Monday, July 20, 2009

Frugal Check In - Back to School!

Ok, I have to admit the summer hasn't been great for my frugal-wannabe status. I found myself, last week, with a stack of coupons (of course, the best having expired) that I hadn't bothered to clip since school got out at the end of May, and realized that I didn't think I had done a proper grocery run since then either. So, I forced myself to sit down and weed through the stack an organize them and make a grocery and CVS list - to coordinate with sales and needs for the next week+. It felt good to start getting control again. I am a person that needs lists, and rules, and boundaries!!! Whew, that feels better - especially when I have tangible evidence of my organization paying off with my savings.

The one down side is that when I really took a look at last weeks paper it brought the hard and fast reality that our summer is almost over when I saw all the Back-to-School sales! Unfortunately, we live in a area of the country where school administrators have decided that sending kids back into the classrooms in early August when it is 678 degrees outside is a good idea. Our 1st day of school is August 12th and we are one of the last to return in the area (insert eye rolling, pshaw noise here). When we lived in NY we didn't return to school until after Labor Day and I loved it. It felt natural and it wasn't 678 degrees, but I digress and don't miss the NY taxes.

Sooooo...back to my original point, frugality! I like to buy school supplies for the entire year and keep a supply shelf stocked so that I am not having to frantically locate a report cover at 10:00 p.m. on a Thursday night (yes...yes, this does happen!). I also don't want to spend a house payment gathering all these supplies. For those of you who have children, you know that those lists of supplies have continued to grow each year as costs have risen. I definitely don't begrudge the purchases because I am aware that teachers receive next to nothing (if anything) for supplies and most spend a great deal of their own money providing supplies - even with the long list of requirements from parents, but I also have 3 children and need to manage this expenditure carefully. I imagine parents are really eyeing how to cut costs this year, more than ever. When looking over the Sunday paper last week I saw several CVS Back to School sales that, after Extra Care Bucks, were FREE and Office Max had some amazing "loss leaders" so that got me rolling. Yesterday, I again scoured the Sunday Paper and headed out this morning to pick up the great deals to be had at Walgreen's and new loss leaders at Office Max. I love sharing good deals so here is what I have managed to get:

  • 50 mechanical pencils
  • 2 pairs of scissors
  • 2 bottles of glue
  • 2 rulers
  • 3 protractors
  • 44 ink pens
  • 10 highlighters
  • 3 packs of cap erasers
  • 3 rolls of Scotch tape
  • 44 #2 pencils
  • 3 compasses
  • 3 pencil sharpeners
  • 10 2 pocket poly folders w/ prongs
  • 6 binders
  • 10 report portfolios
  • 24 2 pocket folders
  • 8 composition books
  • 3 sets markers (washable)
  • 3 sets colored pencils
  • 16 sheets poster board (white)
  • 6 packs 100 count index cards

Are you ready for my grand total?

$25.03 (including tax)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I do have a few things left on my list but feel pretty certain I will manage to get school supplies for all three for less than $50! I am doing the happy dance today to be sure.

OK, how are your frugal efforts this summer?


  1. I can totally relate to this post...we have really been out of our routine this summer and I have let my usual organization fly right out the window. I came home to 2 weeks of the Sunday paper and started planning for my back to school shopping as well. I also purchase supplies for the whole year and like to have a fully stocked school supply closet! Hope you are having a good summer, it is hard to believe that the start of school is just around the corner!

  2. $25!! Get out of here! I spent that much on just a few notebooks and gadgets. You did well girl!
    I hate back to school. Well, the going back to school part. Although I have to admit, I'm a secret back to school shopping lover. I always have to get a few cool notebooks and gadgets for myself. You know, being a part time teacher and office needs it.
    Know what you mean about the early August start date. I can't stand it. I just ain't natural.

  3. That is amazing! Honestly, I need to start clipping coupons and doing a better job of shopping sales!

  4. Sadly, I don't have to buy school supplies anymore. Call me crazy, but I used to love doing that. There was just something so motherly about hauling all the children in to shop for their supplies. I used to splurge a little and let them buy something they didn't really need because it was fun. Oh, I have thought about asking my daughter if I could go with them when they shop for my oldest grandson who will be entering 1st grade! Yes, we start early too, but it's mid August. I understand what you are saying! GREAT savings, by the way! woohoo!

  5. Well, on frugality, I'm not doing so well. However, on the stocking of school supplies, I was a master! I can recall one night my anxioius sister-in-law calling in a panic. "Do you have poster board for an 11th hour project?" Answer: "Of course!" Then she ventured further: "Well, any RED poster board???" Answer, again: "Of Course!" I was a veritable office supply store but, then, you have to factor in that I have a fetish for office supplies! Sheep C

  6. YOU ROCK!!!! We lucked out and and school doesn't start until the 25th of August...still too early but you take the cake. win the frugal award!!
    Congratulations and thanks for the tips.

  7. WOW, that's a great deal. You did good. You did real good! You almost have to do the school shopping early these days.

    Hope you're enjoying your summer!

  8. Are you kidding me!! You bought all of that for that much...oh you are good. Real good. Can I become a student? I try,really I do but Im not that great on using sale ads. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Now that is awesome. I have to admit I look back on the days when we three kids were in school and my mom would buy a ton of school supplies. Nothing like going to school on the first day with new clothes and a fresh shiny Trapper Keeper!!

    You did great. I think I'm going to collect coupons and buy up some stuff to donate to the small rural school I graduated from, it's a small county and there are kids who can't afford a lot of stuff.


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