back to school shopping

Economists estimate  that the average family will spend between $300-$400 on back to school items including clothing and supplies.  I am proud to report that we are no where near average.  We made a pilgrimage to Valu Thrift tonight in search of much needed clothing for our 3 teenaged boys.  Luckily only one of my children feels stigmatized by the fact that we shop primarily at thrift stores.  He thinks that it makes us appear poor.  Tonight Tom reinforced that we shop at thrift stores because the clothing and other items are perfectly good and the money saved allows us to do other things, (like go to Cancun without them.)

Our haul tonight included the following: 5 pair jeans, 5 long-sleeved button down shirts, 3 backpacks, 1 pr Nike tennis shoes, 2 pr dress pants for Tom, 2 dress shirts for Tom and 1pr of dress pants for me.  The total came to $133.  Not bad considering that most of the items purchased new would have retailed for a minimum of $25.

We have also gotten away with buying minimal school supplies.  I have learned that as the kids get into the upper grades they actually require less stuff.  Gone are the lists requiring 2 kinds of marker, glue sticks and crayons.  They are replaced by more practical items such as graph paper and composition books. These I can live with.

I contacted my son’s junior high today and confirmed my fear that he was not on their attendance list.  Someone at the placement center had dropped the ball.  What could have been a very unpleasant experience was made easy by the great customer service shown to me by the school secretary who took my call.  After hearing my long explanation she assured me that she would get everything figured out.  I arranged to come in at 11:30 and pick up the paperwork that I should have received in the mail.  By the time I got there, she had already talked with one of the school counselors to insure that Patrick’s registration paperwork was in their office and had looked up the bus schedule for me.

I had an opportunity to sit down with the counselor and review  Patrick’s schedule.  I left the school feeling increasingly confident regarding our decision to change Patrick’s school.  As it turns out I will likely be driving Patrick to school each morning to spare him what would be a 45 minute bus ride.  He would need to get on the bus stop by 7:10 for an 8:05 start time. I can’t see making him get up that early when it will work out for me to drive him.  I can’t do anything about the ride home, however, so he will need to make the best of it.

I am so excited for life to take the predictable turns that come with the start of a new school year.  I will actually be able to relax at work knowing that the house and children are all secure.  No more phone calls to report that Michael has taken the remote or E is using dad’s power tools.  When I return home from work, the house will be as I left it.

September is truly the most wonderful time of the year.


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