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How One Family Saved $4,000 In School Expenses

By Monica Bielanko |

Stock up on supplies in the middle of the year

When I was little my mom used to dread shopping for school clothes.  Now I understand why.  It wasn’t the actual process of shopping, it was how much money would be spent keeping four elementary-children in clothes.

School clothes are just one of dozens of expenses parents are required to pay.  Even if your kid is in public school, it all adds up.

But the Krech family put their noses to the grindstone and was able to save around $4,000 in just one year.  Now, college student Rachel Krech is documenting how they did it:

Avoid the bookstore

High-school and college bookstores aren’t the only place your high schooler or college student can purchase books.  Did you know Amazon, BookRenter.com, Buy.com and AbeBooks.com sell many of the same books for sometimes just a quarter of the price.  Ask your school for a book list with the ISBN numbers to make your internet search easier.

Pack lunches

Going to the grocery store and buying your own items for lunch, including sandwich ingredients, fruit, chips, and bottled juice is much cheaper than if your child bought the same thing at school.

Carpool and school buses

Driving the kids to school each morning can be a huge pain and drain on gas.  You can spend as much as $10 a week just on the gas to get your kids to and from school.   By setting up a carpool with friends a couple days a week and taking the school bus the rest of the time your family will save a lot of gas and you’ll save some time in the morning.

Stock up on supplies

These days school’s are requiring children to bring a lot of supplies.  I’ve even heard from a couple parents that their elementary-age children are required to have iPads!  Instead of buying only what your student needs at the beginning of the year, wait until back-to-school shopping is over and then stock up.  Stores have those school supply items at full-price in the beginning of the year.  So wait and buy more supplies during sales, which are generally during off months for schools. Use coupons and remember to reuse supplies year to year, like binders and scissors.

Private tutoring

It can be hard to see your child struggle with schoolwork.  That’s why parents often shell out hundreds a month for a private tutor.  However, many schools offer their own free tutoring options.  Check with your child’s school about tutoring programs they might offer.

You may not save thousands, but if you stick with these tips you’ll definitely notice a difference. Do you have any other tips for saving during the school year? What does your family spend the most on when it comes to schooling?

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About Monica Bielanko

monica-bielanko

Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “How One Family Saved $4,000 In School Expenses

  1. Mbaker says:

    Team up with other families to buy school supplies such as computer paper, pens etc. at warehouse clubs and split the packages. I used to do that in college with friends since we needed a lot of computer paper but didn’t have a place to store an entire box in our dorm rooms.

  2. goddess says:

    Unless you go to school in Chicago where you are not permitted to pack a lunch and MUST buy the school-provided drec.

  3. Dave Reeves says:

    Renting textbooks is probably the biggest saving possible, my daughter used http://www.collegebookrenter.com

  4. Wing0125 says:

    I take issue to not being able to bring your own lunch. If I were in Chicago, it would be a definite argument for home schooling! Yuck!

  5. Stepford-Wife says:

    Many (if not all) of the school districts in California require a hefty payment in order for kids to ride the school bus. A school year bus pass for the local high school costs almost $300! Not to mention only a fraction of the students are even on available routes. Even with the outrageous gas prices, carpooling is still cheaper than the bus.

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