Friday, November 5, 2010

Saving Money in a Bind

In what could be the world's most boring post, I would LOVE to tell you how to save at least 30 bucks this year.

And if I'm stating the obvious, please bear with me. It's like when I read "Hints from Heloise" and someone sends in a brilliant hint like, "use extra plastic grocery or newspaper bags to pick up dog poop," and I'm like, "Really? Thanks for bestowing such wisdom upon me."

But I digress...

This would be a better post at Back to School time, but I obviously forgot to share it with you this year, and all bets are off for next.

Although a big part of the appeal of Back to School shopping is the smell of fresh erasers, the reams of brand new paper, etc, there is one item you MUST buy used.


Each of my kids needed 4-6 binders this year, from 1 inches to big honking 3 inches wide. The cheapest ones at Walmart were about $3.00 each, while most at Staples were in the $8.00 range. Instead of spending $60 on binders, I bought them at the thrift store for a total of $6.90. They were all in pristine condition because apparently, like hangars, binders breed. I'm thinking we'll never have a binder shortage.

Since September I've stocked up on additional binders in various sizes for next year, all at .50-.70 each.

And if you really just love to buy new things, I'm sure those teacher-provided lists will give you plenty of opportunities. Dry erase markers? Hand sanitizer? Toilet paper?

Guess how many glue sticks my friend had to buy for her second grader? 3? 5? Try 60. Sheesh!

Happy Friday!


Ellen aka Ellie said...

Each year, when we put our supply lists together (I teach fourth grade), I try to shave some things off. One, I hate how many markers and such go into landfills, and two, I hate clutter.

We have nothing on our lists like wipes, baggies, or similar. Hate all that stuff.

When my son was a kid, I'd sort through his supplies on the last day of school and save things for the following year. Less to buy. In second grade, he had to buy an index card box with tabs. It came home unused at year's end! Grrr! However, it has housed MY class' library cards ever since...

I don't even put glue on our supply list, having collected half used glue bottles years ago, I find that's all I need. (Really, how much gluing should fourth graders be doing?) Sixty glue sticks? SIXTY? I think that teacher is taking the many extras and selling them on the school supply black market. That is just bizarre. (Hopefully she's recycling them with terracycle the way we do at our school.)

Binders do breed! Every few years my brother cleans his office store room and donates to me the binders that are no longer needed. My kids only have one, and I wish their parents would buy the "heavy duty" type 'cause the others fall apart. But still it's just one.

Anyway, so ends my school supply free association rant.

And it's my day off...stop thinking about school!

purejoy said...

wow on that.
what a great idea. i have binders that i don't use anymore. i should donate them! brilliant!

but 60 glue sticks??

do kids not just get their own school supplies?

i can't imagine how expensive it is to be a teacher. 60 glue sticks probably covers all the kids who forget… or don't have one. nothing is more frustrating than doing a project with kids without the necessary supplies… but yikes. 60?

WaysToSave said...

"use extra plastic grocery or newspaper bags to pick up dog poop,". haha. Now I'll stop using dollar bills. s

Ellen aka Ellie said...

Neglected to mention in my earlier rant...for a while, hand sanitizer was banned at our school. Apparently it's so flammable it can be used like a Molotov cocktail. We were tempted to do a science project comparing brands, but decided we all value our jobs. This was, of course, all considered in jest. We never really thought about it. It was a joke. I still value my job.

dearheart said...

Oooo, oooo, cheap stuff at thrift stores!!! Thanks for the tip, I live for this stuff! I too, had made the same observation around back to school time. $8 for vinyl and cardboard? And that's just the solids!

Diane at Perfectly Imperfect Life said...

Anna, that was my favorite bargain buy this year too! I was so proud of myself when I walked through Staples and saw a binder for $8.50 but I didn't have to buy it because I had a 99 cent-er sitting at home!

Stimey said...

I love the first line of this post.

Also, what a brilliant idea. I'm totally checking thrift stores next fall. If, that is, I can remember.

Oona Johnson said...

What the hell do they need 60 glue sticks for? Does each kid have to bring 60 or is she buying for the whole class and another kid has to buy 60 bottles of Elmers? Crazy.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I have to buy 60 glue sticks too! I must have just glanced at the list when I first read it because I thought it was more like 6. Big surprise when I started to check it off...

Gretchen said...

I guess I am just an asshole because when I see 60 glue sticks on a school supply list, I say, "Yeah... they're getting 10. And THAT'S generous." I've always said, I will NOT feel pressured to provide school supplies for the whole school. They can ask for donations. Sure. But that's like forcing an employee to donate to a charity because the boss deems it as worthy.

Anyway, my point is, the way I save money on back-to-school is that I send in what I think my kids NEED and I just tell the teacher, when you run out let me know and I'll send more in. And I always do. Usually, the stuff they ask for is very minimal. I end up saving at least $10 per kid on extra supplies.

This whole discussion is a thorn in my side.