This time of year can stressful for parents with school-age children. Whether you’re sending your child off to kindergarten or college, it can be tough to find the right supplies while staying within a tight budget.
After purchasing supplies, there’s also the need to keep students well-equipped — both physical and mentally — for the duration of the school year. Here are 5 tips to help you keep your child adequately equipped with the right school supplies without breaking the bank, and 5 more ways to make sure they are prepared for success.
1. Reuse.When your children prepare to go back to school, you may be tempted to purchase everything brand new — even if there are perfectly usable supplies at home. What family doesn’t have mostly blank notebooks, unused folders and stacks of pens and pencils lying around gathering dust? How about a backpack that is perfectly usable? Save a lot of time and money by sorting through what you already have and then reuse it. Even the EPA recommends skipping new purchases if possible.
2. Make Supply Lists. Lists of necessary supplies, whether sent home from the school or found on the school’s blog, can be amazingly helpful for parents trying to figure out what to buy for their children. Every age group — from kindergarten students to college seniors — have certain basic needs that can be overlooked. Parents shouldn’t be afraid to leave things off, though. College students, for instance, don’t generally need items like printers, hard plastic laundry baskets or clothes irons. Sometimes less is more.
3. Plan a Strategy.Before heading out to make all new purchases, make sure you outline a shopping plan. Your strategy should determine which stores carry the required items at the most reasonable prices. If possible, try to get all of their items at the same place. You could save a few dollars in gasoline costs. You should also note the stores within the same vicinity that care the items in case your first choice doesn’t have the items in stock.
4. Go Bargain Hunting. Parents should shop for bargains when getting school supplies, whether that means using coupons, shopping online, going to thrift stores or making purchases on online auction sites. Garage sales and flea markets can provide things like bags, clothing or dorm furniture, while antique stores can yield interesting, sturdy backpacks or desks that are often less expensive than those found at a store.
5. Consider a Kindle Rental Over Book Purchases. Amazon’s Kindle now supports textbook rental, allowing college students to pay for 30 to 365 days of access to textbooks on their Kindle, iOS device, Android smartphone, Microsoft Windows Phone 7, PC or Mac. A Kindle enables students to reduce the amount of books they have to carry while making it easier for them to reference page numbers or specific quotes from a text.
5 Support Resources
1. Think Ahead.When purchasing supplies for a new school year, parents and students should think ahead to what they will likely need throughout the year and adjust their buying accordingly. It’s better to have extra notebooks, pencils and socks at the beginning of the year than to run out halfway through and have to go buy more — typically at a higher price.
2. Maintain a Calendar. High school and college students, in particular, can benefit from keeping a organized calendar of their activities. Writing out a schedule of classes and allotting time for doing homework well beforehand can help them visualize their tasks and keep them on track in their studies.
3. Foster Communication. Parents should take an interest in their child’s school performance, no matter their age. It can be as simple as asking a child what happened at school that day and listening to them speak about what they’ve learned. Having them recall the events of theday and showing an interest in their schoolwork can encourage them to take more of an active interest in their studies.
4. Cell Phones. Cell phones, of course, aren’t just for phones calls or texts. Parents can more easily contact older children to coordinate after-school activities and pick-up times. Smartphones also can help high school and college students coordinate their schedules through the use of calendars and email applications while keeping in touch with their parents.
Task Management. Teaching children task management skills is integral to their academic development, especially as younger kids become more and more saddled with more homework. College students, meanwhile, are entering increasingly specialized fields of study. Large projects can seem overwhelming, but by breaking them down into phases and dividing the phases further into individual tasks, students can deal with the individual portions of an assignment and have an easier way to track their progress