Back to School on a Dime

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Send the kids back to school – can it be done in a frugal and sustainable fashion?

What I’ve been wondering is how to send them back to school inexpensively but also sustainably; I do not want to spend a fortune but I also do not want to buy cheap items that aren’t sustainable. I’ve been researching stainless steel lunch container options and they are sustainable and adorable.

They don’t feel frugal considering the price compared to plastic, but this is one of those times spending a little more money upfront and only spending it once as opposed to every single year is probably more responsible. I just HATE spending a lot of money on stuff.

Last year I threw my daughter’s backpack away. It wasn’t in good shape and it looked disgusting. Yes, it probably could’ve been salvaged, and yes I feel a little guilty about being so wasteful. I donated her lunch bag and plastic sandwich boxes. We are tired of plastic and she’d outgrown Paw Patrol phase. I feel good about donating things we don’t use. I don’t feel so good about throwing something away, but it looked a little too nasty for goodwill.

First Grade – Frugal and Sustainable

This year my daughter goes to first grade. We are fortunate to live in a district that only requires a $35 supply fee and they provide everything in the classroom. All we have to buy is a backpack and lunch gear (if they aren’t eating cafeteria food). I’m thinking this is a great opportunity to be a little more sustainable in our choices. We are already making the switch to stainless steel at home, so why not continue? I’m still cheap!

We chose to steer her toward more quality options and use them longer. We got also got a little more creative this year with her lunch bag. Our first stop was Academy since they have great prices on kids footwear and last year we got an inexpensive backpack that fit a kindergartener more than the options we found at Target. Since this is the tax-free weekend in Arkansas and we waited for Daddy to get off work before shopping this afternoon the selection was pretty limited.

What We Bought

We quickly settled on quality over price since the price point I was after was gone anyway. We got her this Jansport half pint backpack with a lifetime warranty for $29.99 (if you click the link you’ll see it is $5 less online) and a pair of BCG Prestige running shoes. Total spent was $54.98. I will launder the backpack when needed and she can use it again next year.

frugal and sustainable

Our next stop was Duluth Trading, which is not a kids store, but they were participating in the tax-free weekend and my husband gets a 40% discount. Our daughter had her heart set on a pencil bag and we wanted a better quality bag for lunches.

The Kavu lunch totes are excellent quality but were a little large for her. She also had her heart set on purple, so we found this canvas zip-top bag just the right size for a sandwich box, snack item, and kid’s water bottle. She also wanted a pencil bag so daddy directed her to this zippered pouch called a parts bag.

The purple bag will be perfect for when school is out for her to carry a tablet and headphones, note pad, pencils, or other items. Our total price with employee discount was $23.78.

frugal and sustainable

Since the bag is on the smaller side I settled on these stainless steel sandwich boxes on Amazon for $11.99 each. I found less expensive ones, but the reviews were not great.

Our total amount spent was $102.74 and everything we bought will be used past this school year. I don’t think we did too bad on the frugal or sustainable fronts. It also fits my budget quite nicely. Tell me how your back to school shopping is going. I’d love to hear your frugal and sustainable shopping hacks!

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One thought on “Back to School on a Dime

  1. Anonymous says:

    Note from Cassie – We got the sandwich boxes in and they are perfect! Durable, great size, and she can open them. I have moved them to the Recommended Items list on my Linktr.ee as well.

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