Which School Supplies Do You Really Need?
I have been hearing everywhere about how to save on school supplies and reading about how expensive everything is. Sometimes we concentrate so hard on how to buy things for less that we forget to ask ourselves if we really have to buy the things at all, which would save us even more in so many ways.
We still haven’t hit really hard economic times if we are discussing whether to buy a backpack with rollers or without. When times were really hard, I couldn’t have bought a backpack period. I know it may be hard to believe but you really can get an education without a backpack. I went through all my years of school and never owned a backpack.
Please don’t tell me that times are different and kids have it harder or that they have more to carry now. I had 8 classes at one point and had to carry most of my books, pencils, paper, notebooks and other supplies all day long and I did not die. I even had to carry my books and school supplies to the bus stop or I had to carry them while walking all the way to school, unlike most kids today, whose moms drop them off at the school door.
Take those school lists they give you and find out what the kids really have to have and don’t buy the rest. If the people in the school office automatically say they need everything, then try to find out from the teacher or principal. I know this is a pain but if things are really that bad for you financially you may have to do some of these things that are a "pain".
We are like a bunch of sheep being led to the slaughter. We get our lists and blindly walk up and down the aisles of the store buying what we can’t afford and thinking there is nothing we can do about it. I couldn’t just charge things and since I had to choose between heat, food or school supplies, I had no choice but to find out what was the least I could manage to buy.
I do know there are some things that kids really can’t do without, but things like backpacks or even lunch boxes aren’t absolutely critical. I know that some teachers have things they say you must have but at least ask if they really need everything instead of blindly buying everything.
For years, I have asked, "Why does everyone buy new school clothes for their kids" and have found that most people buy new clothes because that is what everyone else does, because that has always been the way to do it or, best of all, because "they" say you should do it.
The whole point is to start asking yourself why you buy these things and ask if they’re really necessary. In so many areas of our lives we are so used to doing things a certain way that we don’t even stop to think "Do I need to buy this?" Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions.
I learned this years ago. I went to the dentist and had to pay for it myself. He immediately started ordering about 4 different x-rays and a host of other tests. I looked at him and said, "I have no insurance and very little money… What is the very least I can get by with? Do you really need all these x-rays for this one cavity?" He ended up not taking any x-rays at all.
I understand the reasons why dentists take x-rays and teachers request school supplies so please don’t e-mail me about that. Instead, try to focus on the point I am trying to make: I asked "Why?" about something I had previously thought I just had to do and because I got up the courage to question it, I saved a lot of money.
photo by: jonathangarcia