Parents are relieved whenever a school year ends. For those working around a very tight family budget, the momentary breathing space from buying school supplies is most welcome. However, the expenses are likely to be higher when classes resume. But if you want to save, then prepare early. Look for deals that offer free back to school supplies for low-income families. You might not even spend a dime.
Breaking down the cost
Before you jump with excitement to the ‘free’ option, let’s break down the cost of school supplies. The cost of school supplies increases as your child moves up to the next level. It’s relatively cheaper in elementary school but surges in mid-school and high-school.
The Huntington Bank Backpack Index gives some startling revelations about the cost of school supplies. For low-income families, the figures are quite staggering. As of the school year 2017-2018, school supplies cost around $662 annually per elementary student. The cost jumps to $1,001 for middle school children while parents have to spend$1,489 for every teen enrolled in high school.
By reviewing the respective costs, there is tremendous pressure, especially on low-income households. Thus, it becomes very stressful to look for retailers that offer the lowest possible prices.
Every penny counts when buying the smallest item like a pencil to the bigger ticket items like books. Given the situation, the heavy financial burden can be lifted if you are able to obtain free back to school supplies.
The early bird can save on school supplies
The proverbial saying “the early bird catches the worm” can readily apply to buy school supplies. Your monthly budget can be strained or drained if you don’t think about this annual expense ahead of the rest.
Sometimes it makes more sense not to wait for back-to-school deals. Resourceful parents get rid of the financial headache way before the next school year comes. You might say the buying is premature. But in truth, it’s the most practical and cost-efficient thing to do.
Of course, the stuff is not just about books, notebooks, pencils, and other writing implements. Parents agonize too over uniforms, backpacks, calculators, and other so-called school essentials that are added to the list yearly.
The financially wanting would find it cruel but that’s how the current system is. But you can learn to be smart like many families who benefited from free back to school supplies in 2017.
You can include finding free school supplies deals in your summer plans from here on. The deals this year might be better than last year’s. Remember, the early bird catches the worm. That’s how you can derive savings and beat the back-to-school blues.
The deals to watch out for
Quick-witted parents are driven by the desire to complete most, if not all, of the school supplies before the school opening. Timing is important because you can avoid the hassle of the maddening crowd. Also, any last-minute purchases can be costly.
Usually, the best deals are offered immediately after a school year. The essential items can be bought at low, low prices. There are also schools, companies, chambers of commerce, charitable organizations, and other generous souls that have the needy school children in mind.
Coordinate with your child’s school or school’s district.
Check your child’s school to know if there are extra school supplies that are given away for free. Go the length and inquire from your area or district. They might have a budget allocated for purchase school supplies. If such a program exists, chances are, school children belonging to low-income families are the beneficiaries.
Know the non-profit organizations
Non-profit organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, United Way, and The Salvation Army are such groups known for extending valuable assistance. Financially distressed parents and children run to these need-based entities for their school supplies requirements.
To-date, they have dispersed school supplies worth millions of dollars. The most popular program is the back-to-school festival. What you can do is to monitor the calendars of these organizations for free school supply events. The local warehouses of these charitable organizations may have some school materials included on your child’s list.
Be on the lookout for ‘backpack’programs
Among the most popular events dedicated to back-to-school undertakings is the backpack program. The program principally distributes free back to school supplies for low-income families. The backpacks they give away for free are loaded with free school supplies too.
School children belonging to low-income households receive the school items at zero expense to their parents. Since 2001, the Office Depot’s National Backpack Program has been extending help to millions of school children. There is also a program for children of families who are victims of natural calamities.
The Kids in Need Foundation host community events where school supplies can be had for free. On the other hand, the Homeless Children’s Foundation is distributing thousands of backpacks annually to homeless shelters. They make sure homeless children have most of the essential school supplies and are ready for the first day of school.
Visit your local churches
Most churches are also involved in projects devoted to kids from hard-up families. Check the churches in your area and you’re likely to find answers to your prayers. Take advantage of school supply drives that are usually conducted when the back-to-school fever sets in.
Follow news and media updates
As mentioned earlier, some companies hold free school supply events. You can bring home plenty of giveaways if you follow announcements through print and broadcast media. Newspapers, radio and TV stations can be your source of back-to-school updates. The more you know about them, the more you can save on your back-to-school expenses or spend nothing at all.
This type of school supply-related event is not strict as to who is eligible to receive the freebies. All you need to do is to appear at the event then claim the free back to school supplies. It pays to be well-informed if you want to free yourself from the pressure a coming school year brings.
Check out the leading retailers
The country’s leading retailers are not without back-to-school deals. They need to unload their remaining inventories to make way for the newest items. You can seize the moment. Go in-store or online shopping. It’s a good time as any to hoard on frequently used items. That will save you a lot from buying every time the need arises.
You might find the school supplies you need at Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Walgreen. The savings from the generous discounts can be used for the larger purchases. Always keep a watchful eye on their offerings. Your patience will be rewarded economically with great finds.
A welcome relief from back to school expenses
Parents with financial limitations are hard-pressed to provide their children with the proper education. Fortunately, the dreams and aspirations of parents for a brighter future for their children can still be fulfilled. And the expenses can be overcome with some smart approaches.
The recurring back to school expenses takes away a big chunk from a family’s measly earnings. But your budget need not be overstretched anymore. There are a growing number of institutions and organizations committed to giving free back to school supplies for low-income families. Let us be thankful for their generosity. The same gratitude should be accorded to retailers that are sources of low priced school supplies.
This year, many will again benefit from the various financial aid programs that can pay your school supplies. Join the others who have solved their financial difficulties. All it takes is an extra effort to discover that things just got better. Your welcome relief is here.