You may have noticed that school supplies have started to go on sale in the stores. I know, I know . . .already? But honestly I gotta tell you I am grateful they do it this way so I can spread it out a little bit each week. So have you wondered just how much should I get especially since I do not have my kids school supply list yet? Well here is how I figure out just how much to get.
1. School Supply List – Look for your child’s school supply list at the store. Often at your local Target, Kmart, or Fred Meyer you will find a list of schools and supplies for each grade or teacher all printed out handy for you. If you don’t find this I would suggest looking online at your schools website. Often school supply lists are there. Now let me give you a bit of a word of warning. Don’t hold onto these school supply lists as being everything you will need. Often I find these are more of a general suggestion of what most let’s say 2nd graders can expect to need. Once your child starts school you may find the teacher has more specific items she would like your child to bring.
So now you have your School Supply List – now what?
Well of course I would suggest picking up each of the items on your list. With of course the very best deals you can find from among the school supply sales going on. You do NOT have to buy it all at one time. I would suggest hanging onto your list and when you see an item such as Composition Books on sale you pick it up and then cross it off your list. Keep doing this throughout the summer until you have completed your child’s school supply list.
2. How much of each item do I get? Even though your child’s school supply list may say one 24 count box of crayons. My suggestion would be to pick up at least two. What I like to do for my kids is give them one at the beginning of the school year and then maybe the day they go back from Christmas break give them the 2nd box. By then it seems their crayons are in need of replacing. So I would say my general rule of thumb is that all consumable items I would double the number the school suggests you buy especially if you can find the item for only 25 cents now. Much better to have bought it at 25 cents and have it on hand to replace than have to go out and buy another box of crayons at $2.99 a box!
3. Which brand should I buy? There are a lot of brands represented in school supplies and really it is a matter of taste. But I can tell you that being a mom that has been around school supplies for quite some time now (my oldest child is 19 years old and my youngest is here is my suggestions on brands to buy:
Crayons – my very favorite is Crayola but Prang is good as well. Rose Art is terrible! Not a big fan of Crayola washables as they seem to just be a crumbly mess.
Pencils – Dixon Ticonderoga are my favorites but honestly most #2 pencils will work. Try to have your kids not bang the pencils together as this breaks the led inside of them.
Mechanical Pencils – (first make sure your teacher is okay with kids using them some are not) Papermate are our faves
School Glue – Elmers’s is top notch! Just stay away from the No Run kind it takes Hercules to get it to come out! Once again Rose Art STINKO
Glue Sticks – Elmer’s is my fave once again. I prefer the purple kind as it goes on purple so you can see where you have glue but dries clear – cool!
Markers – Crayola not Rose Art (notice a trend) You will want to make note on the teacher’s preference on washable or not, broad or fine point, and count of how many your student will need
Scissors – Fiskars are my fave great quality
Notebooks – Five Star hold up best but only older kids seem to appreciate or take care of these . I would get these expensive notebooks only for middle school or older
For those of you that are newer to the Pacific Northwest like I was here is a term I was not aware of until I moved here. Pee Chees – just as a heads up this is a folder with pockets. It was on my child’s list and I was clueless. Funny how regional terms like that get lost on newbies!
The other items you may need I would say use your best judgement but go for the super cheap on items such as rulers. Just buy a handful that way if they get broken you have a backup.
4. Backpacks and lunchboxes. These are two items I suggest you buy one and then wait for them to go 75% off (they will at one store or another) at the end of the school supply season and buy an extra as a back up. I have made the mistake of not doing this. My son caught his backpack on a locker and ripped it beyond repair. Then the only place we could find backpacks in February was in the camping section. Yes I had to pay $45 to buy him a new backpack eeeek! So let your child come with you and the two of you decide on the oh so awesome backpack and lunchbox they will carry for the year. Then when they go on sale 75% off you go and pick up an extra of each for each of your children. Worse case scenario you don’t use them and you have a great donation to a local school supply outreach program or possibly the backpack for next year is done too!
5. Donations – in my house our local church does an outreach program for a local school for school supplies. We provide backpacks full of school supplies for the kids in need at a school that is located right next to our church. It is great fun to see their bright smiley faces when these kids get their new backpacks! Keep in mind this may be something you will want to do. Items that are often in need that you may want to stock up on for donations:
-Composition Books or paper
6. Gift Closet. Think outside of the box. School Supplies can be used as items to stock up for your gift closet. Crayons, markers, or fancy erasers can be a great item to stock up on. When you pair these items up with a coloring book – Voila you have a gift.
Okay those are my Back to School supply tips – how do you decide just how many items to buy for your stockpile?