Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Back To School Tips For Single Parents

Being a single parent is one of the most difficult things a person can ever do. It's not a job, it's our way of life. We chose not to walk away from our kids, unlike the other absent parent. We chose to be responsible adults and raise the children that we made.

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Unfortunately, most single parents struggle financially because we don't get much, if any help at all from the other parent. Everything sits on our shoulders and we are the ones left to make sure that things get done regardless of how they get done. We have to figure it all out while the other parent does nothing.

Back to school time can be a difficult time for many parents, especially single parents, and even more so if you have multiple children. I've been raising my 3 kids (now teenagers) on my own for the last 5 years and this time of year is always a stressful time because it takes A LOT of money.

That being said, I've come up with some advice and tips on how to get through this financially stressful time of the year.

Help With Back To School Finances

Do They Need New Clothes?
Since becoming a parent, I've often wondered, why do parents feel the need to have to stock up on brand new clothes at the beginning of the school year?? My mom did it for me, but why? If your kids have perfectly good clothes to get through the next few months, why do they need new? My kids will be wearing shorts and t-shirts for the first month or two of school, so why do I need to run out and buy new before school starts? What's the reasoning? Plus, kids grow so quickly, why not wait until they actually need them? Save some money by only buying what they really need. If they don't need new clothing immediately, don't stress yourself out trying to figure out how to come up with hundreds of dollars for new clothes. If they only need a couple pairs of jeans, just buy them a couple pairs of jeans. There's no reason to buy a whole new wardrobe before the first day of school!

Re-use Supplies
My kids came home on the last day of school with notebooks that only had 2 pages used out of them, and markers that they only used once or twice. They still look new. Why not use them this year, too? Not everything HAS to be new, and why waste good supplies? Re-use supplies where you can. Every dollar you can save will add up to bigger savings. If the kids don't like it, tell them to buy their own! Who else is going to know that they aren't brand spanking new?

Don't Be Afraid Of Dollar Stores
Don't be afraid to shop for school supplies at the dollar stores, just make sure that you are getting a good deal. For instance, Dollar Tree has notebooks for $1, but Walmart has them for 50 cents. Watch the prices, but don't be afraid to shop at the dollar stores. Their pencils most likely work just as good as Target's pencils do and some of their items are really cute!

Take Advantage of Sales
Watch the sale ads and take advantage of really good sales. Save money wherever you can even if it means shopping at multiple stores. Get the best bang for your buck.
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Stock Up
If you have the financial capabilities, stock up on extra supplies while they are on sale. If your child runs out of something later in the year, you will most likely have to pay double the price. Why not buy some extra pencils and notebooks to keep on hand? You will be thankful that you did when your child needs them in 4 months!

Ask For Help
If you find yourself in a very tight bind, do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not risk having your electric shut off because you have to choose between buying school supplies or paying the electric bill. There are places that can help! Call your local job and family services and local churches and they can guide you. Don't feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask. These situations are what these programs are designed for: to help when help is needed.

Back to school time is stressful for everyone involved. It's stressful for the child because they are starting a new year with a new teacher and new classes, it's stressful for the teachers having to make sure everything is ready, and it's definitely stressful for us parents needing to ensure that our children have everything they need to have a successful new school year. Hopefully, these tips can help make it a little easier for you.

Oh, and one more thing.

Teach Your Kids Not To Steal Supplies

Seriously. I shouldn't have to be saying this, but please talk to your kids about not taking other kids' school supplies! I can't tell you how many times my kids have told me that they got up from their desk to go to the bathroom or do something else and come back to find someone stole their pencils or pens. Or another child asks to borrow a pencil because they forgot theirs in their locker, and then that kid keeps it and refuses to give it back. Your kids are just making it more difficult for ME because that means my child runs out of their supplies causing me to have to purchase more. If your kids desperately needs something, tell them to ask the teacher, not to just steal supplies from other kids. That should be common sense to teach your child not to steal, but obviously, it isn't to some.

With that being said, let's hope all of us single parents make it through the back to school stress and our kids have a wonderful new school year. Mine go back on August 22, when do yours go back? 

Any other tips you have to share? Leave them in the comments!

Single Moms Rock! How To Survive and Thrive as a Single Mom.


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