets help each other out!!
To start, we don't wait until the last moment to buy everything at once. Spreading out the purchases over the Summer allows us to not get hit so hard at once and also to take advantage of some sales on last school year's items.
Our kids don't go back to school for another few weeks but we've already purchased their backpacks from Children's Place online at great prices for 2 and a Jansport for our older off of Amazon.
We shop clearance racks throughout the year to buy the opposite season's items at the lowest prices (we have jeans for our daughter at $5-$10 a piece stocked up for the next 2 years!). Children's place had great prices on their jeans last year and they really held up for our younger son who is HARD on his wardrobe. They usually have promo codes you can find to use when shopping online and you get an extra 5% if you use a Children's Place card.
Shoes for kids can be tricky because you want something that will last but you also don't want to spend a fortune... We try Ross for shoes because you can get brand name shoes for a fraction of the price. Last year our daughter got Converse at Target and she is still using them so they held up pretty well for the $25 we spent.
School supplies can be trickier because you don't have much choice as to what the teachers require your child to have. We shop at Walmart because that's were we find good prices and we don't have many other options in our small town.
One thing I have learned is to not buy supplies using the generic lists stores put out before you hear from your school/teacher. We did this last year because we were anxious to get the items and this resulted in another trip to get the correct items and then another to return all the items we bought that were NOT required (thanks to the store so kindly offering us those generic lists early). I'm sure the store's goal is to get you to buy those things and then just keeping them even though you don't need them. Money in their pockets!
Also, in younger grades you're asked to buy markers, pencils, etc to go into community bins for the whole class to use from so if that's the case we don't go all out on the fanciest, most expensive items.
There are the things we do, please comment below with your family's ways of getting through the back to school season without breaking the bank!
As always, thanks for reading!