Girl with notebooks

Originally written by experts with a2 Milk

Back-to-school shopping can be a thrilling time for kids. There’s nothing like new pencil cases, binders, and electronics to get them excited about the upcoming school year, whether they're heading back to the classroom or e-learning at home. As a parent, however, you may be worried about keeping the cost of that long list of supplies within your budget. Fortunately, there are some ways to work through the supply list while keeping your child - and your wallet - happy! Here are some of our favorite ways to save on back-to-school shopping this year.

Make Lunches and Snacks Easier

Prepping lunches and snacks in advance can help you reduce costs throughout the school year. Whether your kids are heading back to school or learning from home, planning meals in advance can minimize the cost of hot lunches or midday food delivery to your house.

Look for recipes that can be made in bulk and divided into individual portions throughout the week. Your kids will love munching on mac and cheese cauliflower bites or digging into a creamy chicken pot pie. Snacks can be as simple as carrots served with a side of homemade ranch dressing, or whole grain zucchini muffins with pineapple. Don’t forget to serve lunch with a glass of a2 Milk® - it is a great way to give kids the extra boost of protein they need to finish the school day strong.

Make a List

Whether you are shopping in-store or online, it is easy to get distracted by things you don’t need, especially when your child is helping you. To help keep you focused, make a list of the things you need ahead of time and stick to it when shopping to reduce those impulse purchases. You can even turn it into a game for your child - see how quickly you can check everything off the list or compete to see who can find the best price on supplies.

Shop Your Cupboards

Many of the supplies your kids need to start the year might already be in your home! Before buying a host of new pencils, paper, and notebooks online, dig through your drawers, cabinets, and closets to see what you can find. You may discover new or lightly used items that your child can use for learning either at home or in the classroom.

You may also consider reaching out to neighbors and friends to see if they have any unused supplies collecting dust in their homes. Most people likely have markers, paper, or blank notebooks that they would be happy to share with your child.

Sign Up for Store Emails

If you have to get some brand new supplies to check everything off your child’s back-to-school shopping list, take some time to sign up for email newsletters from major retailers before shopping. Often, companies will offer a discount as a thank you for joining their email list, and you will be the first to know about sales that may help reduce the price of some of your school supplies.

Emails can also help you compare prices and deals at retailers to help you decide where to shop for supplies. For more expensive items, like tablets, many big-box stores will also match a competitor’s price if you can show them the email or product page with the deal.

Don’t Skip Over Used Items

There is likely a trove of supplies waiting for you at your local thrift store or online on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay. Before splurging on new binders, pencil cases, or books, browse online or at a thrift store to see what you can find. Often, you’ll be able to find slightly used supplies for a fraction of the price that you would have paid when purchasing them new.

If your child complains about not having brand-new supplies, help them make it their own by letting them decorate the supplies with stickers and drawings. There is nothing like a makeover to help an old pencil case or calculator seem new and exciting.

Originally posted by a2 Milk:

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At Feed the Children, we feed hungry kids. We envision a world where no child goes to bed hungry. In the U.S. and internationally, we are dedicated to helping families and communities achieve stable lives and to reducing the need for help tomorrow, while providing food and resources to help them today. We distribute product donations from corporate donors to local community partners, we provide support for teachers and students, and we mobilize resources quickly to aid recovery efforts when natural disasters strike. Internationally, we manage child-focused community development programs in
countries. We welcome partnerships because we know our work would not be possible without collaborative relationships.

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