Do a good thing and send your kids back to school in Thrifty and Green style with these 7 tips for an eco-successful school year.
Make A Back To School Lists
Ever noticed that the most efficient people you know are devoted list users? Lists keep us focused and minimize impulse and accidental buying. Make your list comprehensive by going beyond the school’s requirements and taking stock of clothes, shoes and other items. Lists should be as precise as possible and include who the item is for, the quantity needed and, where relevant, the brand desired. Finally, allow each child one ‘gimme’ – an item that’s more of a want than a need. Put it on the list and stick to the list.
Fair Doesn’t Mean Identical
Parents with more than one school aged child often fall into the “everything equal” trap. If she gets new shoes, then so does he, and so on. This quickly results in overbuying. Instead adopt a “buy-only-what-we-need” principle and emphasize that each child has unique needs and that while their shopping baskets may not be identical, their needs are being equally met. While the initial kid-protest might off putting, most kids come around quickly when the change is explained in terms environmental responsibility. If a little extra incentive is needed, try a money-saving reward by pooling the cash saved on skipped unnecessary purchases and splurging on a bit of family fun. You’ll all come out ahead.
Find Green Back To School Alternatives
There are an abundance of resources out there to help parents choose non-toxic school supplies produced by companies with green track records . We’ve listed some of our favorites products and created this quick guide to decipher what makes some supplies greener than others. Want to know more – google it! And whatever you choose, put it on the list!
Shop Back To School Online
One of the greatest challenges in years past has been sourcing green supplies without hitting every store in town. The prevalence of online shopping has fixed this. With a little advanced planning, nearly all your new school supplies can be sourced from independent retailers and delivered to your door! To maximize savings when shopping online, pay close attention to minimum purchases for free shipping (consider pooling orders with neighbors to meet minimums) and always look for promo codes. We've made it easy with two options: our currated Growing Up Green Back to School Store and a promo code (growingupgreen) to favorite online retailer, Raspberry Kids.
Second Hand Back To School Goodness
Thrift store shopping is a surprisingly efficient, and reliably thrifty, source of back to school goodness. Mixing great second hand finds with quality brand name buys outfits kids with a fresh wardrobe at a fraction the price. And by buying some items used, you free up the resources needed to invest in quality when buying new. Larger second hand stores often stock items beside clothing, so see if you can’t knock a few other items off the list by buying second hand as well.
In typical parent fashion, we've saved the best for last. An upfront investment in a waste-free lunch box and stainless steel water bottle will save you the cost of plastic wrap, bags, Tupperware, juice boxes and other packing aids throughout the year, resulting in about $400 in savings over the course of 3 years, per child. Honestly. We did the math! The decision to go waste-free is therefore not only the green thing to do it’s also the thrifty thing to do.
Invest in a Green School Year
Thrifty doesn’t always mean cheap. Buying the best quality that your budget allows reduces the likelihood of items needing to be replaced throughout the school year, or even in future years.