It’s bad enough that my girls burn through shoes like they are going out of style, but the schools certainly aren’t helping matters.
Let me back up for a minute to paint a picture of the shoes in our closets. Some shoes on the rack are soon destined for the yard sale with little wear. Those are usually seasonal items that can only be worn a handful of times because the girls outgrow them before the next season. I’m sad that we don’t always get full use of them, but that’s the nature of living in a part of the country that has seasons. At least I know they will find a good home via my yard sale or donation to the thrift store. Many other shoes on the rack end up being worn so much that they fall apart. That’s what happens after lots and lots of hours of running, playing and normal kid wear and tear. Those shoes may look beat-up and pathetic, but I love that the kids used every single penny that I spent on them. Then there is that one token pair of shoes in the corner that looks like it hasn’t been worn. Not because of the seasons. Not because we outgrew them. Not even because the kids didn’t like them. It is the pair the school requires the kids put in their locker and only touch when they have gym class. That’s the pair of shoes I hate the most.
I understand the need for having a pair of shoes on hand for physical education class. I also can appreciate the fact that those same gym shoes need to be clean-soled to help maintain the integrity of the gym floor. By the time the kids finish the school year, they have outgrown those shoes and barely put any mileage on them.
High-end, specialty shoes can run a lot of money. In a time when so many families are struggling to put ONE pair of shoes on their children’s feet, how can we ask them to set aside another pair that are only accessible a few days a week ONLY at school. Our solution? Find shoes that provide the quality needed for the fitness activities they will be participating in then find them at a price puts a little less strain on the budget. The Champion Gusto shoes from Payless ShoeSource fit the requirements and are even better when there is a promotion running!
The best way to get more bang for your back-to-school buck is watch for store sales and promotions and find out if your state offers a “tax-free” day to save even more. Be sure to check the rules for your specific state. As a resident of Iowa, the list shows that only “clothing” is covered. However if you go directly to the state details, you will notice “Clothing” is defined as any article of wearing apparel and typical footwear intended to be worn on or about the human body. Footwear. There you go. If the school is going to make you purchase another pair of shoes, at least think about these opportunities to save.
While you’re at it, you might as well pick up some fashion shoes for non-gym, normal wear. My daughter can’t wait to show off her American Eagle ballet flats. They are adorable and can go from casual to dressy depending on what she pairs them with. Purchasing pairs of shoes that can do double-duty is another way to stretch the budget.
Of course, every student needs something to tote school supplies and homework. This cute American Eagle backpack is going to be put to good use as well. As someone who has a daughter that is a self-proclaimed fashionista, having a stylish backpack is important. As a self-proclaimed cheapskate, I’m thrilled to find something affordable! One thing we plan to do this year is have two different backpacks that we rotate every few weeks. History has proven that notes, missing homework and mounds of other things get lost in the bottom like socks in the dryer. We used this alternate backpack method with Miss K last year when her main backpack was tearing form the weight of all the stuff she had been compiling. Having an additional backpack will help both the girls stay more organized sans the impression that I’m invading their privacy as I search for notes from the school.
With kids outgrowing shoes faster than we can wear them, finding ones that fit into the budget is always the best place to start. Plan ahead to make the most of your back to school dollars. Keep an eye on the Payless ShoeSource social channels (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) to find the latest styles and promotions then take advantage of any local or state tax incentives available. Hopefully it will help you be less stressed when you are reminded the list is more than notebooks, glue and crayons.
What are your tricks for saving money on back-to-school supplies?