Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to School - OUCH!

I'm so old..............
that I remember when the school supply list was only 5 items long and parents actually enjoyed the annual back-to-school splurge of shopping for a "first day" outfit. Now getting the kids ready for school is a major budget item and, in this economy, can be a real budget buster.
Even though I'm past the age of enduring this agony myself, I've come up with ideas for my grown children that I thought might be of help to you...or at least an inspiration:
  1. If it's your tradition to begin school with a teacher gift, consider a nice apple muffin, or a thrift store coffee mug or a red water bottle personalized with the teacher's name. Place the gift in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold the top of the bag over once or twice, punch two holes in the flap and tie with red ribbon. Add a tag sized card with your child's picture inside and write, "my name is (?) and I'm glad you are my teacher".
  2. Thank goodness new clothes don't necessarily look new these days. Check out the parenting, child and teen magazines while waiting in the grocery checkout line to get an idea of what's "in" and what's not.
  3. It seems that pinstripes and the stone washed look is "out" but ornamentation is very much "in". Consider buying one of those dazzle, gem and stud kits to add new sparkle to old jeans and shirt collars. Add a ruffle of pretty patterned fabric to the bottom of of plain shirt or dress.
  4. Embroidery is also "in" and easy to do. If you can sew at all, you can embroider. Yes, you can. Spend some time in that section of a fabric or craft store and you will realize that it is not rocket science and a couple of needles and a few packets of thread cost next to nothing.
  5. Iron-on applique's are a super simple way to update something old and if you can't find some or don't like the ones you do find, make your own with a little "Stitch Witchery". It is also great for turning those sew-on embroidery trims into iron-on decorations.
  6. Don't forget tie-dying. If you child has a circle of friends, get them together with t-shirts they already own and have a tie-dying party and suggest that they all wear their new creations on the first day of school.
  7. If you live in a subdivision filled with children, arrange a neighborhood yard sale and have a neighborhood party the night before so that participants can buy from and sell to each other first.
  8. If you have teens, think college. Even if you have to drive to a neighboring college town, the thrift stores around a college campus are filled with young, trendy clothing, still at bargain prices.
But clothing is not the only nightmare expense when doing the back-to-school thing. Here are some links I found to sites that cover a wide range of back to school issues:

For Thrift Store shopping tips I never thought of click HERE.

THRIFTY CHICKS has innovative ideas for filling that staggeringly long school supplies list

GREEN BLOG has back to school suggestions that cover everything from healthy breakfasts and waste-free lunches to transportation, supplies and projects.

APRON THRIFT GIRL covers frugal ideas for back to school clothes from many perspectives including swap parties, bartering groups and freecycling.

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