How to Get Ready for Back-to-School {on a budget}!!

  Y’all are getting ready for back to school like us?
(if school hasn’t already started for ya)

I thought I’d share some tips we use around here to get
set For school
{and save some cash in the process!!}


how to get ready for school on a budget northern cottage


You know those school supply lists with

hundreds of items listed per student??


Tip #1

um well…we don’t follow the provided list exactly

meaning, we don’t go out and buy 4 boxes of markers and 18 boxes of pencils and 4 boxes of tissues and
2 boxes of band-aids
if all 25 kids get two boxes that is 50 boxes of bandages(who falls & skins up their knees that much?)

don’t get me wrong, I want the teachers and kiddos to have what they need! I’m not skimping but rather using discernment

we do get most of the items of the list to start of the school year and then we supplement as needed throughout the year and the teachers know that if they need something, we’re there to help!



Tip #2


Instead of buying all new supplies, we first take the school supply list and ‘shop’ the supplies we already have at home

Remember the end of the last school year when the kids came home with their backpacks filled to the brim with stuff cleaned out from their desks and lockers?

What did you do with all that stuff?  We organized and tucked it away in our art area  (which is well used and well loved during the summer break!) and it’s now available to re-use this year

Granted, we don’t have the boxes for those markers but we can rubber band them together and tuck them in a cute pencil box!



Tip #3


Make those pencil boxes new by adding some washi tape to bling them out

Maybe decorate last years backpack or lunchbox

decorate some clipboards like here & here:

northern cottage chalk clipboard

thinks outside the box for magnet locker holders --- maybe painted soup cans with some magnets glued on can become personalized storage for your kiddo 
some super cute ideas here:




Tip #4


We also don’t buy all their school clothes the weeks before school.  Without fail, my kids always go through a growth spurt mid-September and the stuff we just got them is instantly outgrown and it’s usually warm out still the first month so…

we get one fun outfit

{& the ever-oh-so-exciting socks and unders}

and they just wear their summer clothes
the first few weeks of school

and then we get outfits throughout the year when they need it, when we see a deal, when we find something super cute!!

Plus it’s just plain FUN to get something new
every so often, right? 


These steps are how we save money with back-to-school prep:

1. Filter the school list

2. Re-use supplies

3. Thrifty Storage

4. Delay school clothes


Hope this helps ya prep for school, too!!

Chat soon -

{Home * Subscribe * Facebook * Pinterest * Twitter}


linking here: elizabeth and co *


  1. Great tips -- thank you! We don't have Band-Aids on our list but what a great idea to tuck some into DD's backpack. It would save her making a trip to get one. :)

  2. Hi! I love your great crafty ideas! I would love it if you would share this at my link party at , as well as any other posts you would like to share. I am following you on pinterest and FB as well, I would love it if you would do the same. See you at the party, Lindsay @mommy's sweet confessions

  3. We hold off on buying lots of school clothes too. It's so silly to buy fall things (usually full price) in August! I pick up a couple new tshirs or shorts (always deeply discounted by now!) for their back to school wardrobe. No one has complained about it so far! They're happy to have a new outfit they can actually wear when it's 80 degrees out. :)


I {ADORE} your comments and read! ♥