• Lesli Crow

Mommin' On a Budget

Ah, the end of Summer is upon us. The middle of August rolls around and now your paycheck is going to school supplies, new shoes, designer clothes, and all the things your kids friends have that they MUST have too.

As kids we don't realize how expensive things get and how quickly it adds up. We just see something we want and beg our parents to get it not thinking of the price tag.

Zo is still kinda too young to realize where money comes from and Trae is just now figuring out that I get a paycheck every 2 weeks that has to cover ALL of our life expenses. Not just McDonald's and Chick-Fil-A.

I've always been a coupon mom. Now... I'm not one of those that has a coupon book and holds up the line at Walmart. But if I have a coupon for an extra percent off ON TOP of an already bad ass sale... yeah that's me.

This past weekend I decided to to fight the crowds and take Trae school shopping. Fortunately/unfortunately it just happened to be Tax Free Weekend. I mainly went because I had just gotten paid and he starts school on August 21st. (Procrastination at it's finest.)

While we're standing in Staples I over hear a little boy asking his mom for a particular (which I'm assuming was an expensive and fancier) notebook. Her response was the same exact response I've had every time I take Trae shopping. She told him "Why do we need the more expensive one? Let's look for something cheaper."

Hearing her response I kinda giggled on the inside because Trae gets so mad when I say that. I've even hit him with the "Oh, do you have some money to contribute for that?" He never does.

But this woman was right. Why can't they have the off brand item that does the SAME EXACT THING that the more expensive item does? It's just a brand. If it gives you the same result, then sorry son, you're getting an off brand notebook.

These school supply lists have gotten so detailed that you're almost questioning yourself if the ones you want to buy will even be accepted. If I can't find ½’ x 450” Scotch Transparent Tape will ½’ x 750” Scotch Transparent Tape work!? I thought tape was tape.

It's hard to save money when you're in a one income household. I speak for myself and myself only. I've got a good job that pays well and we don't live beyond our means. But sometimes I just get tired of swiping my debit card.

I got lucky when we were out shopping because Trae is on an Adidas kick. This year he wants Adidas shoes, socks, backpacks, shirts, keychains, underwear. He wants to be decked the hell out in Adidas. Okay underwear is exaggerating but you get the point.

Anyway, Famous Footwear was having their wonderful BOGO 1/2 off sale. I freakin love sales like that. So for his backpack, a pair of shoes, 2 packages of socks (each package was 6 pairs) I paid $90.50. On top of that sale I had a coupon for 15% off my entire purchase. And yes, everything was Adidas.

I got even luckier with Zo because he still loves Spider-Man, The Ninja Turtles, and all the kiddie stuff that my almost 13 year old is just too cool for.

Since he lives with Alphonso, I give him all the props for taking care of his school clothes shopping and 95% of his supplies were purchased by Mommy Dearest.

This year I was put onto Walmart's Savings Catcher. Anytime I purchase something from the W, I scan my receipt and they compare prices to other retailers. If another store has it cheaper, I get money back.

I had five dollars and some change in my Walmart account. Zo picked his own sweet Ninja Turtles backpack that ended up costing me only $4.80. Freakin' WINNING.

Now, I'm not gonna tell you the exact dollar amount that I saved on these two shopping trips only because I don't remember and I hate math. BUT... what I will tell you are just a few tips that have helped me save some sweet moolah.

1. Subscribe to retail email lists that you shop at the most. This is where you get all the coupons that let you take an extra percent off your entire purchase. Or that will notify you of special sales so you can budget your paycheck accordingly.

2.The Dollar Tree IS YOUR FRIEND. Enough said.

3. Stick to the list. Always. Trae has a bad habit of somehow always needing something that the teachers didn't ask for but he specifically remembers that his friends had one so he needs it too. Obvi.

I can't say that this will save you hundreds of dollars but every little bit counts. Even more so when you have a lot of kids (like myself) and all those kids need all the things.

After all the school shopping is done and you can balance your checkbook a little bit.... it's time to send their expensive little asses back to school. No more staying up all night, sleeping all day, and running the streets with their friends while you're busy slaving away at a 9-5 trying not to go postal on your coworker in the cubicle next to you.

Back to school month will be full of tears, first day pictures, and meeting teachers that you'll low key not like but have to like because your kid likes them. Enjoy the time now because guess what - before you know it they'll be buying their own supplies for college and you won't have to worry about anymore lists.

Happy happy joy joy!