WalMart has their school supplies out now for the lowest prices they offer. Of course we had to go. This year we needed to outfit a backpack for my son as he begins middle school in the fall. The buses here come to certain pick up points, which means a four block walk to the bus stop for us. That’s not far, but it means an umbrella for the backpack ($10), and he needs a basic calculator ($9), the lunch box was worn out ($10), and we got some other basic supplies. I already have a good stock of basics, so we didn’t buy a ton of paper, folders, etc – just a few things to fill in.
We didn’t buy a new back pack. My son will wear out the one from last year, and have a good one on his Christmas list for grandma. My oldest is doing the same thing. Grandma bought a good backpack for my oldest at the same point, and it’s just now wearing out, four years after she began using it. Also, it’s a good item to ask for. My mom prefers mail order shopping, and loves to get books and items like this.
One of my kids is home schooled, so she just got a few folders for home school co-op classes. Our total bill was $70 (rounding). I can’t imagine what other families pay who wait until the ‘need lists’ come out the week before school starts, when everything is full price again. I also think about families who get new lunch boxes, back packs, etc. every year, whether the old ones need to be replaced or not.
I had a few high priced items, relatively speaking, but the calculator should go all the way through college. A graphing calculator may be purchased in high school, but this one will cover quite a bit. The lunch box should last at least three years. I learned very early that fabric lunchboxes without a plastic liner are only good for about one year before the rips start gaping. The umbrella will be replaced once or twice before graduation, but that’s part of having a compact umbrella. I guess the frugal side of me is just reeling at how fast the bill climbed with just the basic supplies (pens, glue, paper, folders).
I am thankful that WalMart, and thus the other area stores, have the good deals in July to take advantage of. I am thankful that I know some of the things the middle school typically asks for. I am thankful that my kids are fine with using the same lunchbox, backpack, etc. year after year. I’ve got great kids!