Thrifty is the New Green for Back to School Supplies

evelynishere-school supplies

Some call me frugal. Others would call me cheap. I prefer the term, practical and thrifty. Take for example buying school supplies. I can’t conceive of buying all brand new school supplies when my cabinets could double as my own Staples stores. Every time you go to buy supplies, they come in packages. If your child needs only one or two of a certain item, what do you do with the rest? You store it somewhere.

How many of you have on your child’s list, a 200 page composition or spiral notebook? Think back to the end of the year. Did your child remotely finish that book or notebook? From my experience, perhaps my kids have finished 1/2 or a 1/3rd of the book. Generally, they are always in good shape with a little bent corner here and there.

So here are some of the ways I “shop” in my drawers:

  • Re-purpose Half Used Composition/Spirals:   I rip out the used pages, and recycle the pages. I then clean up the raw edges, and wa la, someone in the family can reuse the notebook for another year. I just put a new sticker on the front if it is someone else’s binder. My kids don’t care.
  • Create new crayon boxes from assorted lonesome crayons.  Who need to buy new crayons or colored pencils?  I bet if you were to gather all the colored pencils and crayons you have, you would realize you have a pack or two of each!
  • Combine Glues.  How many half empty bottle of glues do you have?  Combine them into one.
  • Pens and Pencils.  This should be a no brainer.  I must have drawers and drawers of pencils and pens.  Unless, the list dictates a specific type of pen or pencil, the kiddos get what is in the drawers.
  • Reusing dividers and folders.  I must confess. I do buy plastic folders and dividers.  They hold up year after year so I am not buying more school supplies.
  • Reusing old binders:  If the binder is in good shape, I reuse it.  Ordinarily, I buy cardboard notebooks that I recycle at the end of each year.

So, how have you been able to be thrifty in buying school supplies?

Photo courtesy of evelynishere

This post is part of the Green Moms’ back to school carnival held at Mindful Momma. Check out the other Green Mamas’ going back to school green tips.

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  1. 2


    Being an adult without kids I don’t really have to worry about this yet but I do think back to school time is a great way to frugally purchase office products for the year. I work from home and while I get reimbursed for the office products I use I don’t want to use that as license to be wasteful. The best deals on office products can be found at back to school time and you can stock up for a whole year.

    As for pens I try to avoid picking them up anymore. When we moved I probably found 20 pens that had collected in junk drawers around the house and most had never been used. I kept a couple and strategically placed them around the house but eventually I want to purchase a refillable ink pen to get out most of the plastic waste.

    N.s last blog post..Exploring Center City

  2. 3


    I have kids yet, so I have nothing to worry school openings and buying all those school stuffs.

    For pens, glad I didn’t pick any yet, hopefully I could get as my souvenir. just kidding! 😉

  3. 4


    We buy just what we need. Here in our place you can buy school supplies by piece… So when my daughter finishes off her crayons or her paper, we will just buy a new one…

  4. 5

    Stef says

    As a college student, it’s sometimes hard to reuse notebooks since some professors are really anal about things; how many pages, graph paper, etc. However, this year I decided to just reuse my notebook from my last term. Same prof, same-ish subject, same notebook. I’ve been using the same 12 pack of pencils since I started school 3 years ago – no need for new ones.

    And even I have crayons and colored pencils leftover from my elementary school days; and I’m 22. LOL.

  5. 7


    We have a supplies stand set up near our family room. Before the kids head to the store, they need to check the stand to see if we already have what they want to buy. The stand has lots of shelves: one for construction paper, one for pens and pencils, one for notebook paper, etc. It’s very easy for them to find what they need just by scanning the stand.


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