Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Binder's Cheaper Than Your's!

This week we finally tackled Back to School Shopping, after putting it off for weeks...

Last year we wasted a lot of time and money getting duplicate supplies since each of VC's 6 teachers had a separate supply list. We did not realize that only one or two binders would do the trick (doh!). This year at back to school night, we talked to the teachers about supplies so we could get a good idea of what was needed (or not needed) in order to save money. I suggested that we do this in order not to overbuy, plus it is a good way for VC to speak up and meet his teachers.

His math teacher was kind enough to advise us that the $100 graphing calculator was not a requirement (even though it was on the supply list) and that there would be some available in class. He told VC that he could probably make due without purchasing his own. That conversation right there resulted in significant money savings!

VC is a very money conscious 13 year old, which probably comes from spending time shopping with a mom who taught him "per unit pricing" at a very young age :-) He is the one who normally responds, "That's OK, I'm fine," when I suggest buying something for him.

Back to School is a great time to teach kids lessons about saving money. Instead of picking up the first binders we found (since the 3 and 4 inch binders are expensive) I suggested we do some comparison shopping.

VC had a brainstorm that we should check for the binders when we were shopping at our local Warehouse Club. He is a great comparison shopper so while I headed to the freezer section in search of free samples , to get some yogurt, he headed to the office section and discovered they had a package of two 3 inch binders for $10.00. I told him that was probably a reasonable price, but suggested we check another location before making the purchase.

He was stunned to see that comparable binders sold for $17 EACH at the second store. He suggested we drive on back to the first store (which was close by) and said that he would run in and purchase them. This is another perk to having a teenager. I was able to wait in the car while he ran in and made the purchase.

VC was very pleased with his informed decision. He told me he didn't need anything else, although I finally insisted that we get some new black pens even though he felt the ones we had were just fine. (Of course, the pens were on sale at 8 for $1.00 so I couldn't resist :D As I told him, we could always put them aside for next year.)

The moral of this story is not to point out our halcyon ways of dealing with money decisions, but rather to show that it is possible to get your kids involved in money decisions beginning at an early age and help them become lifelong savers.

The next big thing to tackle will be getting out of bed at the crack of dawn on Tuesday for the first day of school!! I can assure you it won't be pretty....


For more ideas on teaching kids about money while doing back to school shopping, visit Parent Bloggers Network. PBN is working with Capital One to get the word out about the talking to kids about budgeting and finances. This post was written as part of a PBN Blog Blast. Now's the time to get started talking to your kids about money.

9 comments:

Tammy Howard said...

We're shopping tomorrow (which is when we'll finally have access to the eldest's supply lists - well after all the sales and when everything is nicely picked over, thank you very much). I have one good shopper and one 'everything she wants is everything she sees' shopper. Not looking forward to this at all.

angelcel said...

You're absolutely right. *Every* shopping trip with children is an opportunity to teach them maths and all about money. I'm with you. I used to stand there looking at multiple packs and singles of things and get the girls to try and figure out which was actually better value. Voila! Maths *and* budgeting!

Sounds like you've been doing a great job with VC. Nice one on the binders. Makes you feel like you've won a prize or something, doesn't it? :)

Oh you don't know how glad I am that this 'back to school for the new academic year' thing is all over for me. My pet hate? *Shoe shopping*! Aaarrrgh...

~Kristen~ said...

I don't have kids so no worries about teaching them about money. I just had to tell you...even without kids I am a sucker for school supplies!!! I get giddy when I see the school supply aisles each summer! And I buy stuff...that I obviously do NOT need! :-)

Yankee Girl said...

I was just at Walmart yesterday and I dragged Leland down the school supply aisle. It made me all nostalgic! I wanted to by some pencils but Leland wouldn't let me, which is good because I would never have used them anyway.

shraddha/april@theselfloveproject said...

i have too agree! you are right on mark!

i will try pbn too...looks cool!!

Kathie @ my net finds said...

what an awesome kid! you're raising him well oh wise one!

Laura said...

You have one smart cookie on your hands, you don't hear "no thinks, I'm fine" too much from kids! You must be doing something right! Even though my kids are only 1 and 2 I already talk about how we are going to teach them about the whole saving/donating/spending of money...good life lessons! :)

Lucy said...

What a great idea, perfect time to teach the kids, they are all out shopping for their supplies and sounds like your guy is getting the message!!!!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

~Grizz has no problem spending my monies, but is very parsimonious about his!

Carma, you are a star in the firmament when it comes to making the right decisions when parenting teens - Why not come right/write for us at Mad Manic Mamas?! http://madmanicmamas.blogspot.com/

Just a thought! Best of luck on getting VC up for school - Grizz is now practically nocturnal - Roll on 10 September! Fhi xox

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