How to Save Money on School Supplies

Back to school, like Christmas is a family budget-buster today. According to a study by Huntington Bank, the Backpack Index revealed that the average cost of sending a child back to school was $1000 in 2017.

You do not need to drain your bank account and spend that much though. If you plan and start early, it will only cost you a fraction of the $ 1000 to set your kids off.

Here are strategies to help you shop for back to school as a frugal parent, whether your kids are off to college, or starting kindergarten.

Supply sweep

Round up all school and office supplies you own. If you look around, you may have plenty of these lying around your house in the desk drawers, basements bin or closets. Office and schools supplies that you own can help you save a significant amount of money.

Collect all of them in a central location like the dining room. Make a list or take pictures of what you have and carry the list or photos with you to the store when going for shopping to remember what you have.

Also, check the kids closets and dispose of worn-out clothes. Donate or sell what your child has outgrown. The sweep will give you a clear picture of what you need to buy and prevent you from getting what you already have.

Plan a supply swap

Get your neighbors and friends on board, and organize a supply swap before you go shopping. You may have things that they need, like reams of paper bought on sale but will never use. Someone else may have some packs of pencils that they would willingly trade for the paper. Family and friends with school-going children may have extra supplies that they will not mind trading in. Talk to them and sell the idea.

Shop at thrift stores and garage sales

You will find used shoes in good condition, clothing, school supplies and even backpacks in garage sales. Hit up the garage sales for all the things you need as they are a treasure trove. Though this may take time, you may get great bargains and save significantly on back to school clothes and supplies. All you need to do is to start early, and also ask family and friends to keep an eye on garage sales near them. Moms will also find great bargains on other things.

Thrift stores are also a great way to save. Many stores run back to school items sales for parents and clothing is incredibly affordable. Since many parents are after saving, the selection is picked over early, hence you need to start early.

Start shopping for clothes in mid-June to late July when the clothes selection is plenty. Put the clothes away until school start so as not to wear off the newness of the clothes.

Consignment stores

Here you will find great bargains on used clothing as their products are vetted, unlike the thrift store. You will not have to go through blouses from 1975 to get a designer cloth on a budget.

Check if consignment shops around you will have summer sales. Many organize seasonal sales. Keep watch on the back-to-school shopping season as several stores may have a mega-sale in one location.

Check the dollar store

Dollar stores have incredible school supplies bargains and you will find basic things like pencils and notebooks, sanitizer, and Kleenex, all at discounted prices. Shop in summer months as you will never know what the stores will order and how long the items will be in stock.

Compare prices

Amazon’s ever-changing prices are a great way to save on kids electronics that most parents have to buy. Websites like camelcamelcamel track the history of the price range for every product on Amazon. Sign up for the price change alert of the particular products so that you can tell when it changes.

There are many apps to help save money by comparing prices across retailers to find out the best deal. ShopSavvy, available for Android and iOS users will let you know if a product is available at a lower price in another store when you scan the barcode. Download a barcode scanner for it to work.

Also, check your nearest drugstore or grocery store for the best prices on school supplies. You may be surprised that items are cheaper in your neighborhood when on sale than the big stores. If you have any store dollars from loyalty programs, consider using them and save.

Conclusion

Many parents would rather enjoy summer than think of back to school shopping for the coming school year. However, it pays to prepare early. Planning ahead will save you money as you take advantage of every sale and opportunity to save that comes your way. Find a safe way of keeping the coupons you collect through the year as they will come in handy when shopping for back to school.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Helping Small Children Stay Organized

All parents know that raising a child is a full-time job. If there are more than one of them, then it is full-time and a half job. From making sure they wake up in the morning on time, to brushing their teeth before going to bed, there are lots of tasks that need to be accomplished. Those formative years are important to instill a sense of responsibility in them, to guarantee that they will grow up to be accountable adults. While organizing the family as a whole makes things easier for everyone, kids often need special attention as they grow and develop. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by teaching children to be well-organized from an early age.

Obviously, if the child has issues such as ADD or ADHD, the task of getting them to be more organized is going to be more difficult. Learning to stay organized is a broad subject matter and encompasses a lot of things. However, there are things parents can do to make their children stay organized. The following is a brief look at some of the best methods to do so.

Make it a Routine

One of the best ways to start getting children to stay organized is to establish a routine. For example, pick a holiday like Saturday or Sunday for cleaning the room. Obviously, small children may not have the capacity to do a thorough cleaning, but they can start by easier tasks such as putting books and toys away where they belong. In fact, as far as putting away things is concerned, (which is one of the most unpopular tasks kids like to do) you can even enforce the rule of putting it away if they are done playing with it.

Time Management

Time management is an important life skill, and its never too early to get started on it. Small children do not understand the concept of time; therefore, it needs to be introduced slowly. Adults who have difficulty in being punctual most likely picked up the habit from childhood. Since children spend most of their time playing, this would be an excellent time to remind them how long they can play.

 

Because of their lack of understanding of time, in terms of hours and minutes, you can use other methods to remind them of the concept of time. For example, you can tell them that they can play until lunchtime, or you can play after they take a nap and so on. This is also a good time to establish deadlines. In fact, following deadlines will be one of the most important skills a child can learn. Pointing to a clock or calendar and getting them to understand the concept is highly important.

 

Decision Making

Whatever routine you choose, making children part of the decision-making process can be helpful. This way, they will feel like they were also in on the plan and give them a sense of responsibility as well as a sense of pride in what they do. This is because, no human, no matter what their age is, likes to be talked down to and told what to do. Decision making will also give them a sense of being part of a team and want to accomplish tasks and routines.

Consequences

 

All adults know that there are consequences to actions. However, most small children do not know this. After all, its one thing to teach a child how to be organized but staying organized is an entirely different proposition. Most parents will go through the dilemma regarding how to discipline their children at some point in their lifetime. With small children, it never hurts to at least introduce the concept. For example, if the child is a messy eater, then introduce the concept of cleaning up after meals are eaten. As they get older, it will be easier to introduce bigger reminders such as no playing until the room is cleaned up, etc.

Daycare Centers

Daycare centers have become a modern reality, like schools and flu shots. Some care centers are accepting not only children but even babies! Since daycare centers have become a huge part of a childs upbringing, be sure to research them well by doing your due diligence, before enrolling your child into one. As with a lot of things, you get what you pay for. Some of them are very well-equipped and have the skilled staff, to teach children everything they should know, up to their age level.  This way, when it is time to enroll them in a kindergarten or school, they will be ready and confident to take on the next challenge in their lives.

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Parenting 101: Pleasing A Gamer Teen

Gamers have also had to deal with a bad reputation. Thankfully, countless experts and parenting counsellors have since agreed that gaming is not only a hobby, but it can also become a positive force in the development of essential skills. The idea that video games are responsible for everyday violence is not only an unjustified cliché, but it is also predominantly unproven. More often than not, children who grow up playing games – as long as the games are suitable for their age – are more likely to enhance their problem-solving skills, creativity, coordination, and stress reliance. All-in-one, these are pretty useful skills to have. Therefore, most parents embrace the idea that their teenage child enjoys video games – rather than fight it.

So, what are you to do when you’re trying to please your gaming teen? Here are a few ideas to enhance their game routine.

Gaming is a social experience

Comfort makes a difference

Is a birthday coming and you’re still struggling to find decent ideas? Typically, tapping into their gaming interest can be a real game changer, especially if grandparents have asked you for tips. While you may not be confident in their ability to find a suitable game for your teen, you can certainly trust them with the matter of comfort. Gamers can develop soreness in their wrists, back and neck if they play in an uncomfortable position – which could be the case if the game console is in their bedroom with no ergonomic setting, for instance. It’s worth investing in a gaming chair – and more importantly, gaming chairs are a thing on the market; therefore, they are easy to find even for the most inexperienced gaming gift makers.

Stepping out of your tech comfort zone confidently

It is difficult when you don’t have a robust gaming experience to pick a tech present for your teen. Ultimately, if you want to give them something there will appreciate, such as a device that enhances their perception of the game, you need to understand what gaming headsets is about. Indeed, it can be tricky to pick the best gadget when you know nothing about its connectivity, features and overall comfort. Here’s a tip that will transform your approach: Forget the shop assistant and ask a community of gamers what they think – or check their reviews online.

Keep yourself informed about the latest trends

Last but not least, sometimes the best present you can give is to share their interest. Gaming is not the solitary hobby that the media made it to be. It’s an experience enthusiastic gamers are keen to share, either with other players online or with relatives and friends. Reading about the latest trends and expected games only takes a handful of minutes, but it can significantly transform your relationship. Alternatively, you can sit down with them and share the experience of the game. Even as a spectator, many games are beautifully designed, which makes them enjoyable not only to play but also to watch. Nier: Automata, for instance, is one of those games that come with a complex narrative, guaranteed to keep both of you satisfied.

In conclusion, there is no reason why video games should remain an isolated and misunderstood hobby. As a non-gaming relative, you can still find many ways to connect, either through helping your teen to create a cosy gaming environment or by joining them in their passion.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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How To Create A Garden That Encourages Your Kids To Stay Active

We all want our kids to be happy and healthy and encouraging them to get out and exercise is an important part of that. But unfortunately, that’s harder than ever to do because of the influence of screens on kids. Finding ways to get them away from screens and convince them to do something more active instead is a struggle for a lot of parents and they worry about their child’s health as a result. If you’re going to get them outside more, you need to find ways to make it more exciting for them. One of the best ways to do that is to create a great garden area that they’ll love playing in. These are some of the best changes that you can make to your garden to encourage your kids to play out there more often.

Open Up The Space

 

Kids need a lot of space to run around and play, so you need to make sure that the garden has a lot of open areas. If you’ve got big trees and bushes that are growing into the garden and taking up a lot of room, you need to know how to use a reciprocating saw because it will make light work of those branches. Cut away all of the trees and bushes and you’ll open up a space that the kids can play in easily.

 

Add Some Color

 

Kids respond well to color so you should try to make the garden as bright and colorful as possible. If you’ve got flower beds around the edges of the garden, try to fill them with lots of colorful plants. Just make sure that you check before you plant anything because you need to make sure that there isn’t anything that is poisonous if eaten. Kids tend to explore the world through touch and taste and if you’ve got young kids you need to be sure that they’re safe in the garden. You can also add a bit of color and make the garden more exciting by painting murals on the fences.

 

Grow Some Vegetables

 

Getting kids involved in a project is a good way to keep their interest in the garden, so you should try to grow some vegetables out there. They’ll enjoy planting them and watering them regularly and they’ll be excited to get out in the garden to see how they’re growing. At the end, they’ll learn a valuable lesson about hard work and patience when they finally see the end product, and they might even start eating their vegetables more often if they’ve grown them.

 

Play Equipment

 

You’ll need some play equipment out there to keep them entertained. You can pick up a cheap sandpit or just make your own with a few bits of wood and some sand. If you’ve got a big tree out in the garden, you could even try to build a treehouse up there. You can also get a swing set for fairly cheap and they’re easy to put together.

 

If you set up the garden so the kids love playing out there, it will be a lot easier to encourage them to stay active.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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