Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School Days

I was talking with some friends yesterday about our collective childhood memories regarding back-to-school supplies shopping. I remember the excitement generated by a pack of crisp, new "five for a dollar" notebooks. I remember the care taken in choosing precisely which colors would be set aside for which subjects. I recall the anticipation of the endless possibilities encapsulated in that one package of filler paper. It was a very enjoyable experience. Some of my friends had other memories. They remember feelings of anxiety and trepidation brought on by these excursions. I'm curious as to what the general consensus of my readership is. What are your memories?

Jennifer went supplies shopping yesterday. I had MAJOR sticker shock!!
I am a very frugal person by nature, and I have done my best to instill these values in my children, but I also know that having supplies handy that lift your spirits can definitely be conducive to a more productive learning/working experience. Finding the right balance between the two can often be tricky. What do you think is an appropriate amount to allocate for school supplies? (I'm not talking graphing calculators and flash drives, by the way...)


efrex said...

School supplies were never much of an excitement generator for me, since I was guaranteed to lose all of 'em within a couple of weeks, anyway... I certainly don't recall any particular supplies that were "spirit-lifting," although my beat-up sample case (imagine something like this, reinforced with duct tape and scratched up ten ways to Sunday) was a loyal companion through four years of college.

We've only just started formal (pre-)schooling with our older one, and The Lovely Wife(tm) has been handling the supply purchases*, so I'm not quite sure what an appropriate amount to spend is. If I started buying the stuff, I'm sure that I'd wind up with "sticker shock" as well.

The electronic stuff is actually not too bad: flash drives are on sale for absurdly low prices every Monday and Thursday, and, as far as I'm concerned, there are only two calculators worth owning: the Little Professor and the TI-36...

*apparently, she believes that four-year-olds shouldn't have protractors, pocket protectors, t-squares, and copies of the periodic table: what kind of education are we giving our kids? :)

perlsand said...

I LOVED shopping for school supplies and to this day, I still get a rush in any type of store with stationery, paper, notebooks etc.. My best friend from elementary school still reminds me (sarcastically, I might add) that I was the only one who ever brought reinforcements (were they called this outside of NY as well?) to school for when the little hole in the page inevitably tears.I think we had to lick them in those days and they were only white!
Unfortunately, none of my children shared my enthusiasm and it just became another source of embarrassment for them "Mom, I'm in 10th grade, I think I can do this myself!"
I'm wondering if I should hold out for when my grandson reaches school age but being that he's only 5 months old, I'm concerned everything will be on a laptop by then!
Thank you for allowing me to walk down memory lane. Excuse me while I go find that 10th grader and drag her to the store!

ProfK said...

I loved school supply shopping, but back when I was in elementary school and even high school there was relatively little that we HAD to buy--a few spiral notebooks, filler paper, a looseleaf, some dividers (and yes, those reinforcements also), one or two pocket folders, a few pens and pencils, a protractor (usually lasted more than one year), a ruler and a small pack of crayons (not for school but for at home work). The fancy backpacks and rollaways were not around and most kids just carried their notebooks and books in a stack.

My mom always allowed each of us to get a pack of "cute" stickers to personalize our notebooks and folders with.

Oh yes there is sticker shock--I was watching the moms check out at a few of the stores and the prices coming up on the registers were more in line with catering a bris for "only" 50 people than for buying what is basically paper.

Staying Afloat said...

Looseleaf binders are really expensive this year. Just saying. (And last year my receipt was taller than two of my kids.)

I also loved my crisp new supplies. And my mom tried to economize when possible.

That being said, sometimes you have to spend more at the beginning of the year so you don't have to replace it halfway through, and sometimes only your kid can tell you which supplies that's important for (spiral notebooks, folders, etc.)

Also, some kids find that the nigher quality (usually more expensive) stuff actually keeps them more orhanized, so if I can afford it, I get them for those kids.

G6 said...

Ooooh Perlsand,
I remember reinforcements (thanks for the smile). I actually splurged in my day on the ROLL that automatically ejected one at a time.

Staying Afloat,
I also agree that quality in this case is often worth the investment (as opposed to character and "branding" which NEVER is...). Five Star products go the distance and are worth the extra bucks.

That said, I still don't know why this stuff costs so much...

Teenager said...

I brought a laptop to school, what else do you need it has everything that you discussed in one, spellcheck, calculator, i dont even know some of the stuff you had back in the day

BLD said...

Train your child well: Just help yourself in the office and bring it home. Who'se gonna notice ?

Yoeli said...

It depends how much money you are saving, and whether you are going into debt. If you have credit card debt, and are not saving for retirement you should not be spending much on school supplies

Scraps said...

If you know where and when to shop, you can still get school supplies for pennies. Target and Wal-Mart have had several weeks of sales which, added up, would save a frugal parent a LOT of money on basic school supplies as well as some fun things.