Education is supposed to get you ahead in life, but during the back-to-school season, it can be hard to remember that. School supplies can be deceptively expensive: outside of straight tuition, you also have to think about transportation, food, supplies, and clothes. It can easily become a form of “death by a thousand cuts” to your bank account if you’re not careful.
One way to save money this back-to-school season, though? Reuse what you already have. Most of us already have what your kid might need to get to school just sitting around waiting to be used. Here’s four of the easiest and most effective items to reuse this year instead of using a credit card or cash advance to afford new ones.
Instead of going out and buying your kid a new notebook, scrounge through your drawers to see if you have any half-used ones. As long as the pages aren’t yellowed or cracked it’s still good to use, and you owe it to the tree it came from to make sure every page gets used for what it was meant for.
Pencils and pens are a similar story. As long as they’re still more than just stubble, a half-used pencil works just as well as new one, and a pen isn’t worth being replaced until it’s ink is gone completely.
While there’s an undeniable social aspect to what your kids wear to school, that doesn’t mean a barely worn shirt or a pair of shoes from last year can’t serve perfectly well for another year. Especially with schools that have a dress code, there’s no point in going out and buying new tan khakis when the ones from last year still fit.
While tech ages faster than almost any other category of supplies, when it comes to school, your kid doesn’t need the newest laptop. Most schoolwork your kid will need to do on a laptop or tablet is to type out papers and do some light perusing of PDFs, websites, and videos. As long as it has a functioning keyboard and internet connection your kid won’t have any problems.
This makes laptops and tablets perfect candidates for reuse year after year, or even passing your old one off to one of your kids when you get a new one.
If your kid is still in elementary or middle school where they still have to make dioramas and other “creative” projects, then you know the worst part after brainstorming an idea is going out and getting the supplies.
Well, this year, it’s time to get extra creative. Try to limit you and your child to projects that you don’t have to buy supplies for from the store. Instead, scrounge around your house for supplies from years past or just use everyday objects that can be combined in a clever way.