Magazine article USA TODAY

Balancing Your Budget for Upcoming Classes

Magazine article USA TODAY

Balancing Your Budget for Upcoming Classes

Article excerpt

Between new clothes and backpacks, supplies and shoes, back-to-school time really can put a dent in household budgets. However, with a little forethought and creativity, it is possible to save money on supplies and still start the school year off right, says Sandy Sendler, creator of Bowdabra. She offers the following tips:

Shop ahead. School supplies often are at their cheapest in mid summer. Call your child's school and find out if you can get the supply list a little early and take advantage of those sales. Find out when your state has its tax-free days and plan your shopping around them for extra savings.

Buy simple. When hitting the stores, keep an eye out for the simpler alternatives. Instead of glossy, photo-covered folders and binders, buy plain white and let kids decorate them with pictures from magazines, fabric, and paper scraps. Cover blank notebooks and journals with fun fabric and make your own book covers out of wallpaper or contact paper. Decorating school supplies is not just a cost-cutting measure; it will boost children's confidence when they can show off their creations to friends.

Do it yourself. Take advantage of all the online tutorials out there and make your own pencil cases, gym bags, and even backpacks. …

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