5 Back to School Must Haves for a Frugal Family
The kids are going back to school and as a frugal family we have started talking about how we can save money. Going back to school for a new school year should be exciting, not stressful. It's a fresh start, new lessons, new classmates, etc. Since Kevin and I both work during school hours, we all take coffee, lunch, drinks and snacks with us. We thought long and hard about a list of items we use and that save us money. Food can be one of the biggest costs for families (especially with older kids). With younger kids we noticed early on that if food is not properly stored it will get wasted due to food going stale, getting soggy, or spilling out of their containers. Since we hate throwing out food, proper food storage is a must for us.
Here is our list of our top 5 favorite items we use daily...
- Washable lunch bags & high quality, food grade reusable silicone bags
- Reusable coffee mugs
- Reusable water bottles
- Washable bento boxes to separate and store food.
- Thermos cups or mugs for soups and hot foods
Check out some of our favorite items on this amazon affililate link.
Along with proper food storage, there are a handful of products that I've made and use to keep us organized during the school year.
Here are some more fun and quick ideas...
- Canva is free, and useful for things like weekly and monthly calendars. Since we try to save money every chance we get, we don't buy calendars every year that will be thrown out later. I have printed free calendars from canva for the full year. Colorless white and black ones do not use a lot of ink. I've also designed and printed a blank weekly calendar and then laminated it, making it reusable with white board pens.
- Quick and easy recipes are an absolute must! I pin so many quick and easy dinners to my food and drink board on pintrest and I use google to search for recipes by ingredients when I need ideas of what to cook with what we already have in the kitchen. I made myself binder dividers on canva and made a recipe binder. I spent a lot of time over the summer filling up this binder with printed recipes so that I have a quick reference when I don't know what to cook.
If back to school shopping is stressful for you. Here are some ways to make it easier next year.
- Buy school supplies in bulk when they go on clearance. After school is in when the stores mark down all their left over supplies is a great time to stock up on extra items for next year. Pencils, pens, paper, etc.
- Start a money challenge to slowly save up for school shopping next year. This is one of the ways I make school shopping easier on our pockets. Need a good money saving challenge? Grab one of the hundreds of challenges on Pintrest.
- Buy staples slowly throughout the year. I started school shopping for undershirts, socks, leggings, etc in January of this year and then I grabbed the rest of what we needed over the summer with the money we saved using a $500.00 money savings challenge. I used some of the money from the challenge throughout the year when buying staples and supplies on sale. We reserved a small amount of money to buy any classroom needs that our daughter's teacher may ask parents to buy.
Since our daughter is going from TK to Kindergarten she did not wear out her lunch box or backpack. We saved money by not buying a new one just for the sake of it. I emptied her bags, spot cleaned and then washed them and they look amazing. One of our biggest things about being frugal is getting over the idea that brand new items are needed just for the event of having them new. Reusing or repurposing what we have saves us a lot of money.
I hope this information is usful to you all and will be used this next school year.
Thank you for all your support!