There can be multiple requests throughout the school year for various items and events when you have kids in school. These can range from extra supplies, wearing a certain color clothes for certain events, or various other activities. The best way to deal with these requests, since sometimes they can come when there isn’t a lot of money in the family budget is to anticipate and plan. Below are four steps that you can take to minimize how much you are caught off guard by those announcement letters in your kids’ backpacks each afternoon.
1.) Different colors have come to be known to support different causes and events. Many schools will have “Anti-Bullying Day” or “Support the Troops Day” or “Earth Day” at one point or another during the school year. You can plan for this when you are doing back to school clothes shopping each year by taking advantage of sales tax holiday’s and sales on clothing. Check the ads for your local big box stores and clothing stores to see who has the best price on plain kids t-shirts. Then stock up, one in each color, making sure you hit the major colors like blue, red, white, black, green, orange, yellow, and purple. You may want to add a pink for girls. This should cover any special color requests you get during the year. Then, put them away when you have bought them. By not adding them to the regular clothes that your child wears to school, you do not risk them getting torn or stained before they are needed. Since the price is probably below $5 each, if they never need them during the year, they will be great for summer wear after school is out.
2.) Buy extra supplies at the beginning of the school year. We all know the sinking feeling that comes when you are trying to budget for Christmas and you get a list of extra supplies the teacher says are needed when kids return to school. School supply prices are the lowest in August before school starts so take advantage of it then. If the supply list calls for 4 boxes of crayons, buy 8 instead and save 4 to send after the holiday. The same goes for paper, notebooks, pencils, pens, colored pencils, markers, and glue. These are all things that get used heavily and may break, run out, or get misplaced by kids. If you are feeling generous buy extra hand sanitizer, hand soap, tissue, and paper towels since there may be requests for extra of these items when flu season gets going.
3.) Communication is key with your child’s teachers. Many times teachers have the same activities that they go to year after year for certain events. Dr. Seuss week may mean dressing up with silly socks or like the Cat in the Hat while the teacher may want kids to bring flower pots to plant their own seedlings for Earth Day and kids may need to bring a kite to field day. Ask your child’s teacher at the beginning of the school year what special things they will be doing through the year and what items will be needed. By getting a list before hand, you can go ahead and start collecting supplies beforehand so you don’t have to run out and look for something at the same time another 200 parents are looking for the same thing.
4.) Shop clearance for seasonal items the year before. Every February will always be Valentine’s Day and every December will always be Christmas. If you go ahead and buy a few extra boxes of Valentine cards while they are on clearance this year, they will be ready and waiting for your child to take to school the next year. The same is true for any generic, non-edible teacher gifts that your child may want to take for the teacher at Christmas time.
By taking these steps to be prepared for the events that come up through your child’s school year, you can avoid being caught off guard and having to spend more for some items that you can save on by planning ahead.