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How can I save money on school supplies?

With the new school year rapidly approaching, many divorced parents in Michigan are thinking about ways to save on back to school supplies. Budgets are tight for many people these days, but it can be especially difficult to cover any additional costs after being recently divorced. The Balance offers a few ways you can save on school costs while also ensuring your kids are well prepared for the upcoming school year.

Don’t splurge

Things like notebooks, pencils, pens, calculators, and notecards are among some of the most important school items to have in an arsenal. While shopping, make sure you stick with these essential items and don’t give in to requests for things like fancy stickers or stationery sets. While these purchases can be fun, they don’t really add to your child’s education. Save them for a special occasion, like holidays and birthdays, and focus your buying power on the essentials.

Look around at home

You might be surprised at how many school supplies are sitting in your home right now. Before setting off on your shopping excursion, take a sweep of your home to see if you have any items that can be useful. You can also do a supply swap with other parents, where you can trade supplies you already have for others you might need.

Label items

Once you’ve purchased your children’s essential supplies, make sure everything is labeled appropriately. Labels ensure your children’s belongings remain attached to them throughout the year, while also preventing you from needing to buy new items down the line. While you can label virtually anything, make sure valuable items are marked. Things like backpacks should definitely be clearly labeled, especially if you’ve invested money into a higher-end pack intended to last a few years.