1 Simple Way to Save Money on School Supplies for Next Year

Whether you’re patiently awaiting the end of the school year or dreading summer vacation entirely, it’s likely you haven’t given much thought to what school supply shopping will look like next year. And while I don’t think you need to rush to the store just yet to grab all those necessary items, I do have one simple way you can save money on school supplies if you act now. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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1 Simple Way to Save Money on School Supplies for Next Year

Well hey there and welcome back to the Financial Fix Up Podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Brumley, and if you’re new here – I just want to say welcome! This podcast is all about helping you live well on the income you already have – so that you can achieve the financial freedom of your dreams. Your goals might not look like mine, but together we can make it happen. And, if you’ve been around for awhile, you know that’s the case, right?

As we approach the end of the school year, I know that you probably fall into one of two categories. Either you’re so fed up with all of the end-of-the-year events and can’t wait for the freedom that comes with summer break OR you have no idea what you’ll do with your kids all summer long so you’re dreading it a little, or maybe a lot. I’ve been in both camps depending on the year, so all I can say is just hang in there. This too shall pass.

In the midst of all of the chaos that comes with end of year activities, though, I wanted to use the time today to chat about one way that you can save money on school supplies in the fall. But it’s not something you put off until the fall, no! It’s something you need to do now – or right when school lets out. And that’s taking inventory of the school supplies that come home with your child.

I mean, think about it. You sent your kiddo to school with a gazillion dollars worth of crayons, pencils, notebooks, binders, glue sticks, erasers and whatever else was on the list, right? So, there’s a pretty good chance that your kiddo is coming home at the end of the school year with at least SOME of those items. Knowing that, you might be able to save some serious money.

Over the years my family even came up with a process to make it happen, so I’m going to share it with you now with the hope that it really does help you complete this process without feeling overwhelmed so that you can save some money come fall.

Step #1: Spread It All Out

So the first step is to spread out everything that comes home with your kiddo. I mean EVERYTHING. Because there’s no telling what might come out of my kids backpacks or school supply containers, we make a point to do this in an area of our home that can be easily vacuumed afterwards.

Have your kids dump their school supplies on a table, the floor, wherever is most convenient for you. Then, have them actually go through and throw away anything that could reasonably be considered trash or have the potential to be future clutter. Just do it now and you won’t have to deal with it later.

Then, have your kiddos sort the items. For example, crayons in one pile, pencils in another, and so on. I actually like to pull Tupperware containers or other bins out to make this really easy. You can always rinse them out afterwards.

Step #2: Take Inventory

The next step then is to take inventory.

  • How many pens?
  • How many pencils?
  • Do you have a full set of crayons or colored pencils? Is their pencil pouch still usable?
  • What about the three-ring binder or the folders?
  • Are the glue sticks still sticky?
  • What shape is their backpack in? Lunch box?

Write down anything and everything that could be helpful for next year.

This is important because when that school supply list shows up, you’ll know exactly what you already have and be able to focus only on the things you don’t. That’s the savings right there.

You could use paper and pen or make a digital list, but whatever you choose, just make sure you don’t skip this step.

Step #3: Store It Away

The third step, and possibly the most important is to store these items away. Once you’ve completed that inventory, the last thing you want to do is come back in the fall unable to find the items you thought you had. So, you’ll want to determine how best to protect those items.

Personally, I like to use a large plastic storage container – like the ones that you’d store seasonal items in – to complete this step.

EVERYTHING goes into that storage container. When my kids were younger, that included their school backpacks because those things are expensive and I wanted them to be available for school the next year. As they got older and started using them for other activities, I stopped storing them. Like my daughter takes hers to work sometimes or grabs books at the library. The key though is that they are aware that they need them for the upcoming year and that they might be responsible for the cost of that in the fall if it’s not available. And I’m going to talk a little more in the upcoming weeks about what I have my kids pay for and that type of responsibility, but depending on your family situation, you may choose to just store the backpacks so they don’t get used.

Of course, if they are super stinky or dirty, you might want to disinfect or deodorize them before you store them. Otherwise that might be a nasty surprise on the other end.

Lunch boxes and everything else, though, make their way to the storage container. Then, I label that container and set it in our storage space out of reach for the summer months.

Another tip: when you do pull these items out in the fall, they are community items. So, if you have three kids heading to school, they might not have the EXACT same items they did last year – it all depends on the school supply lists and the need, okay? For example if kid 1 needs folders, but kid 2 doesn’t, then the folders will obviously be used by kid 1. So it might be a good idea to make that clear to your kids now so there isn’t a big fight in the fall.

Will You Save Money on School Supplies for Next Year?

Alrighty, so I know this is yet another thing to add to the end of the school year madness, but I can tell you from personal experience that it has saved us tons of money over the years. Sure, some years there’s not as much as others, but we’ve had years where school supply shopping in the fall was almost not necessary at all. So, save money where you can, right?

And if you are still struggling to get your family budget up and running, grab my FREE Family Budget Worksheet to help you do just that. You can find it at lemonblessings.com/family-budget or by following the link in the show notes.

Whatever you decide, just know that I’m cheering you on! You’ve got this! Have an amazing day and I’ll chat with you again next time!