Purchasing supplies, text books and stationery for the upcoming school year can be very daunting. Whether purchasing for a small of large family; the whole process can be a long and stressful one. Not only does it hit the pocket HARD, it also takes up a great deal of time and lots of running around.
This year purchasing for 6 school children was indeed hard work and very stressful. In the past, the school provided the stationery which was paid for via school fees; however this year, it was left to the parents and when one has a large family the amount of school supplies were enormous. This year I found it easier to buy online rather than run from one shop to another.
Fortunately, most retail stores have Back to School sales which are very beneficial and can save quite a bit of money; however one must do the running around and face the car parks, crowds and line-ups at the check-out. If not all you need is in the one store (or they have run out of stock), then more running around is required.
Here a few tips for buying stationery supplies for a large family:
Re-cycle – Re-use
Go through last years items, pencil cases, rulers and coloured pencils etc all can be used again if still in good condition. Display books, folders and document wallets can be re-used and passed onto another sibling if need be.
Purchasing in bulk
Buying in bulk can also be a cheaper alternative; packs of 4 or 6 are readily available such as glue sticks, white outs, erasers etc. Purchasing bulk loose leaf paper packs of 200 or more is also cheaper than buying a small 50 pack. Bulk packets of pens/lead pencils and coloured pencils are cheaper too and can all be separated and handed out within the family.
Many department stores have Back to school sales. Various store catalogues may end up in your street mailbox (if you are fortunate to receive these) otherwise these are readily available online to browse through (or one can subscribe to have them sent your online mailbox). Take this opportunity to scan through and compare the prices. If you are daring enough to hit the shops, take your marked catalogues with you or have a list of items you need to purchase.
If on the other hand ONLINE shopping is easier (which I found myself this year) one must also compare prices including the delivery cost. Most online stores charge FREE delivery if you spend a certain amount. This of course is a bonus as one does not need to leave the house, battle the crowds or use up your petrol money!
Online shopping for school supplies does still take up a lot of time, (and in my case 4 hours), however, it can be simple with patience, time (the store our school used was relatively cheap too) and having a thorough list along with the brand names and codes for each of the items can also help with purchasing.
Go over the lists before purchasing EVERYTHING; for example ~ does one child need 4 sharpeners or 6 erasers (this was actually on my stationery list for my kids)? Don’t over order what you don’t need. If something does fail or break throughout the year then buying a new pencil case, sharpener or eraser is not going to break the budget, so don’t buy unessential items.
Some items on your list may also be confusing or perhaps you haven’t a clue what they are. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, phone the school (if possible), or even give the store a call and /or ask for personal assistance, otherwise you might end up purchasing the wrong items on your list.
Most importantly, make sure it is readable and thorough too.
So if you are still yet to purchase those school supplies and haven’t had the change to do so yet…there is no need to be discouraged and don’t panic as you will get there in the end. Just try to be positive, find the motivation and get to it as soon as you can as the new school year IS just around the corner!