What to Do When You Can’t Afford Back to School Supplies
Article by Adnan Masood
Are you a parent who has a child who is going back to school this year? If so, are you a parent who is also on a strict budget? If so, you might be dreading the cost of buying back to school supplies. Here are a few approaches you can and should try if you think you cannot afford back to school supplies:
Check with Teachers: Many teachers understand that parents are on a strict budget due to the economy. You will also find that many parents who are financially okay will send in additional supplies. For example, say that Sarah needs two boxes of crayons or packs of pencils, her parents might send four into the class. You may not get 100% of supplies taken care of this method, but it will significantly shorten your must buy list.
Back to School Drives: A growing number of churches, schools, and non-profit organizations host back to school drives. For a good percentage of the summer, they take donations from anyone in the community. These donation boxes are often displayed in local stores. If you see a box, look at the name on the box. Then, contact the school district, the church or the non-profit organization in question. Let them know about your financial situation and state that you cannot afford back to school supplies. Your child will likely be signed up for their drive.
Friends and Family: While you might not want to ask for handouts, it might be one of your few options if you cannot afford back to school supplies. Asking friends and family is particularly ideal for back to school clothes, shoes, backpacks, and math supplies, such as a calculator, protractor, and so forth. Many of the other parents or family members you know will either gladly provide you with secondhand items free of charge. Close friends and family members might even make a trip to the local department store for pencils, marker, glue, and folders.
Back to School Sales: For supplies that need to be purchased new, it is best to keep an eye on local sales. For example, students in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade always need crayons and colored pencils. At back to school time, stores like Wal-Mart have 24 packs of Crayola crayons for 25 cents each! If you don’t already have a back to school supply list, contact your school and tell them you need to know as many supplies ahead of time as possible so you are able to take advantage of those sales.
Free on Craigslist: Craigslist and other classified websites are home to many great deals and a lot of free stuff. Consider looking here. While hit or miss, you really have nothing to lose. Look for free or cheap bags of clothing, look for crayons, markers, and folders. Yes, you will even find these on Craigslist as some parents buy too much and then decide just to give these items away. So visit Craigslist.org and then search or browse your local city page. Other classified websites can be found with a standard internet search.
There are just a few of the many ways that you can get free or cheap back to school supplies for your child when on a tight budget.
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If you do decide to search for school supplies online, try a free search on SpotThings.com to search multiple classified websites at once!