Can you hear the song in your ear? It's the most wonderful time of the year.... I have to say I'm a little mixed on this statement this year. It seems like the summer has absolutely flown by! It's also the first summer that I haven't had my sidekick constantly by my side. This first year of the teenage years has definitely been different. Hayden has been very busy ( all tons of fun things) so I feel like I haven't seen him much. On the flip side I have spent some great quality time with my husband which we haven't done in a long long time so that's been a nice treat.
The start of the school year for me is kind of like January. A fresh new start, new goals, new clothes, new new new. Not to mention that the cash goes out as fast as it comes in. Am I right!? However this year we are doing a few things to spread out the spending and keep things under control.
1. We don't need to buy new lunch kits. A long time ago we decided to try to be zero waste for school lunches. I took the plunge to purchase a Planetbox Lunch system for my son. Years later we bought the bigger version. These are fantastic! When Hayden isn't using it, I am, for outings and such. They are great to take to work as well as school, the compartments make them fun to fill with healthy snacks and treats. We love to see how colourful we can make it. Planet Boxes are metal and so they are indestructable. If you want to make it more fun, you can order the decorative magnets for the outside. They also offer a custom magnet option where you can download your pics and they print them out. And my most favourite part, they never smell, wash up great, we just love them!
2. We don't go crazy on back to school clothes shopping. We spread it out over the fall season. Usually September is still fairly warm here in BC so shorts are the preference. I'm not sure about you but my kid grows everyday it seems so buying pants in bulk would be a bad choice, because by the time he would wear them, he would have outgrown them for sure.
3. We didn't buy everything on the school supply list. The last few years I've only sent to school what I feel they need. I've kept the rest in a drawer in my spare room.(Which is full now! If you need graph paper, I've got lots!) That way things don't go missing in the bottom of the locker or back of the desk. Whenever they need a replacement or an additional thing I send it along. With this system as well as using whatever was leftover from the school year ie: pencil case, scissors, calculator etc We only had to spend a small fraction of the price to purchase what we needed. And I have to admit, even then, we only bought half of the list. Why oh why do I need to buy 4 glue sticks in September!! Lol.
Getting back to the school schedule is definitely the worst part for me. Getting up early and trying to get Hayden to bed at a reasonable hour is a challenge. So the week before school we've been working on getting to bed at least by the regular time so the first week isn't such a shock to the system.
We've also started lunch planning, so when I do groceries the first week of school I can pick up things that he likes. Hayden has been making his own lunch since grade 3, we make a food list. We break it down into 3 categories (that's how many compartments are in his Planet Box) Mains, Veggie/Fruit, Treat. Hayden has to pick one from each category. Now, the compartments are big enough to mix and match, plus we have an extra container that I purchased to add to the the lunch box. Its a great way to come up with creative ideas that they can put together. Also I've found that if they have a hand in deciding and making their lunch they tend to eat more of it.
Meal planning at our house is a life saver as well as a money saver. This helps so much especially in September when the schedule ramps up again. With sports, school, work and anything extra that pops up, taking the question of what's for dinner out of the day really truly helps! Plus its always nice to have all the ingredients on hand so you're not scrambling. One secret thing I've started doing is ordering my groceries online. Sometimes I pick up, sometimes I have them delivered. This is huge for me because I am quite OCD about my groceries, but I've had really good luck with it so far with the exception of one time and they were quick to reimburse me for my troubles. I've also found that with this method I save a ton on my grocery bill because I'm not trying to remember if I have something or picking up something because I'm hungry and it looks good. People, we can't do it all, its ok to use the services to get things done.
As we embark on September and the beginning of another school year remember in all the chaos to stop and enjoy it. Before we know it we will be getting ready for summer adventures again!