Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The ranting and raving of a frugal mom

Anyone who knows me knows what a 'Hollander' I am when it comes to shopping.
Clearance racks are scoped out and assessed before I pay full price for anything.
I have a bazzillion online subscriptions to find coupons for just about anything, and the Sunday paper is my best buddy.

I am the person who gets called / asked when someone wants to find something for a cheap price. ( something that I am quite proud of, thankyouverymuch! )

With this in mind, I started school supply shopping, list in hand, ages ago. As the sales began in the early part of the summer, I snapped up things as I found them, all the while offering a silent 'thank you' to Cara for organizing the supply list back in May so that families would have all summer to shop and prepare ( precisely why I dubbed her the Office Goddess and why I don't mind making treasures for her).

Crayons, markers, pencils, backpacks... all standard stuff that I can generally assemble for under $10 per kid.

Jennah's classroom supply list nearly sent me into a bout of apoplectic shock.

Thrift guru that I am, I will include the item and next to it, in parentheses, what I paid for said item. I couldn't have possibly done it for much cheaper...

- Backpack without wheels ( $1.99 thanks to a Kellogg promotion and 40% off sale at Meijer )
- pencils w/erasers ( box of 12 for .99 - covered all 3 kids w/some to spare )
- pencil box ( has to be uber large for all the crap she'll be holding.. $2.92. I swore over that expense )
- hand held pencil sharperner w/built in compartment ( ergo friendly one at Office Max for .79 )
- 24 pkg crayons ( .05 last year at Office Depot - I stocked up! )
- colored pencils, 24 ct. ( another sore spot. the 12 ct. boxes are .22 - .35 apiece but I had to but the 24 ct. at Hobby Lobby because they had them for the cheapest price that I found. Thank heaven for the 40% coupon! Got 'em for $2.50 after the cpn savings )
- scissors ( reused last year's pair. Hoarded those suckers away for the occasion )
- 3 70 ct. spiral notebooks - one blue, one green and one yellow ( .05 each )
- 2 two pocket folders ( .01 each )
- 2 two pocket folders w/prongs ( .25 each )
- black marble composition book ( .99 )
- 6 glue sticks ( .22 per 2 pk so .66 ) and one liquid glue ( also .22 )
- 6 pkg of white / lined index cards ( $1.42 ea. - $8.52 for all )
- post it notes ( 3x3 ) 4 pads ( .88 at Big Lots )
- post it notes 4x5, 2 pkgs ( these ess oh bee's are EXPENSIVE! I found some on clearance for $1.59 at Meijer and there were four pads in the pack versus the usual two so I got off easy )
- 1 black 3 ring binder w/clear view cover, 1" bind ( $2.00 was the cheapest I found 'em, and boy did I hunt! )
- 1 black 3 ring binder w/lear view cover, 1 1/2" bind ( $2.47. The stores just don't put the clear view covers on sale... no clear view could've been found for .50 each )
- 2 boxes of facial tissue ( bought a 3 pk for $3.47,so $2.31 on the breakdown )
- 3 boxes zipper lock bags , 1 box quart size and two boxes snack size ( $3.00 - yay Dollar Tree! )
- 1 paper grocery bag ( a freebie obviously )

Three things come to mind:

1. Why the hell is the list so long?? It's got to more to it than the K-2 and 4th grades COMBINED.
Apparently the 3rd grade teacher doesn't like to pay for ANYTHING out of pocket, in spite of reimbursability via the PTSA or tax deductions.

2. I spent less than $5 apiece on the boys, including the backpacks ( gotta love that Kellogg deal! cheap gear and cheap cereal, though we won't need to buy any again for probably two months... ). Jennah's stuff, after tax was $33.36.

3. All I think of is how much I could have spent if I didn't faithfully peruse ads and watch for stuff all summer long, making sure to pick things up when we were already going out, so as to not add additional gas expenses into the damage bill. That list could've easily cost me close to three times as much. ( I'm not counting the $30 in Kellogg products I bought over the three kids because it was all stuff we'd have bought anyhow... just double the cereal in one trip )

Then factoring the $5.00 for the mandatory school planner and the endless field trip fees, camping expenses, fundraisersm PTSA dues... here comes that headache again.

My checkbook would be much happier if I just sent my kids to the low rent school right around the corner. They'd all go five days a week all day ( save Wednesdays which for some cockamamie reason is a half day ) and I could just lay low and participate as much as I saw fit.

But I won't do to my kids what my family did to me. If we have the opportunity to send
our children to one of the five highest scoring schools in the state of Michigan ( suck on that
Forest Hills, Rockford, Comstock Park and Kenowa Hills! Proof that GRPS IS capable of producing exceptional students and well rounded, gifted children ), I'll pay for the extras and do all of the extra stuff, even if it does wear me out.

But damn! I wish that the beginning of the school year wasn't so expensive.

At least we will have a two year reprieve before I get Mr. Noel again... and then pay for that stuff twice over all at once ( UGH!! ).

Maybe I should start buying now... *insert almost sarcasm here*

For now, I will take the last of the school supply purchases upstairs and run one final inventory to make sure that nothing was missed.

I hope that as my children get older, they appreciate the work that we're going through to give them a quality education... right now a certain princess needs to be knocked down a rung or two and realize that what she has and does is a privilidge when compared to the alternative.

*sigh* Whaddya do....