Last Updated on March 5, 2024

Sunday’s newspaper ads startled me into a quickly-approaching reality: school starts in less than a month! I lined up the ads to begin comparing prices from all of the local stores to purchase supplies for three grade-schoolers. My brain quickly began protesting the abuse on a summer Sunday afternoon.

A few tips I’ve learned through older and wiser mothers through the years – pay CLOSE ATTENTION to the final two tips:

  1. Check your school’s website for school supply lists. Print off the list before the ads hit the newspapers.
  2. Before shopping, compile a master list combining and condensing all of your children’s school supply lists. Instead of taking four kids’ individual lists in hand and trying to figure out how many boxes of crayons to buy.
  3. Check out coupon and money saving blogs. A friend recently shared one that had compiled and categorized all of the best deals for supplies. I don’t have to sift through the ads myself!
  4. I purchase all of the general supplies (glue sticks, loose-leaf paper, crayons, etc.) on a trip by myself and then take the kids to choose individualized items such as notebooks and folders on a special before-school date.
  5. When we get home, we label everything, including individual markers and crayons, with the kids’ initials. Teachers really appreciate this, and rarely do I get a note home requesting replacements for lost markers. For larger items, we print their names on return address labels and just use a permanent fine tip marker on smaller items. The kids get excited about helping, and we check off our lists to make sure we didn’t forget anything.
  6. After school begins, most stores put school supplies on clearance. I stock up on extra paper, notebooks, and glue sticks. Some is stocked away for during the school year (especially glue sticks and loose-leaf paper), and some is donated to the schools for under-privileged kids. I also donate extra valentines and party supplies purchased on clearance for kids whose parents forget or do not have the money to purchase.
  7. Find a special place to display a family photo: taped inside a pencil box or lunch box, in a magnetic frame to stick inside a locker, or a key chain to hang from the backpack. Include an encouraging note from Mom!
  8. Finally, don’t forget to plan a special breakfast for the kids for the first day of school and a coffee for your friends and neighbors!

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