We’re already back into the swing of the school year here in Georgia, but I know that right now is “calm before the storm” for many families as you get ready for back to school. So let’s chat about how to make back-to-school easy on you and your wallet this year! After all, I know with inflation affording back-to-school can be tough so let’s try to make it a little easier!
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.
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. For example, we use blue for Conner; green for Collin; red for mommy; black for family stuff; purple for daddy; orange for Charlotte. You can do this with a digital calendar or your family’s wall calendar (and yes! You do need a family calendar that everyone in the family has access to!)
- Get your kiddos an alarm clock if they don’t already have one (this is the one we use for our daughter – our boys just have a regular alarm clock now). 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 communicate what everyone will/is responsible for, what times they need to get up, etc.
Whenever my boys were in public school, it was like a mad dash rush to eat. And I honestly HATED that. They’d get home from school, and we’d have to do homework, and then I was trying to rush to cook or figure out what I was cooking if I didn’t take anything out the morning of or the day before. 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 and hearing all the silly stories of the day.
So here are some ideas based on what I’ve used in the past to help me get dinner on the table without a ton of drama “secret weapons”:
Freezer Meals – These are such a lifesaver, especially during the first week of school! Head here to grab my favorite freezer meal plan.
Slow Cooker Meals – I love a good crockpot meal! Set it and forget it! These are a staple in our home as we adjust to our new homeschool schedule. Also, it’s a bonus since it’s still 90 + degrees here every day that I don’t have to run the stove or oven to cook! Head here to grab my favorite slow cooker meal plans.
eMeals – we no longer have an active subscription, but we still have all the old recipes, and I organize them in our Family Favorites Binder. This is actually how we got started clean eating. If you’re really struggling with meal planning, this can be a fantastic service for taking the stress out over planning meals! Head here to try it for free for 14 days!
**And don’t forget! I still have my 4-week meal plan for just $5 available here!
It’s safe to say I’d be a complete hot mess without a routine. I cannot operate without a solid routine in place.
But the thing is, 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 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. 🙂
Start with your evenings – what time do you want everyone (including yourself) to go to bed every night? Start this week by putting everyone (including yourself) to bed at the appropriate time. Create a “going to bed” routine that works for you and help your kids create one that helps them get ready for bed as well. This will help set you up for success the next morning.
Some things to think about:
- Cleaning the kitchen after dinner so you can wake up with a clean kitchen the next morning.
- Setting the coffee maker up, so all you have to do is hit “start” in the morning.
- Make lunches (for yourself and your kids or spouse) the night before so everything can be “grab and go.”
- Make sure school bags are packed and ready to go the night before – if your kids are older, have them do this.
So how do you save on all things back-to-school?
- When you pick up your child’s supplies list for the year, pick up the one for the next year’s grade level as well. That way, throughout the year, you can purchase the items your child will need the following year, a year in advance! 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).
- Before you go shopping for school supplies, shop your home first! Gather up all the unused or barely used supplies from last school year. Tear out any written on pages out of notebooks. Sharpen the pencils. Check the markers that they are all still good. Look at your school supplies list – what can be reused? Chances are the pencils, pens, markers, crayons, notebooks, binders, and erasers from last year can be reused for the new school year. This will save you hundreds of dollars, especially if you have more than one child!
- Shop consignment sales for your kid’s clothes instead of buying everything new.
- Set up a “back-to-school” sinking fund and start setting aside money every paycheck to your sinking fund to help offset the costs of school supplies in your household budget.
- Reuse, reuse, reuse. Unless your child’s backpack is broken or ripped apart, do they really need a new one? Same with their lunch boxes – do they need a new one? This is also why avoiding buying themed backpacks, and lunch boxes is important. Your child will outgrow Spiderman long before their backpack needs to be replaced.
Okay, friends! I hope this helps you get amped up and ready for a brand new school year!
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