School is already back in session here in Georgia and if you’re one of the few lucky folks that get to wait until the leaves change and the temperature drops to head back to school, enjoy it…goodness I miss summer.
Anyway, one of the most asked questions from last week was about school – not just saving money on the back-to-school stuff but about surviving this season.
This year we have a Kindergartner, Preschooler, and Toddler (who will be homeschooled by me this year – this is the curriculum that my husband and I created a couple of years ago for our boys, if you’re interested).
So, I’m far from being a veteran at this whole game so take my advice with a grain of salt. 🙂 But since Conner goes to a school that is 30 minutes from our house (and traffic in Metro Atlanta is a nightmare on a good day), by the time I get home from picking him up, it’s time for me to start dinner, then we eat dinner, then we clean up from dinner, get about an hour to play, and then bam! It’s bedtime.
To say we feel rushed is an understatement.
But there are a few things that we’ve been doing that has made this transition easier for us and thus has kept the meltdowns from happening non-stop.
Okay, so you may remember that at the beginning of summer I talked about Susan’s Survival Calendar that I buy every summer? Well, she also has a back-to-school survival guide that is well, comprehensive.
It’s over 200 pages but it’s packed full with valuable info that we’ll be able to use every new school year with our kids. Susan is a veteran mom of 4 kids so she knows her stuff and even though not everything in the guide was relevant for the ages of our kids, I greatly benefited from the planning aspect of it.
I’m a true Type-A personality and I like to have a plan – it gives me peace…that’s probably why I enjoy budgeting so much. And Susan helped this first time school mom over here have some peace with a plan ready.
So, if you don’t already have everything in order and organized for your kids’ upcoming first day of school, I encourage you to sit down at least a few days (better yet, maybe a week) before they start to lay it all out.
Here are some tips for making a plan a reality:
- Use different colors for different people on the family calendar. Example, we use blue for Conner; green for Collin; red for mommy; black for family stuff; purple for daddy; orange for Charlotte.
- Get your kiddos an alarm clock if they don’t already have one (this is the one we use). Make them responsible for getting themselves up – seriously this is a lifesaver!
- Make sure the entire family knows the plan beforehand – hold a family meeting if you need to, but make sure to communicate what everyone will/is responsible for, what times they need to get up, etc.
Like I said, now when we get home from picking up Conner it’s like a mad dash rush to eat. And I honestly HATE that. I don’t like rushing to eat – I like food and I like to enjoy it. I also value sitting at a table eating food with my family hearing all the silly stories of the day.
So here are my “secret weapons”:
FreezEasy – Freezer meal plans
The key here is once again to have a plan – including a back up plan. I actually keep a frozen pizza in our freezer (yes, I know that’s far from healthy) just in case the day was a hard one.
It’s safe to say that without a routine, I’d be a complete hot mess. I cannot operate without a solid routine in place.
But the thing is, that up until I became a stay-at-home mom, I never really controlled the routine – I mean, yes I still had to get up for work/school but I didn’t really have to plan out my day – my boss or professors did.
Once I started staying home, I was in charge. And boy did I have a hard time adjusting!
After taking Crystal’s course a few years ago, I made some drastic changes in my day and finally got my life in order and I encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already because it’ll help you not only get your family in the routine, it’ll create better harmony in your home.
So if you don’t already have your routine in place, I encourage you to start before your kids start school so you’re well-adjusted. 🙂
So how do you save on all things back-to-school?
One of my bestest friends in the whole world (who also happens to be a teacher) gave me the most brilliant idea ever… 💡
When you pick up your child’s supplies list for the year, pick up the one for the next year grade level as well.
That way throughout the year, you can purchase the items your child will need the following year, a year in advanced! She did mention that you should wait to buy anything too specific until the new school year’s list comes out in case they change it (like a red folder and green notebook which could change in color the following year).
If you’re looking for ideas on how to save on kids’ clothes this year, this post on Reader’s Digest has some awesome ideas!
Is your money ready for the new year?
Download our free Money Check Up workbook and get your money ready for the New Year!