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Parents Have Homework, Too
Money's running short across the country, but when it comes to your kids' education, parents always feel a little guilty (or are made to feel guilty) when they don't fork over the cash to help with fundraising events and the like. Here's a few tips to get you through the fall bake sales and band-uniform drives.
First of all, realize that money isn't the answer to everything, and you don't have to BUY all of the baked goods for that cookie sale. Instead, donate a little of your time. Volunteer to help out with events and after school activities, if you can. Actually bake those cookies or cupcakes and take them to the school yourself. There aren't many schools out there where the faculty isn't overworked in some way, so realize that it's ok to offer your time as opposed to your wallet.
If time is a commodity you don't have, not to worry, there are other things that you can do to help shave some costs.
This is a big one and works the same way as your daily lunch trips to the deli do...it's expensive to eat out. And, the healthier your child's cafeteria, the more expensive it is. Reduced lunches will save you some money on that end, but realistically, a packed lunch is best. Some kids will balk at the idea of taking a bagged lunch to school, but if you include some of their favorites every once in a while, you might find them more open to the idea.
This one seems to be the big expense for many parents: day care or after school programs. They're expensive, plain and simple. But options aren't as limited as one might think. One idea is to get a group of parents together that can take turns watching kids after school. Check with your child's school about a PTA list and get in contact with someone to see if there is an interest in such a group.
Yes, there are a few teachers who are particular about certain items and you'll need to wait for the supply list for those; however, the majority of school supplies has remained the same for many years. You know they'll need general rule paper, No. 2 pencils, erasers, crayons (depending on their grade), pens, a three ring notebook or two, and so on. Look for sales and deals and pick these items up throughout the year and keep them on hand for the start of the next school year. You'll save a little money and a lot of headache. And, honestly, things like pens, pencils, paper, and so on can be picked up really cheap at places like the Dollar Store.
What other frugal tips can you share when it comes to saving money for school? [Wisebread]