Monday, July 17, 2006

Back to School shopping

Yes, its that time already here. School starts 2 weeks from today - the last day in JULY. It's hard to believe for those of us who grew up with longer summers. To the kids, though, this is all they've ever known. They think 2 months is a lot of summer vacation. In reality it is - just not as long as it used to be. In return, we get extra time off during the school year. This year, during our October break we're planning a trip to Disney World. They say that October is low season, so we hope it will be less crowded (and maybe only hot, not scorching).

Anyway, I saw an article in our local parenting magazine stating that the average amount parents spend on back-to-school shopping is $483 PER child. Wow! Not around my house. I did a bunch of back to school shopping yesterday and I spent around $40. It's hard to judge exactly how much that is for this year as I have some supplies in stock from last year and some of the supplies will be for donating at church. I've learned to buy extra for the back to school drive at church that usually occurs in Sept, after all the sales are done. As well as for the inevitable note home after the first of the year asking for extra paper, pencils, etc.

I do still have to buy a few things off the supply list - primarily paper towels, Kleenex and disinfecting wipes. Oh and at least one pair of headphones (must remember to call school and see if 5th grade needs headphones also). That will run $10-15. M will need a new backpack this year (he can almost stick his arm through the one he used the last 2 years). That will likely be the single biggest expense I have.

On clothes, M needs new jeans. Target didn't seem to have their jeans out, so I guess we will wait til they put them out and on sale. He won't need them for a couple of months anyway. He has several pairs of pants that should still fit and I will look for more at the consignment sale this fall. If I had to budget, I would guess $30 (maybe a bit more if he's shot through the ones I got in the spring or the consignment sale doesn't have anything to fit) would probably outfit him til spring. A has close to a dozen pairs of pants to go through. They won't all fit, but enough should that he probably won't need new pants. I will, of course, look at the consignment sale for future pants for him too. Both kids have more short sleeve shirts than they need (A can't fit them all in the drawer as it is - and I took out all the school spirit shirts for the summer). All they will get in the shirt dept is one new school spirit shirt ($10 each - helps support the school).

So, hmm, that adds up to around $100, plus a backpack (could be up to $60 if I go with the Land's End one - I hear great things about them). Anyway, nowhere near $483 x2. Now maybe the people figuring those numbers include all that stuff that I have to pay at school? The arts fee and the agenda and the PTA dues and the yearbook. It seems like there's some other piddly stuff too - it all adds up, but not that much. Maybe $50 all combined.

I'm sure there will be other expenses along the way, but the way the figure was, it made it sound like this was just the before/right at the beginning of school shopping, not the stuff you find you need 2 months into school. I do realize that the kids will need some long sleeve stuff (they're hard on the elbows), but I couldn't buy that now if I wanted - no one is carrying long sleeve stuff. For good reason - its in the 90's out - its hard to even think of cold weather at the moment.


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