Monday, August 15, 2016

Mothering Monday: Getting Ready for School

In just two and half weeks all my kids will return to school. It sure went by fast, as it always does. With five kids in three schools, it does take some maneuvering to get everyone ready for school while keeping to our budget.

Prep Work

I find it wasteful and extravagant to purchase new clothing, new shoes, and completely new supplies for the new school year, so I always assess our stores and current situation before buying new items.

1) Clothing: We clean out each child's closet thoroughly and then assess the condition, size, and function of each item. I throw away any item that is stained, torn, or worn out. Some items my kids won't wear-for whatever reason and so I prepare those for charity. I then count quantities of pants, shorts, underwear, socks, long-sleeve shirts, and short-sleeve shorts. In general, I like to have 5 pairs of pants, 5 pairs of shorts, five long-sleeve shirts, and five short-sleeve shirts. My boys like hoodies, so we make sure they each have 1-2 hoodies in good condition.

2) Shoes: I only replace shoes as they are worn out or needed for an event. This year, three of my kids needed new shoes for school. I check the shoe situation every few months and we buy new shoes as needed.

3) School Supplies: There is so much waste at school with notebooks, crayons, markers, etc. At the end of the year, my kids have brought home empty notebooks that only had one or two pages marked. I throw out any worn or broken supplies and then sort the usable supplies into groups. Then I pull out the necessary supplies from the school list. Any items we don't have, I plan a shopping trip with a detailed list.

4) Backpacks and coats: I do not replace backpacks or coats unless they are damaged or worn out. I purchase high quality backpacks and coats at our wholesale club with the intention that they will be used/worn for two or more years.


I compile a shopping list based on the needs and holes left after assessing our resources. I plan a trip to a location that has a good selection of modestly priced stores. One shopping complex about 30 miles from my home has a Walmart, Target, Kohls, an outlet mall, and a wholesale club. Its almost one-stop shopping which is great in my book.

If our budget allows, I will buy one new outfit for each child. You may be cringing with horror at thought of the kids using hand-me-downs or not getting brand new items. The fact is, I make sure my kids have decent clothes in good condition. I feel like it is wasteful not to use the things we have well. We do buy new items, but only when it is necessary. My kids do get the fun of shopping and getting some new items. But they also understand that we have a budget that has to be worked with.

I hope that over the years, my kids  understand that you can have a wonderful life and many great experiences on a budget. I don't think it is good for kids to think they have unlimited resources to buy whatever they want whenever they feel like it. Such an attitude can lead to debt and poor financial decisions. How many young adults in the United States are dealing with staggering student loan payments because no one ever talked to them about practicality and working within a certain budget?

How do you get ready for school? Do you have certain rituals and practices?


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