Going green is good for the planet and your wallet (usually) – especially during back-to-school time. Here are some green and thrifty tips for picking up green school supplies…
Less is more:
- Less is always more when it comes to green living. It works for school supplies too. Only buy what your child’s school says they need. Most schools put out lists of necessary supplies which narrows down your list.
- Go through your old supplies before you buy. Got a million pencils and packs of recycled notebook paper? Don’t buy more. Got a backpack in great shape? Don’t buy another.
- REALLY look through clothing before going shopping. Most kids I know get entire new wardrobes for back to school time, necessary or not. Buy clothes when your child needs them, not as dictated by the calendar. By the way, I get the whole “you need new clothes to fit in” issue. If your child really attends a school where clothing is all that matters, you may want to consider an alternative school, where trends don’t dictate “good” or “bad” treatment among peers.
- Go paperless when possible. Kids are highly plugged in nowadays, something that annoys me, but can work to your green advantage. Have your child set up a calender or schedule on his laptop instead of buying a paper one.
Make your kids do the planning and shopping:
- Kids can learn to be savvy green shoppers. Tell them your budget then have them make a list of needs vs. wants and help them compare prices.
- Kids who do want extra special clothing should be working to help earn money. If they’re old enough a real summer job is fine. If your kids are young, I don’t believe in paying for chores, but extra special, more difficult chores around the house are a good way for younger kids to earn some spending money.
Cheaper, greener transport:
- Always walk to school if that’s an option. I know parents who drive kids four flipping blocks to school. Hello childhood obesity and high gas prices, not to mention excess global warming. Walking is healthy for everyone and the planet. Biking, skateboarding and scootering are also cool.
- If walking isn’t an option, consider a bus pass. Going by bus is better for the environment than going by car and often a bus pass is less expensive than gas.
- Another option is car-pooling, which also saves on gas, time and builds community.
- Used goods are greener goods. See if you can pick up used backpacks, folders, clothing and other school gear at thrift stores, garage sales and other used good events.
- Check with family and friends with older kids to see if they have lightly used goods to pass on, and pass your old goods on to younger kids you may know as well.
Buy quality green goods and stock up when sales happen:
- It’s better to spend more on a hyper awesome lunch bag or green backpack now then to spend money over and over on lunch bags all year because your junky ones broke.
- For the rest of the year, look out for supply sales, then stock up when they happen, so you’re ready for next year.
Skip most electronics:
- Honestly, kids can manage school sans a cell phone or iPad. They can. It’ll save you big time.