Next month, schools will start up again. The kids may not want to think about it, but parents, you have to! Make the transition from summer to school easier on your family and your finances by doing a little planning ahead of time.
1. Save on School Supplies
Last year, CBS News posted a video with excellent advice on how to save on your child's supplies. This resource directs parents to several websites that can help you save, reminds parents to shop at home first, and encourages moms and dads to take advantage of ad-matches offered by some retailers.
More on saving:
- Be sure to have your school's supply list in hand before shopping. Some districts post these on their websites. Just print out and shop with it.
- Start scouring the weekly ads now for sale prices on everything from folders to binders to pencils and pens. When you're at the store, jot down the regular prices so you'll know when the store advertises a sale whether or not you are getting a great deal.
- Check to see if your state is offering a Sales Tax Holiday. The Federal Tax Administration's page lists the states that participate in giving consumers special savings for school — no state sales tax charged on specified items. Some states include clothing and books, others throw in savings on electronics that students use (like laptops). Click on your state's link on the right of the page for more information.
2. Get on Schedule Before School Starts
- A couple of weeks before the bell rings, set the alarm clocks and make 'em get out of bed, eat breakfast, and take care of whatever daily preparations they need to before walking out the door.
- Make it a habit to have clothes picked out the night before. Whether you do it for younger children, or make your teenager do it herself, it's a good habit that can keep morning rush to a minimum.
- Get back to an earlier bedtime to make sure everyone gets their rest.
- Make sure your kindergartner stays active in the weeks leading up to their first day. A full day of school can really tire out a young body (and mind). Help build his stamina and keep him busy with outdoor activities, indoor learning, and household chores.
3. Get School Events on the Calendar
PTA meetings, extra-curricular activities, the school carnival and Christmas play — getting these on the calendar for the semester (or the whole year) helps keep you from double-booking other events and appointments, and also helps keep the peace.
4. Do a Dry Run
This can be especially helpful when starting a new school, and for first time parents-of-kindergartners. Get out the door, and get them to the bus stop, or drive to the school as if your child is starting to get an idea of how long it will take. Then add several minutes &mdash ;you'll be joined by hundreds of other cars on the first day.