Claire the Afena Mom Blog

Back to School Savings and Saying Good Bye to Print

Aug 01, 2016
I’ve been writing this blog for the past two years, and it’s been fun. My little girls have started school, my little man has learned to walk, talk, and dance, and Moose, the giant, towel eating wonder, has quadrupled in size. It’s been quite a ride.

I remember the very first story I wrote as the Afena blog mom. I talked about growing up with my dad, going on treasure hunts in the grocery store and collecting bouncy balls from the laundromat vending machines. I talked about how even as our lives, priorities, and goals change, some things always stay the same - like the importance of family and finding the fun in the everyday.

I thought about that this week as I was back-to-school shopping with my husband. The
kids were entertaining the grandparents, so we had a few hours to peruse the aisles, picking out pencils, folders, play-doh, and backpacks. For kids, school is part of their almost every day routine, and I wanted to make sure to build some fun into it. Here are a few tips to help build some fun into the everyday back-to-school experience with your kids and stick to your budget at the same time.

First, know what you already have. Pencils, glue, markers, and notebooks are pretty common at my house. You can save a surprising amount of cash by utilizing what’s already in your home, or left over from last year. Once you know what basics you
already have covered, you can pick one fun item to add to your child’s backpack. Whether it’s sparkle pens, a folder featuring their favorite cartoon character, or fun sticky pads, adding that one special item will make your kid’s day.

Second, this is a good time to get your kids involved with budgeting. While the kids stayed home with grandma and grandpa during our shopping trip, we did talk at home about what they needed for school, what items were purely wants, and why there’s a difference. If you have older children, you could even give them a spending limit and let them lead the shopping trip. If you let them know they get to keep any extra money,
they’ll be motivated to shop frugally and keep the budget top of mind.

This last tip is my favorite, as I know how much food can cut into a family’s budget. When you’re shopping to fill those lunchboxes, buy in bigger quantities and use sandwich bags or reusable containers to create single servings. You’ll save money and you can make more personalized and fun lunches for your child. Cutting sandwiches and fruit into fun shapes works wonders for getting my picky oldest daughter to eat.

Here’s hoping that you have a fun and easy transition back to the school year. Remember, I’ll still be online sharing tips, and I hope you’ll join me there. I’m Claire, the Afena blog mom, and as always, thanks for reading.