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Keeping back-to-school costs in check

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 10:51 a.m. CST

So parents, we’ve come again to that time of year.

It’s time to send your kids back to school, and for many of you, that means it’s time to open up your wallets and say goodbye to your hard-earned paychecks.

I’ve got to say, I don’t envy your position one bit. If I have it my way, I won’t be in the spot for another 20 years. Scratch that, let’s call it 30. Or never. Double income, no kids has always had a nice ring to my ears.

But, I’m digressing. 

While a study by the National Retail Federation came out and said that parents will spend more than $600 to get one child ready for school this year, there’s no need to add to that average.

There are ways that you can get by spending less without sending your kids to school with academic gear straight out of the Dark Ages.

First things first. Time for some fall cleaning. Grab your kid’s inventory sheets.  Now, ransack your home.

You’ve got things laying around that you’ve forgotten. More importantly, your kids have things laying around they’ve forggoten.

Scour their dressers and desks and under their beds. You’re going to turn up old three-ring binders, notebooks and more. Supplement their pen supply out of that drawer in the kitchen that has 30 different pens and pencils in varying colors.

Second, look around at community calenders of churches and other philanthropic organizations. I’ve seen three different school supply giveaways in the last two weeks.

These events included everything from binders and backpacks to notebooks and calculators and everything else across the gambit including athletic gear, shoes and even vouchers for free haircuts.

Obviously you should only use these community resources if you feel you need them, or otherwise you should leave the supplies for those who might need them more. But don’t let analysis paralysis of your financial well-being stop you.

One of those supply giveaways had substantially more than 2,000 notebooks. I guarantee they still have some they weren’t able to give away sitting in a closet because someone didn’t “need them enough.”

Lastly, look online. While I encourage supporting local business, the fact of the matter on school supplies is you’re shopping a big-name discount retailer anyway. So, check online and cash in on the deals to be had.