Thursday, March 13, 2008

Back to School Shopping

Last year I hit up the back to school sales. I'm not sure how much I bought but I know that every time I ran errands I picked up at least $5 of crayons (when they were at the most twenty cents per twenty-four pack) and a few packs of paper (on sale for thirty cents per pack). I ran out of money before I felt even near stocked up. My mom and husband laughed at me when I expressed dismay at not getting enough supplies for the year. They saw the overfilled shelves in my storage closet and thought that there was no way I'd run out of supplies before the next sale in July.

I ran out of paper in two months. A week ago I pulled out the last box of crayons.

So this year I'm making a plan and budget. So far I'm thinking of this:

  • $30 of crayons. They usually go on sale for twenty cents for a 24 pack, with some places going into the teens. This will give me two packs a week with a little wiggle room.
  • $30 of paper. Lined, college-ruled paper was on sale for thirty cents per pack last year. I'm probably going to have to spend more than this, closer to $50, as I'll need to get blank drawing paper and kindergarten ruled paper as well.
  • $50 art supplies. Glue, paint, scissors, and other miscellaneous items fall into this category.
I get many of our books from the library or the discount bookstore. I have to spend full price on German books unless I can get my cousin to send some to me. I'm really liking ABC Kinderladen right now. Their prices are high but their shipping is low. I recently priced a DVD I want to get the boys from them and I'll spend about $26 including taxes and shipping. Pretty good for a German DVD.

One of the other things I need to budget in is year passes to things for the children. The zoo, the children's museum, science museum, and a couple others. In a perfect world I'd buy a membership to the two major zoos in our area as one is wonderful and huge but it is further away and is harder to reach by public transportation and the other is smaller and not nearly as great but it is easy to reach without having to use a car.

At the suggestion of a fellow homeschooling parent I tried asking for these as Christmas presents for the boys but my family loves to spoil them so we got more toys instead. So this year I'm going to ask if they'll just go in on one of the memberships (zoo probably) and then they can spend the rest of the money that they usually spend on toys.

They really are lovely toys anyway. My family makes sure to go out of their way to get toys that I approve of, not made in China (I have neither the will nor the want to haunt the recall website waiting for the next hammer to drop) toys that will spark imagination, not kill it. Last year I even went shopping with them, at their request, so that I could give my opinion on toys that weren't so clear in the bad/good category.

Well, I hope that this entry makes sense as I'm operating on about an hour of sleep and I'm getting sick so everything is a sort of haze. Which reminds me, is there any feeling that matches the dreadful weight in one's stomach when one wakes up to a child vomiting where he stands?