Eat Drink and Be Merry,  Just Because/For Fun

How to Rock Back to School while Saving Money and Sanity

I’m sure you’re seeing it everywhere: Back to School Sale! Buy 2 glue sticks, get 1 free. 6 for $1 paper folders. Buy this 10 pack of highlighters, get these scissors free. Crayola crayons for 50 cents and markers for $1. Oh boy, oh boy. I am a SUCKER for school supplies. I’m 10 years since High school and 5 years since College and I still ooh and ah over the stuff. Talk about a walk down memory lane where I remember ONLY using this type of pen almost all 4 years of high school or the same cover binder that’s still available now (really?) or cooing over how cute the animal paper folders [still] are. I’m totally digging that Lisa Frank is making a comeback! Some new trends are definitely out there: COLOR, glitter, geometric designs, bit of sass and attitude, did I mention COLOR? On the flip side, there have been some supplies have made me go WTF or how do you even use that? I found some really cute things and I have madly worked on creating an excuse to buy them. Some things I’ve feel in love with lately and intend to fully use them for Crescent Moon and Stars:

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Who doesn’t love those colorful stars and it totally goes with my moon and star theme! Found these for $1 each at the Dollar Tree. Love. Love. Love. Now I have notebooks that are JUST for CMS use. No more : “I swear I wrote it in the black notebook!” and it actually being in the blue notebook because I misplaced the black notebook haha.

 

Then I came across these babies, glitter binders?! A professional girls dream! (Btw, those binders have some like of thin coating or what not on them, glitter is NOT thrown about everywhere. +1 for a reason to buy them haha). I was trying to get close ups to show, but kinda hard to get full detail, but they’re sooooooooo pretty

Glitter binders!

 

We just had our Tax Free weekend here in SC. The. Insanity. Depending on where you live, what grade and the teacher, school supplies can get steep. Upon researching several studies and polls, it is said that a family with kids in grades K-12 spend around an average of $630 for clothes, school supplies and electronics. (That is about $130 more than I spent on the laptop I’m currently using to write this post!) Furthermore, various studies and polls show school supplies alone are around $50-$100 per child. How crazy is that?! I feel like I owe my parents some money for all the supplies they bought me. Mom was great on sales and we would go to several stores to get the best deal, but DANG! Luckily I was the only child!

SO, how is one to get everything that you need and save some money when its just so darn expensive?! Simple: Be smart about your purchases, how much you need and how you’ll use the item(s).

  • If you can tolerate the crowds, long lines and starve off from becoming hangry, use your tax free weekend/sales to your advantage. If you don’t care about saving some 4 cents off 50 cent crayons, use it for your big ticket items like clothing, graphic calculators, computers, dorm supplies, storage stuff like cloth bins or clear containers and the such. Make sure you read your state’s guidelines for what is and what isn’t. Some things might surprise you and other things might bum you out. We had some weird things here that were and weren’t, for example: a shower curtain was tax exempt but the rings to hang on the shower rod weren’t. Do your research!
  • Shop with family and friends to split items. Do you need 100 pencils? Probably not, but if you and someone else split, you can get 50 pencils each for probably $2 each for both of you. Hello savings and less clutter!

  • Depending on your budget and time, go clothes shopping according to what you can do/wear. Don’t buy something just for the sake of it if you can’t wear it or not allowed to wear it. Shop smart, look around for basics. Certain stores might have sales like 3 tanks for $20 vs paying $10/each at your favorite store. Pay attention to sales ads and in store promos and also future promos. I like Kohl’s and usually if you spend $50, then you get Kohl’s cash back to use later. So get your shirts now and get that pretty bracelet free later!

  • If you don’t have the budget or if you’re curvy like me and usually hate clothes shopping, check with family and friends if they have anything to swap or give you. Also, check out your local thrift and other consignment-style stores, take some clothes in and get new stuff out. I can find some GREAT finds that are either with the tag still on or already stretched out so they fit better. We have some Goodwills here (and you’re helping people with jobs at the same time!) and some local-only “thrift” stores. Getting a pair of jeans that actually fits for $5.49? Uh, yes?!

  • Lunch can get expensive. Look into good storage containers and a portable lunchbox that will work for you. If it’s too bulky, too big or small, no straps, won’t fit in a fridge that you have access to or a lack of fridge, it’ll just be a waste of money. I use a red collapse one that’s not too big and I typically use containers from the Dollar Tree. Some are in a bento (multiple compartment) style or have snap/locks on them. I have several different sizes and styles for depending what kind of food AND helps with portion control. I recently came across someone who bought one the tall/large over the door shoe hanger at Walmart for $8 and put snacks/soda cans in them each day. Tawana Robinson said that she had 26 slots and that all she and the kids had to do was pull out the stuff in the slot they wanted that particular day, grab a sandwich and they were ready to go. She said that she only has to fill it up 9x a year and only costs her $30/month to fill it up. How genius is this?!?!?!

Tawana Robinson - GREAT idea

 

 

So now that you have some ideas on how to save money, let’s focus on saving your sanity.

  • Make plans for scheduling out your time and future payment plans if you’re doing such. Nothing sucks like having a payment due sneak up on you or forgetting registration dues and possibly having to pay a late fee. This could include sports, tuition, loans, after-school programs, club/organization dues

  • Don’t over-do your classes. If you’re in K-12, you’re a little set in what you can do. You could always take Honors and AP courses, but perhaps thinking about taking all honors or AP + soccer + participate in 3 or 4 clubs is too much. The same goes for college. Most colleges only allow 18 credit hours (typically 6 classes) a semester unless you ask for a waiver for a good reason. Check your syllabus and do your research about the course work. Taking 6 courses that might have labs or lot of homework + trying to hold a full-time or part-time + participate in 2 clubs/organizations will have you stressed out beyond belief. Be honest with yourself and don’t spread yourself too thin. Trust me, you’ll burn out fast and lose the passion for it. Don’t set yourself up.

  • Whatever schedule your life is, USE A PLANNER. This could be an actual book provided by your school (ah Middle school agendas were AWESOME!), one you buy at the store, one you create on say Word, Excel or other program, or even digitally via website or app. Write it down. Log it somehow. Your health (and your brain!) will thank you later. Time management will save you so much heartache later as well as money and time spent the way YOU want it too.

  • Since life likes to throw curveballs with lemons, also schedule in time and buy supplies for stress relief. This could be doing a $1.99 face mask from Walmart, coloring in an adult (or even non-adult) coloring book, listening to soothing music, taking a nap, painting your nails, taking a bubble bath or relaxing shower, Skype or FaceTime your best friend, or whatever tickles your fancy.

  • Just remember, don’t let life grind you down. YOU CAN DO THIS. You are awesome, you are worthy, you are good enough, you can handle it, you are a badass (as my aunt says: Capacity for badassity).
  • Stay motivated to do what you do. Remember the reasons why you’re doing it and how you’re going do it.

  • Create SMART goals (see my post here about how to create those goals).

  • Create your own motivation board, book or journal to help keep you going in the rough times and where you can see it or easily access it. I created a motivation board where I have quotes that I saved from Pinterest, inserted into a Word document to cut out, glued on cardstock from Michaels to put on the back of the front door of out apartment. Staples has this awesome poster board bordered in glitter for $3.99 that I want to put more quotes on.

 

I hope that you’re excited to rock another school year. Even if you aren’t really feeling this year or this semester, just know that you are awesome and that you’re gonna even surprise yourself how well you’re gonna do!

 

Share with me some of your ideas and tips on school, whether it be a sale or money saving tips, time management, scheduling systems or your own motivation board, book or journal. I’d love to hear them and I’m sure other people would love to hear them too. Send me an email,  a tweet about how much you’re gonna rock this year, share with me on the Facebook group Shine Bright about tips or if you want a support buddy. Send me pins of ideas and supplies (I’ll keep my bank card away haha).

 

Here’s to rocking a successful school year!

 

Let’s shine bright together…

Love Jenn, Crescent Moon & Stars

 

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