As schools around the country get ready to start many parents are worried about the expense of back to school shopping.  I have one thing to say to you.  SALES.  As a teacher I became at expert at scouring school supply sales.  I think it is actually a requirement that you be addicted to school and office supplies to become a teacher.  I’ve found that the two best times to get crazy bargains are the month before schools open and the month after.

Before school opens all of the stores have amazing bargains on a few things.  These are the things you want to purchase.  Go to the school your child will be in and get a list of everything he or she will need. Then watch the sales papers for all the stores in town and grab their loss leaders as you find items that are on your list.  I recently saw five packs of mechanical pencils for only .o5.  The same for sharpies and notebook paper. The stores do this so you’ll come in and then see the pretty, shiny, full priced items and drop a ton of cash on those.  Your goal is to get in and out of the store with only those super cheap items.

Don’t worry if you don’t find everything you need on sale right away.  Usually students are fine for the first week or so with only paper and something to write with.  It is after the first few weeks of school that the truly amazing sales take place.  I’ve seen lunch boxes for 80% off and they will practically give away paper, notebooks, crayons, markers, pencils, and colored pencils.  If you can hold off till these sales you will spend only a fraction of what everyone else is spending on school supplies.  Even if you do give in and buy a lot of your items before the sales, consider stocking up once the sales hit.  This will save you last minute runs to the store later in the school year and you now eventually you will use the product!

Do you have any great tips for saving money on your back to school supplies?  Share so we can all save money together

Healthy School Lunches



Okay, first I should tell you that the healthy school lunch isn’t to be found in an American public school.  Chef Dominique Valadier is the man who purchases the majority of the food served at the school within a thirty mile radius of the school and then prepares it with little or no frozen ingredients.  All at the cost of about $3 per student.  If you want the full story you can check it out here.  Makes cafeteria food sound yummy!

So here is what I was wondering…why can’t we do the same kind of thing here.  I mean I’ve heard the odd story about our schools getting healthier and you hear about the ‘war on obesity’ all the time BUT I don’t see many changes in actual school lunches.  At the schools I’ve worked at the usual lunches were pizza, some variety of meat nuggets, fried this and that.  Yes, we started having salads but they consisted of iceburg lettuce a few slices of tomato and cucumber and cheese.  Uhm…not so nutritionally superior in my opinion.

Wouldn’t it be great if all public schools were required to follow health guidelines just as they are required to follow curriculum guidelines?  If the government is going to control the schools then dang it they could do something about the food while they were at it.  Or, and this is probably the solution I like better, they could privatize schools completely.  I’m pretty sure if parents were picking where their kids were going to school and had an influence in where their education dollars were going they’d be more vocal and more insistent in their cries for healthy food.

Do you think school lunchrooms should strive to make healthy food a priority?  Do you think the government should force public schools to serve healthy (and tasty, of course) food?  OR do you think the government should back off all the regulating and let the private sector take over?

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