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Do You Back-to-School Shop?

I do... for my children who attend public school. Actually I'm trying to spend some money on Patrick and his horribly scarecrow-raggedy wardrobe, but he doesn't like change. And no, I am not allowed to "trade" his old shirts for new ones that are nicer. He has several nice shirts at the bottom of his shirt drawer that he never wears anyway, so maybe I shouldn't bother.

But still... I do spend on some things for everyone in the family that I would have had to break down and buy eventually anyway. New underwear and socks are just about a given (unless you are stubborn like Patrick) and so is one new pair of shoes. Might as well when stores lower prices to lure you in so that you will buy the Hannah Jessica Madonna Montana whatever extreme-decorated $7 notebooks and pencil cases.

One thing I do appreciate about the local mega-stores is that they helpfully provide supply lists for each school for the younger children. Though I must say I've gotten away from filling the "required" lists exactly and instead of buying the 240-page notebook for $6.50, I'll buy four 70-pagers for a dime each and tell the kid in question that if the teacher has a problem with it, he can deal with me. Usually it turns out that the teacher just wanted so and so much paper and gets tired of kids running out mid-year. Well. Lose the notebook on the third day of school and then where are we? Out a whole whopping dime and a few notes, that's where. Smart me.

Emperor is more than all settled for his school year. He has several snazzy "Happy Elf Home School" chess shirts that we bought from a local sports store. That's right. Just pay a small set-up fee and you can embroider almost anything you want on shirts from then on. When winter comes, I can order some "Happy Elf Home School" sweatshirts if I like. *zing* Now we have a school uniform. Emperor picked a dark purple similar to the Kearney Bulldogs sports team.

I've also bought little notebooks and workbooks here and there in addition to our regular curriculum. I think if I were to take a little time out each day to do some of these activities, it could stretch out for yearrrs. Sticker books. Crayola crafty stuff. Grow your own crystals. Needlepoint a puppy. And cooking... cooking, of course.

What I really need to do is make a LIST of all the stuff I want to get done this year! Have you ever found a book or school item you had put away and forgotten? Or started and figured out your child wasn't ready to do? I'd love to see your plans for the year and hear more about them no matter where your child is educated. :)


  1. I wish I could! I miss back to school shopping in the US!!

    Here back to school is in April, only a few weeks after the end of the previous school year ended in March. Booooring. Very anticlimactic, if you ask me. Plus, the sales mostly revolve around dressy clothes for entrance ceremonies, and the ridiculous (IMHO) heavy leather backpacks that all the kids have to carry to school. The bento box aisle is kind of fun, but not necessarily cheap.

    I just want me some dirt cheap folders, pencils, and paper from Wally World! *pout*


  2. What I meant to say was that back to school is in April, only a few weeks after the end of the previous school year. Sorry about that wonky sentence!

  3. Here in Aus. the school year goes from February to December, so I'd be squirrelling away small amounts of cash all year so that we could "back-to-school" shop in January, so soon after the Christmas spending!
    The kids wore uniforms, so mostly the shop was for new school shoes, a complete week's worth of underwear and socks per child
    and the outer uniform only if they'd outgrown the old one. Usually it was a matter of letting down hems for the girls and a new shirt for the boys. Too short trousers became summer shorts, with new trousers not being bought until the winter term.
    Stationery was bought as a package through the school, paid for and picked up the week before school started.
    I'm glad I don't have to do that anymore.

  4. I try to make a list of anything I *think* we'll need as far as school supplies. We always seem to need pens and sharpies. I buy a few rolls of tape now instead of Christmas time.

    I am also weel know as the "geeky" aunt. LOL! So I always try to think ahead for birthdays, Christmas, etc for cheap gifts. Last year I was able to get my older nephew a neat notebook in the school aisle, a pack of mechanical pencils, and some colored pencils. Then I bought him some gently used field manuals and outdoors-y boy books from Amazon ( like boy scout manuals and bird field guides). Then I put it in a backpack with a flashlight and a pancho from teh dollar store, and a Wal-mart tent that I found on clearance for $12. He is STILL using it a year later!

    We also take notebooks with us to all of CHristopher's appointments, so I stock up. I keep an eye out for cheap stocking stuffers ($.24 boxes of crayons, penicls, etc). We look for a certain type of lunch box that we use for Christopher's feeding pump. It is much less bulky than the HUGE one they send us from medical supply.

    We also do the stocking up on socks and underware. Jeans will be on sale soon. Then we hit the sales and buy ahead for summer clothes for next year, or more depending on the deals.

    I take stock of things like sheets and towels too. Now is the time to get those fairly inexpensive while they are advertising for college kids. I try to buy all white or cream colored sheets. That way we don't have to seperate out loads.

    Next thing on the list is starting a list for baking/cooking needs. You know the day after school starts, they start getting you hyped up for Thanksgiving and Christmas baking! LOL!


  5. Sue, I've seen pics of the backpacks and they're less ridiculous than sharing a locker in high school. I'm always afraid of a lockermate winding up to be a druggie, yk???

    River, that strikes me too as being lots to spend all at once. And school uniforms cost a BUNDLE compared to normal clothes. I hear oh, you save money in the long run b/c you don't have to follow fashion and I also hear that you can't tell the poor kids from the rich ones so well. WRONG on both counts! I remember public school in Aus well. The cases though, they don't have those here. Others reading? The schoolkids use something like giant old typewriter cases to tote their books about. Or they did 20-odd years ago... :)

    Stephanie, I hadn't thought of sheets and towels soon! But telling you, I still have a small stack of notebooks from a mega-mega Wal-Mart sale THREE YEARS ago. Of course the pens and pencils all got lost since then.

  6. Wait...what? Mrs. C, How do you know about school in Australia? Are you an Aussie? I'm going to have to give you an imaginary accent in my head.

    I went to Target last night, just to escape from a crappy day, and found the back-to-school aisle. I can't believe they have stuff out already, but it was a happy surprise. I ended up lugging home 10 boxes of crayons, 10 composition notebooks, assorted folders and index cards, and some new highlighters and pens for me. I love back-to-school. I'll have to make sure I don't go there every week from now until September.

  7. Deb, I lived in suburban Sydney (Pymble and Wahroonga to be exact) for about 2 1/2 years when I was a kid. That's how I know. I live in Missouri now! Imagine a very warped New York/midwest mushed up accent with a few oddities thrown in here and there. I look and sound like a less glamourous (and less gay) version of Rosie O'Donnell. lol

  8. Yep, we do back to school shopping. The clothes, notebooks, the whole she-bang.The kid's generally need a few pair of jeans and a few shirts to start of the new school year along with sneakers and a pair of shoes. I don't go overboard, but we do leave the house from time to time

    To cover certain books during the year I have my 'will do' shelf that all of those books must be put on before school starts. I arrange them in the order I want to cover them with the kids, then as the year goes on we work our way through the shelf...usually more in the winter months than the nice weather.

  9. Ohh, see... I do a whole "set" in each subject and then add supplemental materials. It's the extra stuff I keep losing track of. So I'm making a list and assigning a bin. Hopefully will do better this year.

  10. I buy school supplies all year long from the clearance bin at the supermarket and from the dollar store. Even for the traditional classes they take, the supplies are pretty predictable. I did jump on some of the better sales at the supermarket this week though only to realize that I was already plenty stocked up.

    I wait until about a month into the school year to refresh the kids wardrobe as all the back to school stuff is on clearance by then.


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