BACK TO SCHOOL IN STYLE, COMFORT AND UNDER BUDGET
Whether your child is heading back to school or starting elementary school for the first time in kindergarten there are costs that need to be budgeted.
When our son made his way to his class lineup on the first day of junior kindergarten we couldn’t stop staring at him.
It felt like it was just yesterday that he was born and we were changing diapers making sure he was tended to at every cry.
We waited until we didn’t see his backpack in view before we made our way home as it’s only a short walk to his school.
It was at that moment we looked at each other and thought, “Now what?”.
Now we get on with the things we put on hold or layaway for the past 4 years as new parents.
For some parents, they still have babies at home when another child enters kindergarten so it’s no walk in the park.
It’s still busy but less the children that are sent off to school for the year.
School Supplies Kindergarten
Kindergarten enrollment is a happy and stressful time for parents because sending your child into the education system is like seeing them off to university or college.
No matter where your child goes to school there will always be costs involved which is what I wanted to talk about today.
Our son is entering into senior kindergarten this September and he was given a list of school supplies that were recommended he bring.
Schools aren’t funded as much as they used to be for school supplies and when parents can help out it makes a world of difference not only for the teacher but for your child.
Having access to their own school supplies means they can get on with their school work and not having to worry because kids do sense more than we believe.
Most elementary school teachers have to pay out of pocket for classroom expenses which include supplies, toys, and educational material.
Thankfully both the kindergarten and senior kindergarten classes at our son’s school have school supplies for the students but not large amounts.
That means that all of the students will have access to what they need but they will have to share what they don’t personally bring from home.
Honestly, we never sent any school supplies with our son to school when he started junior kindergarten last year.
I don’t know if we missed the memo or were too overwhelmed with the process of our son starting junior kindergarten but he brought no school supplies.
This year will be different and for those parents out there who are overwhelmed by the process don’t worry it will work out.
You don’t have to be perfect and anything you forget or need your child’s teacher will let you know if it’s important.
Back To School Supplies List Kindergarten
What school supplies do I need for kindergarten?
It all depends on the school your child goes to and typically they will send a list to the parents or you could ask your child’s teacher.
This year we were given a list of school supplies that our son is asked to bring with him on the first day of senior kindergarten.
- 2 Boxes of Kleenex
- Glue Stick
- Crayola markers
- Kindergarten Scissors
You can purchase all of the above at your local dollar store for around $10-$15 which is fairly inexpensive for school supplies.
I’m sure most parents already have these types of supplies at home in a craft room or play centre, at least we do.
To be honest we picked up most of our son’s school supplies at second-hand shops throughout the summer months.
The school supplies your child is requested to bring aren’t pricey however you can still save on 50% off days or if you have discount coupons.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen brand new school supplies for sale at the second-hand shops for far less than retail.
As your child graduates into other grades, you’ll start to see the demands of school supplies rise especially into high school.
Budgeting For Kindergarten School Supplies
There’s not much in terms of budgeting expenses for school supplies when your child enters junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten.
As long as you are aware that you’ll need a minimum $20 for school supplies and set that money aside in the bank you’ll be fine.
Now that our son is heading into senior kindergarten we have a general idea of what is needed for school supplies.
We factor in his school supplies and other back to school accessories as a projected expense in our budget.
If you are able to find out at the end of each school year what your child needs the following year it can help you budget your expenses.
Kindergarten Back to School Clothing and Accessories
Here’s where the back to school money starts rolling however you don’t need to go overboard.
The last thing you need to do as a parent is to send your child to school dressed in expensive, name-brand clothing.
Kids really don’t care at this age and neither should you.
Funneling the costs of back to school in the areas you need to spend will help balance the budget.
In fact, most days our son came home plastered in mud, food and classroom fun all over their clothes.
Don’t sweat it because it will happen.
Almost all of our son’s clothing is purchased used at second-hand shops throughout the year.
We are always thinking ahead and during sale, times buy clothing for him that is bigger so he fits into it later.
Obviously, this will work better when your child is younger because as they get older they like to pick clothing out themselves.
Even so, our son does like to pick out shirts he will wear and when it comes to pants for school it’s simple.
- Jogging Pants or Sports Pants
- Jeans with no button (less hassle until they are comfortable)
- Rain pants or lined Pants
- Snow Pants
We always inspect every article of clothing we buy used to make sure the knees are not worn out and that there are no holes.
You can easily buy 10 pairs of pants for kindergarten kids used for under $50 which is a huge saving compared to buying new.
If you plan on buying new clothing skip the expensive name-brand mall shopping because you’re only wasting your money.
Unless of course you want to see your child in pricey clothes and have the budget for it, go for it.
Other items that you will want to buy or source ahead of time for back to school clothing may be:
- Snow Suit
- Winter Hat (you’ll need a few of these)
- Winter Boots
- Waterproof Rain Boots
- Splash Pants
- Winter Gloves ( a few sets as they WILL go missing)
- Winter Scarf
- Fall Jacket
- Spring Jacket
- Hoodies and Pull-overs
- Backpack and lunch box
- Indoor running shoes
- Outdoor shoes including running shoes, sandals and seasonal shoes as listed above.
You may also find that your child struggles with certain accessories at school and you may have to try something else.
Our son struggled with gloves so we went from dollar store simple gloves to high-end gloves from SportChek that he had no interest in.
As parents, we hate to see our children struggle so having your child where they can dress and undress themselves makes life far easier.
Indoor and Outdoor Shoes for Kindergarten
You’ll also want to invest in some good footwear for your child because feet are very important and you don’t want to squeeze dollars in this area if you can afford comfortably.
Think comfort, rainproof and long-lasting if possible.
Don’t be afraid to spend $30-$60 for a pair of good shoes and if your child can’t tie their laces opt for velcro.
Look for sales at local sports stores or opt for second-hand shoes that are name-brand that you trust.
We’ve tried the Walmart shoes and boots and they don’t last at all so we end up spending double or more on indoor and outdoor shoes throughout the year.
Keep in mind your child’s feet will grow as well which means you may need to buy them not once but twice in the school year.
Save where you can so you can spend where you have to.
In fact, our son struggled with his winter boots so bad that we paid near $100 for a pair of BOGS he could easily put on and off.
It was well worth it for our son and to keep his stress levels at bay especially since he has sensory concerns.
Backpacks for Kids
When it comes to purchasing a backpack opt for a larger one because you’ll need it to stuff everything from library books to lunches and spare clothes inside.
Oh, and make sure it’s rainproof.
For senior kindergarten, our son will use his junior kindergarten Roots 73 backpack for a second year.
We bought the Roots backpack and lunch box at Costco for around $30 although this year we’ve changed his lunch box option.
Emergency Clothing Bag
Your child’s teacher will most likely advise you to keep an emergency bag of clothing at school just in case of accidents.
I’m not talking about just bathroom accidents only because our son was soaked from rain and puddles and full of mud on many occasions.
In our junior kindergarten emergency clothing bag, we kept a spare set of clothing based on the season.
You will have to swap them out as the season’s change and in the winter there is always a spare set of hats, gloves and a sweater.
Also, don’t forget to keep spare undergarments and socks in the bag just in case they get soiled or wet.
A simple plastic bag will do or some teachers ask for a large Ziploc type bag however I’m sure it won’t be a big deal.
We also keep a pack of wipes and kleenex boxes in our son’s cubby at school so he always has them available.
Label All Back To School Supplies and Clothing
The name of the game here is to make sure you LABEL everything.
Always label your clothing and the bag of spare clothing for your child just in case it goes missing.
For some reason, kindergarten is a mass destruction zone every time we go in and labels will be your friend.
You can do so for very cheap and the labels don’t come off unless you rip them off so we love them.
We use Mabel’s Labels for everything from clothing to lunch box items and we highly recommend ordering them online.
I had a look at our Mabel’s labels from junior kindergarten and we still have some left however we purchased an Ultimate Back To School Combo Pack to get us to the end of the year.
You can also use a marker if you wish but we like to sell our gently used clothing afterward and prefer not to have them permanently marked with our son’s name.
That would be the cheapest option if you don’t have the budget for Mabel’s labels.
Lunch Boxes For Kindergarten Kids
Honestly, this was the hardest and most stressful part of buying back to school supplies for our son.
We have a picky eater on our hands so not knowing the right type of lunch box was overwhelming.
Initially, we purchased the Roots lunch bag from Costco which we did use throughout his junior kindergarten year.
Packing his lunch meant having containers he was able to open easily and the Roots containers that came with the lunch were horrible.
We started to use the mini Tupperware containers that we labeled but often didn’t come home or a lid would go missing.
Finally, we ended the year using sandwich bags packed in his Roots lunch bag because it was easier for everyone.
What we didn’t like was the waste that the baggies produced so this year we went hunting for something better.
Back in the day, lunch was packed in a paper bag with tinfoil or plastic wrap.
If you were lucky and had a plastic lunch box you had a thermos filled with a drink or hot meal.
Times have changed and so have lunch boxes for the kids and they can come with a hefty price-tag.
Lunch Box Ideas For Kindergarten
I asked some of my readers on Facebook to share what lunch boxes they used for their kiddos and the feedback was great.
Luckily for us, we found a lunch box at Value Village for $4.99 similar to a bento box and our son can easily open it.
We will give that a try to start the year and see how that goes and if it’s a flop then we will spend the money and buy a Yumbox.
I mean really, you just want this part of the back to school process to be simple, not stressful and if that means spending money to buy a lunch box that works then so be it.
Budget is very important so saving in one area means it frees up cash to spend in other areas that you can’t control costs.
Along with lunch boxes you’ll need to send a water bottle or juice bottle to school with your child.
We’ve been using successfully the Contigo Auto-Spout water bottles for our son to bring water and milk every day.
The best part is the locking feature and no spills which are what every parent should be looking for.
If paying $36 for a three-pack of Contigo bottles is out of your budget you can look for other options or perhaps source them second-hand.
Trust me though, they are worth the money but don’t forget to label them.
When it comes to lunch box ideas for your kindergarten kiddo here are some frugal and expensive options to consider.
Related: Back To School Lunch Ideas
Popular back to school lunch box options is Yumbox, Bento boxes, Bentgo, Planet Box, Tupperware lunch boxes and Rubbermaid Lunch Bloks.
This is the BentGo Box which is a popular option for parents who want something simple and leakproof for $36.99.
- IDEAL PORTIONS FOR KIDS: 5 practical compartments portioned perfectly for a child’s appetite (recommended for ages 3-7).
- DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Drop-proof, rubber-coated edges and sturdy design are ideal for active kids on the go, all made with BPA-free and FDA food-grade materials.
- LEAK-PROOF TECHNOLOGY: Keeps meals and snacks fresh and mess-free during transport – Includes 2 kid-friendly latches that are easy for small hands to open and close.
This is a simple Bento Box lunch box for kids that has separate compartments for the foods they love and comes with utensils.
Since our son is a picky eater we would never benefit from a lunch box like this but if your child loves the variety it’s a great option at only $31.20.
DEAL KIDS BENTO BOX LUNCH BOX : Jeopace original is designed for kids,children and students.Our goal is to promote healthy & balanced eating.The 4 compartments are portioned perfectly to feed the appetite and comprehensive nutrition of kids,children,students,even adults. FOOD GRADE SAFE MATERIAL: Our bento box is made from FDA approved materials and it is BPA free. It is no smell, stain resistant and will not get moldy.
FOOD GRADE SAFE MATERIAL: Our bento box is made from FDA approved materials and it is BPA free. It is no smell, stain resistant and will not get moldy.
LEAK PROOF AND DURABLE DESIGN: The elastic sealing ring and snap lid work together well to form an airtight and leakproof seal. No worrying about food spillage on the go. The high-density wheat fiber material makes it sturdy and shock-proof. No need to worry about accident drop to the floor.
MICROWAVE,FREEZER & DISHWASHER SAFE : Microwave Safe(without lids, 2-4 mins under 248℉); Freezer Safe(≧-4℉); Dishwasher Safe(top rack only, hand washing is recommended for the lid to avoid any deformation caused by high temperature and pressure washing). This bento box is perfect for school, office, factory, home and outdoors. Put your pasta, chicken, salad, sandwich,fruit,snacks or sushi in it and enjoy it when and where you like.
PORTABLE&LIGHTWEIGHT&DURABLE : The dimension of 8.15 x 5.28 x 2.59 inches makes it portable and easy to carry.The perfect design of 900 ml VS 12.59 OZ makes it both large capacity and light weight.
We actually bought these Bento Lunch Boxes for our son when he started junior kindergarten and was struggling with his lunch box.
They are a great option as long as your child knows how to open and close the container which can be tough for some kids.
At $24.95 for 7 boxes, it’s a great deal!
- FREE Ice Pack+ 7 RAINBOW COLOR Compartment Bento Lunch Box
- MICROWAVABLE, FREEZER, DISHWASHER SAFE
- SATISFACTION GUARANTEED – 100% Money Back Guarantee
- LEAK PROOF GUARANTEE under 98% scenarios – our tight test shows the lunch box won’t leak if you load a fairly amount of liquid.
- BPA FREE & FDA Approved
This is the Fit and Fresh lunch box option for your child which is great because it has the built-in ice-packs and costs only $13.99.
Divided lunch container designed to fit a sandwich or other entree and two healthy sides
Two removable ice packs snap into the lid to keep meal chilled
New TPE “soft touch” lid makes container easy to open and close
Large compartment measures 5.75″x5.5″ And small compartments measure 3.75″x2.75″ Each
Container is BPA free, dishwasher and microwave safe
The cheapest option is the paper bag lunch bag which you can buy at any dollar store for a buck!
The insulated lunch bag was what we had originally purchased for our son starting junior kindergarten.
It was the Roots 73 insulated bag that we bought along with his backpack.
Although we tossed out the containers that came with it the bag was valuable to us for the entire year.
We ended the year with the insulated bag which we were able to add ice packs too and easily clean.
You can purchase these types of insulated lunch bags fairly inexpensive coming in at just over $20.
EXCEPTIONAL INSULATED LUNCH BAG – high density water-resistant & dirt-proof fabric,with 8mm aluminum foil,durable and easy-to-clean interior lining. Perfect thermal insulated, keep food warm or drink cool at any time.
EXTRA STORAGE & MUTIFUNTION – The internal mesh pocket is great for holding knives, forks and spoons. The back pocket also offers extra space for condiments and napkin, keeping them close at hand. And the front zipper pocket can keep keys, phone and wallet easily accessible.
SMART DESIGN LUNCH BOX- Features an adjustable divider with velcro design to divide the main compartment into two sections which allow you to store hot and cold food separately.
CONVENIENT & VERSATILITY – Excellent Built quality with the simple and elegant style, this lunch bag is easy to be carried by kits.It is suitable for all people such as adluts, men,women and students and is also great for work, school, travel, and picnics. The exceptional insulation of the bag keeps the food at desired temperatures ready for consumption.
LIFETIME WARRANTY!!! PORTABILITY – The overall dimensions of the lunch bag are 9.05 x 3.9 x 10.6 in / 23 x 10 x 27cm ( L*W*H ) , perfectly fits your backpack and briefcase. Designed with a padded handle and a detachable/adjustable shoulder strap that offers multiple carrying ways and allows for effortless carrying. 3 Models like crossbody, shoulder bag and handbag, totally customizable for your different needs.
The Rubbermaid Lunch Bloks is also another popular option with parents and kids and the price comes in at only $22.99.
What we like about these lunch bloks is that they are easy to open and leak-proof.
Bpa-Free lunch containers feature a silicone, airtight seal to help prevent leaks while on-the-go
Durable latches are easy to open and close; containers snap to blue ice to keep your lunch chilled and fresh
Outer case can be used with or without leak-proof lunch containers for an all-in-one solution for on-the-go
Microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe; small kit includes: (1) 2.6 Cup small entree container, (2) 0.5 Cup snack containers, 1 outer case, 1 blue ice block
Available in reflecting pool blue or beet red; color may vary per order
This is the popular YUM BOX which comes in a variety of options and price points and available at Indigo Chapters or Cute Kids Stuff online.
If you’re looking for a full YUM BOX you can expect to pay $41.99.
The YUMBOX includes exterior box and tray insert illustrations. Five 1/2 cup portions (approximately 2.5 cups) of the key food groups plus dip/treat well.
Pack wet foods like yogurt and dips (not water).Ideal for toddlers-age 8.
This Yumbox is for kids that like variety. It’s perfect for picky eaters.Dimensions: 8.5 (l) x 6.5 (w) x 1.8 (h) inches, weighs 1 lbs 1.5 oz.
You can purchase the Planet Box stainless steel lunch box in Canada from Cute Kids Stuff (non-affiliate) but it will cost you $69.99 plus taxes.
PlanetBox is the smart lunchbox that guides you in packing a well-balanced meal quickly & easily. The Rover is designed for those who prefer to sample a wide variety of foods.
- Holds about 5 cups of food, which happily satisfies most children and adults
- Great for variety and versatility
- A designated place for a little treat
- Each Rover includes 1 Big Dipper and 1 Little Dipper
Kindergarten Back to School Supplies Budgeting
Sending your child to school for the first time or to senior kindergarten costs far more than you may think so budgeting is vital.
If you are able to sit down and budget expenses the year before you can project and save them so you have the money come August when back to school sales begin.
Alternatively, you can shop all year to find the best prices which I think is the better option.
For the 2019 year, we can expect to spend about $200 for our son to enter Senior Kindergarten with all of his supplies, clothing, and accessories.
This could change as he grows and we need to purchase new items throughout the school year.
There are lots of options to consider when saving money for back to school but there’s always room to make adjustments if you plan ahead.
Discussion: What back to school supplies or accessories do you need to prepare for your junior kindergarten or senior kindergarten child?
Leave me your comments below and any other information you feel should be added to this post.