Originally published July 31, 2015
Is it just me or does anyone else have a hard time resisting a box of new Crayola crayons for 25 cents this time of year? Or how about a package of markers for just a little bit more. Then there’s glue and scissors and notebooks, oh my!
In July, August, and September, the deals on school supplies abound! I’ve been shopping school supply sales since long before I had kids in school (and after I was out of school myself). I have my school supply stash all in its own special box. That helps me keep it under control and also makes it easy to know exactly where to find what we need.
Here are 5 reasons that I like to stock up on school supplies.
1- Make Art Kits– A Fantastic Frugal Kid Gift
I love putting together little art kits for kids. When one of my little ones goes to a birthday party and I don’t have time to make something handmade (like a skirt, t-shirt, apron, etc) or grab something at the store, then we often put together an art kit for the birthday girl or boy. Sure, there are some kids out there who don’t like to get creative and crafty with art supplies, but most kids do. It’s fun and inexpensive to put together an art kit and it’s always well-received (at least for ages 3 to 7 it’s been a hit).
Container— During back-to-school season, you can find pencil boxes for a dollar or less. You can also find the plastic “shoe box” size containers with lids with all the other sizes of plastic bins and they are generally a dollar as well.
Art Supplies— Of course the sky is the limit here. Some of the things we put it are:
- Colored Pencils
- Glue or glue stick
- Scissors (if the recipient is old enough to use them responsibly)
By stocking up on the supplies during back-to-school sales, I not only get rock bottom prices, but I also have everything on hand to put together a gift. That’s a major bonus when you’re an hour away from Target and you get a last minute birthday invitation!
2- Road Trip Entertainment
I don’t know about you, but I love new crayons. There’s something special about a new, sharpened crayon that just entices me to take a break and crack open a coloring book. My kids feel the same way. A box of new crayons is magical. Before a long road trip, I pull out a new box of crayons for each child from my stash. I bring along a new coloring book or tablet of plain paper as well. The crayons won’t be in their beautiful pristine condition for long, but I don’t mind when they only cost me a quarter or two.
For older kids, a blank composition book and a new pen is exciting. They can keep a journal, take notes, write stories, or just doodle. With the digital age that we live in, I think it’s nice to pull out some honest-to-goodness paper every once in a while so our kids don’t forget what it is!
3- To Create Other Gifts
There are lots of creative tutorials out there to show you how to make some pretty awesome handmade gifts. Many years ago, I made my kids and my nieces and nephews crayon rolls to put in their “quiet bags” for church. I’ve seen some neat marker holders that hold a sketch pad as well.
Another time, I made my kids their own journals by decorating the front of a composition book for them. They loved having their own personalized journals where they can write (or dictate) the things that are important to them. It cost me 50 cents, plus a little time and love.
If you really want to have fun, search “melted crayons” on Pinterest and see all the creative melted crayon art that people have done. You’ll want to have some extra packages of new crayons on hand, for when the artistic mood strikes!
4- As Backup
Some things just have a way of disappearing around here. Maybe it happens at your house too. The most susceptible seem to be socks, hair elastics, and writing implements. Some days I write phone messages in crayon for want of a pen. The funny thing is that when it’s time to do homework all we can find is pens and not a single pencil. Always having some extras on hand has been helpful.
5- To Donate
Whether it’s putting together humanitarian aid kits for needy children on the other side of the world or donating to my child’s teacher, there are lots of opportunities to give school supplies to those who need them. Halfway through the school year, my son’s kindergarten teacher sent home a note saying that the class was running low on glue sticks and wondered if any parents could donate some. Thanks to my school supply stash, I could easily send some in the next day.
Some stores have collection boxes at the store where you can give supplies to needy children. There are local programs that put together backpacks with school supplies for needy children. When opportunities like this come up, I’m always happy that I have my school supply stash available.
How About You?
- Do you stock up on cheap school supplies?
- What do you do with your school supply stash?
- Does anyone else have a thing for fresh, new, sharpened crayons?