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Tips to Survive the Back to School Crunch

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Tips to Survive the Back to School Crunch


    It’s back to school time. Parents everywhere are steeped in the hectic back to school scramble, supplies, clothes, lunches, activities, car pool, after school care… The list is endless. We have to plan, prepare, shop, organize, schedule and then we actually have to make sure they get to school on time with supplies, lunch and completed homework in hand. It’s enough to make even the most organized among us weep with exhaustion. There’s no getting around the long list of school needs, but there might be some relief for the accompanying migraines.

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    Some Back-to-School Sanity Savers

    • School supplies – Buy school supplies as soon as you receive your list. Make sure you check sale flyers before you shop. Don’t forget to check your local warehouse club for bargains. It pays to buy extra, supply prices are at their lowest this time of year. If you have a stash of the basics, you won’t run out later in the school year, necessitating a 6AM trip to Wal-Mart for a #2 pencil the morning before a big test…maybe that’s just our house.
    • School clothes – Clothes can break the bank, like no other part of school prep. Shop all summer long, so that the expense can be spread out over several paychecks. Watch for those buy 1, get 1 sales, sign up for coupons and email notices from your favorite clothes stores and take advantage of those “the more you buy, the more you save sales.” It may be cheaper to buy several of the same jeans in different washes or shirts in different colors.
    • Sports equipment – If your kids play sports, then you know how expensive all that equipment can get. One way to save is to buy equipment or sportswear the next size up at the end of the season for next year. Most areas also have a second hand sporting goods store in the area. Or check eBay, Craigslist, etc. Another idea is to talk with your coach or fellow parents about organizing a swap or resale within the sports team. It’s a shame that perfectly useable equipment sits in a dusty basement, when someone else could use it.
    • Lunches – Plan lunches ahead. Look at the lunch calendar for the week and decide with your child which days will be buy days or bring days. Most schools now have a pay ahead system so that lunch money doesn’t need to be sent in every day. If your child brings a lunch, decide what those lunches will consist of and shop for the whole week. Again, stock up on snack items and non-perishables ahead. Granola bars, pretzels, drinks, etc. can all be bought in bulk. Pack lunches the night before if possible…and teach your child to make their own lunch as soon as they are capable.
    • Routines – Devise a morning, afternoon, and evening routine that works with your schedule. Create a checklist and print it out so that you or your child can check of each item as you go. Some sample routines include:
    1. Morning: Eat breakfast, feed dogs, get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, make bed, and check backpack for lunch, snack, sports equipment, and homework.
    2. Afternoon: Unpack backpack, eat snack, homework, etc.
    3. Evening: Check school calendar for next day, pack backpack for next day, pack lunch if applicable. Discuss any activities, sports, daycare, and carpool arrangements with child.
    • Carpool – Talk to your fellow parents and set up a rotating carpool schedule if you can. Set up a phone tree or trade contact info. with other class or sports parents. *My best time saver has been trading cell numbers with other parents. We text to arrange rides, share schedule changes, ask about supplies, etc.

    Back to school will always be a busy time of year, but with a little bit of planning and organization, you can save a whole lot of time, money, and aggravation.

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    Do you have any back to school tips to share?

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    (Photo credit: Green Apple on Book via Shutterstock)

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    Royale Scuderi

    A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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    Last Updated on January 13, 2022

    10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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    10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

    A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

    To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

    1. Camping

    A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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    2. Staycation

    You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

    3. Island Getaway

    People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

    4. Fancy Resort

    Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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    5. Road Trip

    The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

    6. Charter a Boat

    If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

    7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

    If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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    8. Themed Retreats

    There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

    9. Working Honeymoon

    Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

    10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

    Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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    Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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