Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to school, thrift style

Back to School sales: blessing or curse? Both, really. Reading the ads carefully and taking inventory of supplies already on hand can save a bundle. Buying on impulse when in the store "Ooh, look at that cute notebook with the Glee cast on it for only $1.79!" can add up and overcome the best of budget planning.

We've learned to spend a little more on quality and a good warranty when buying big items such as backpacks. The backpacks in our home are all name-brand and all more than two years old. If you know how hard we are on backpacks, that's a strong statement. I use a Lands' End backpack on wheels in place of a messenger bag or briefcase. Amigo uses a Jansport model that's big enough and strong enough to handle his Braille books.

Second-hand shops and thrift stores are a great source for school clothes, whether student or teacher. Amigo often wears second hand jeans and shorts; they're worn-in, comfortable, and easy to button and zip. I choose wisely, looking for jeans without rips or tears or holes so they'll last a while. I've bought brand-name jackets at thrift stores, raising the quality of my wardrobe and saving me money. The last time I bought khaki pants for him, I got one pair free thanks to a coupon in the local paper. One Old Navy, one Cherokee brand (Target), both in good shape and a good fit for him.

Books, books, books! An elementary teacher can never have too many books. Even buying thrift, I have a bad habit of piling my cart too full of books. I've learned to look for the right color tag (many thrift stores have a color code that is on sale on any given day) and look for specific titles, authors, series, and genres. I won't buy junkie books, even at sale prices.

Today I'm working at home; finishing laundry, updating my class schedule in Excel so I can post it and provide it to parents, cutting out laminating for my room, and more laundry. Tomorrow: Open House. Where did summer go? Pass the coffee!

Don't forget; I post at Green Spot-On on Mondays. Go on over to see the latest in Volunteer Oregano. Yes, Oregano.

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