Back to School

With a deep sigh I realized that summer is coming to a close faster than I would like which means it will soon be back to school time from my oldest son and….myself.

The little guy is much easier out of the two of us as we got his school list which includes crayons, pencils, glue, paint shirt and of course some new clothes and shoes (the kid is growing like a bad weed).  As of today we got just about everything the kid needs for a mere $132.  A fraction of the average Canadian back to school spending that comes in at $319.

How do we keep the costs down?  Well here is what works for us:

  • Shop the deals.  For example Staples provided a lot of basic items like glue and pencils because of their sale prices.  Old Navy had a good sale that my wife got a lot of clothing for a steal and then Walmart rounded out some of the clothes and shoes.
  • Does it have to be new? Then we recycled several items from last year that were still fine like his pencil case and lunchbox.  For a paint shirt I dug into my shirts to find the one I liked the least and stuffed it in his backpack.  Look around your house and you might be surprised to find out what you already own.
  • Buy Quality for Some Items.  We made the mistake last year of getting a backpack that our son loved, but it was poorly made.  It only lasted a year unlike his first backpack which got several years of use because we bought better quality.

As for me I’m heading back to take some adult education classes to get a Professional Management Certificate from my local university.  You might wonder why I would bother to get more education when I plan on retiring early?  Well the classes are mostly business based which will provide some useful skills for my day job, my school board job and even my own business.  My philosophy in life is learning something new never kills you and often more helpful than I expect.

I haven’t even started my classes yet, but I’ve learned a few important things about my adult education so far:

  • Get it Free.   My day job is actually paying for me to take this certificate as they are looking for people to have more business skills in the company. Talk about a nice $4000 job perk!  If that isn’t possible check out this article on ways to pay for it.
  • Try to Get Paid Time Off.  Beyond the generous paying for the classes my work is also paying me my usual wage to attend.   So how is that for a nice touch to make you want to attend class: get paid to learn.
  • Giving Up Some Things.  Beyond the obvious purely financial support to attend these classes I also know I will have to give up some of my free time to study.  So that means less books to read and movies for entertainment for a while, but I think it will be worth it.

So how much have you spend on your kids for back to school spending?  Or would you bother taking some extra classes yourself?

3 thoughts on “Back to School”

  1. I might have to spend $5 this year. My son forgot the code for those combo locks. He’s responsible for finding the stuff he needs around the house. I always take courses whenever my employer reimburses.

  2. Since our kids are over 25 we don’t have to do the school thing anymore. Except now we have the grandkids that need things. As for me, I am taking a Tax Course. I likethe thought of working for 4 months and having the rest of the year off.

  3. I find it incredible that my employer (a school division) does not offer any financial backing for people that want to up their qualifications. You would think if there was one industry that would realize the power of this incentive it would be education! As a teacher, I usually buy about 1000 pencils and 3K sheets of loose leaf to begin the year since inevitable by the 2nd week I will have several students that will not bring anything to class. This minor expense to me will save me hours of potential headaches in the long run!

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