Back to school--on the cheap

    I remember when my child started parochial school—the list of “musts” they sent home with her totaled $80! I almost face-planted right in CVS. Then I cried.

    Now we are back at it with kids going to school. More and more, parents are asked not only to buy the prescribed pencil boxes and whatnot, but also pay for teacher’s helpers and other “frills.” This happened back in DC, too—when times were better.

    People used to be worried about where money was going, one wit said—now they are worried about where it is coming from. The average family with two kids in K-12 will spend $549 on school stuff, down from $594 in 2008.

    Only buy on sale!

    80% of people in one survey said they would buy fewer clothes, 49% fewer shoes. However, electronic buys will be up—including cellphones.

    Get only what you need.

    The discount stores are a good bet—also dollar stores. Thrift stores, too.

    More people will buy the trapper-keeper and pencil-type stuff at drugstores, which are offering more of this. Also check the office supply store—or office supply section of the supermarket.

    And teachers—don’t go nuts with these lists. We know you are plunking in more of your own money and we apprec it. But necessities only. On no planet is our bud Hello Kitty a necessity, although she can sure generate lively parent-child dialogue!

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