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How To Afford Back To School Costs

Afford back to school costs

When I read an article last year about the average family spending $350 per child on back to school items, I thought that was insane. I know my kid is young,  but her school supply list has never been anywhere close to that amount. We were able to get all the things on the second grade list for under $20.I even have a post about where to get the cheapest school supplies! Why can’t people afford back to school costs? I assumed these parents must be out of their mind buying new shoes and clothes for their kids. Then, I started thinking about all the other things we spend money on at back to school time. I’m not sure if those are added in with the average cost estimate, but if they were, I can see how it might cost hundreds of dollars to go back to school. Obvious Costs The obvious costs include things like backpacks, pencils, notebooks, all those items in the bins up front at big box stores right now. You also have to dress your child and make sure they have shoes. There are a million ways to save money on these things, like buying used, ...

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Amazon or Walmart: Which is Cheaper for School Supplies?

Is Amazon or Walmart cheaper for school supplies?

Since I am on a mission to avoid Walmart as much as I can this year, I thought it would be interesting to see if school supplies were comparably priced or cheaper on Amazon Prime. To do my research, I actually had to go to Walmart and get the school supply list for 2nd grade. Not sure why they don’t post it online, but what can you do? While I was there I spent about an hour seeking out cost of supplies, which ranks just above a root canal in my book. That’s right, I took one for the team to show you who has the best prices. Always Pleasant Wal Mart Shopping Experience I’m beginning to wonder if it’s just my Walmart that has extremely terrible customer service. On this trip, I had to ask an associate where something was. She just pointed and said, “It’s over behind stationery.” Hmmm, that would be helpful if I knew where stationery was, but I digress. I did take more time that I thought because an older lady who spoke limited English needed help figuring out what she was supposed to buy for her grandkids. It’s harder than you might think to ...

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Over Scheduling Your Child

over scheduling kid's camps and lessons

I have a wonderful 7 year old daughter. Since she is an only child, so we get one shot at parenting. We are fortunate that we have a good income and no consumer debt. That allows us to give her many advantages that people working paycheck to paycheck might not be able to do. That being said, there are about 4 million and one activities available for 7 year olds these days. How do I know which ones are worthwhile or how much is too much? I don’t want to over schedule my child. Too Many Activities When I was a kid, I think we could start softball and basketball in 4th grade. I grew up in a very rural town, so there was no private dance school or Mandarin Chinese lessons for 3 year olds. I don’t know any kids who ever did more than one thing at a time. Mainly, because there wasnt’ that much to do. Fast forward to today. We still live in a rural area, but starting at age 3, kids can do gymnastics, dance, soccer, wresting, and swim lessons. By kindergarten, you can also add skiing, karate, piano, violin, t-ball, football, and probably lots ...

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Say No To Your Children Now So You Won’t Have to Later

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Suze Orman every Saturday. I know she tends to polarize people faster than a Tea Party Presidential candidate, but I do enjoy her show. Suze was actually the first financial show I discovered.  I found it while flipping channels on vacation. At that point, we were deeply in debt, and I seriously needed a Suze smackdown. I’ve learned leaps and bounds about taking care of my finances since then. I’ve also learned to take every famous financial “expert” with a grain of salt. If they make their living from telling you how to manage YOUR money, you can bet they want a slice of it too. Back on point, my favorite part of the show is viewer calls. Usually they are pretty funny, but sometimes they strike a nerve. A few weeks ago, one such caller really brought home a point about saying no to your children now so that you don’t have to later. This caller was in her late 40’s, a wife and mother of four. She was a PE teacher, and her husband was an electrician. They didn’t live in a super expensive place. Her oldest child was graduating from ...

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Save Money on Kids’ Birthday Parties-Learn From My Mistakes

If you have children, you’d probably say it’s the best thing you’ve ever done. While I totally agree, I also admit that kids are expensive. My lovely, little daughter is turning six today, so in honor of her birthday, I thought I’d share some mistakes I’ve made  tips on how to save money on kids’ birthday parties. If you have a birthday party for your kiddo before age 4, you’re doing it more for you than for them. They could care less at this point. Our daughter’s first birthday was a big production. We had lots of people over, supplied food and beer (not for the one year olds!), and bought an expensive cake.  A one, two, or three year old does not care if there are 30 people having a dinner party at their house. If you want to have a party for you and your family, that’s fine, but pot luck or hot dogs with a Duncan Hines cake mix works just fine. When they hit preschool or school age, they WANT to have a party. They start planning months in advance.  How can you plan a birthday party and not break the bank?  

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