Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to School


You may not be sending the kids back to school today or tomorrow, but it's coming soon (where did the summer go?) and the sales are popping up all over, so take advantage of them.

A thread called "Shopping Challenge: School Supplies is a good place to start finding the best sales.

But besides supplies, clothing takes a big bite out of the budget if your child goes to public school. Here are a few ideas to help cut that cost:

Go through the closet and drawers, making note of what needs to be replaced. While you're at it, check the coat closet. Make a master list - not of everything you have to rush downtown and buy tomorrow, but of things that are needed that you can keep an eye out for. Make note of colors and styles that need to be matched.

Don't go shopping all at once for those things, but watch for sales and shop garage sales for some things. Your kids can only wear one set of clothes at a time anyway, so don't go whole hog in buying an entire wardrobe at one time. A real money saving strategy is to wait until after school starts and all the hoopla dies down to shop for clothes. Overstocked items will be on sale then.

Buying very high quality underwear for growing children is a waste of money, since they will soon grow out of them and underwear is one thing most people won't buy or don't want second hand. Don't go too cheap though... underwear needs to be comfortable!

Buy socks all the same color. When a sock gets lost or wears out, you won't have one sock left that can't be worn with anything else. (If you notice that socks are wearing on the toe or heel, darn them. It's not so hard and it will extend the life of the sock.)

A good rule of thumb is to spend more money on the lower half of the body - pants and skirts - than the upper shirts and tops. Solid good quality color pants or skirts can be mixed or matched with less expensive tops. Jeans, if allowable, wear well and "go with" just about any shirt from t-shirts to button downs.

Most importantly, make lists and stick to the lists. You may have to revise them, but at least you won't be revising your budget to accommodate high back to school expenses.


  1. Is there an online source for instructions on darning that you would recommend? I have socks that I bought in August 2000 during an excellent sale in the men's department at Target. These socks are starting to wear very thin in spots, and a couple have gotten as far as holes. I remember my grandmother darning socks, sort of weaving over a wooden egg-shaped device, but I never learned how to do it. I'd appreciate more information on this topic. It bothers me to turn these socks into rags when except for some places on the soles they are in excellent condition.

  2. I hit publish too soon, sorry! :) Darning is not hard. Basically, it's just filling in the holes with yarn or thread. Match the darning material to the original sock material as much as possible, both weight wise and color wise. If you don't have a darning egg, use a stone or a small jar to hold the sock in shape. It's not as hard as it seems!

  3. I love back to school time! And I don't have children at home anymore! It is my time of year to take stock in the house. What do I need for stationary supplies? What is on sale for school that will work for my Card making supplies, computer work , crafting ? Lots of times I can get better value on puter papers at this time of year.
    I also look at what I can use for my gift box.
    Then of course are those things that I can buy for me. ex. socks.
    I usually find a sock that fits and that I can get a lot of 1 colour. I look too for gloves and winter boots ( I don't always buy them at this time of year, but this starts the best time for selection, both in style and sizes, in our northern climate.
    Just now swim suits are on sale at highly reduced amounts, if anyone is planning a winter sun holiday, well, now is the time to pick up summer wear that you need, for replacement items.
    Now excuse me, its warm out and the ice tea and the shady porch are calling me.
    T'Other Pat again

  4. Thank you. I'm going to try this.