After Christmas Shopping

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Christmas is over, it is so sad. But wait, there is more to shop for. Happening right now is 50% to 75% off Christmas items. But hurry it will end quickly.

I bought one wrapping paper design from Joann’s and the other at Target. A few years ago, while doing my after Christmas shopping, I came across solid blue and solid red wrapping papers for 75% off. The light bulb went off in my head, I used these solid color wrapping papers for Valentine’s Day gifts and birthday presents throughout the year. These days I buy only one or two Christmas design wrapping paper for next year and then I look for solid color wrapping papers to use for other gifts. Last year I bought a beautiful white on silver plain design paper and used it for all of my wedding shower / engagement gifts.

The other items for next Christmas that I look to buy on sale are things that I ran out of this year. Whether it is bags, bows, paper plates, napkins or gift tags, I buy what I need to replace that I finished this year. When packing all my Christmas decorations away, the last two boxes I pack are my Christmas cards and paper goods. The reasoning is that the first job for the holidays for me is to write my Christmas cards. I follow the LIFO method I learned in accounting when packing up Christmas in the attic, Last in, first out.

What are you waiting for? Go shopping now for your wrapping paper for the year and while you are at it, pick up your Christmas cards for next year on sale too!

BACK TO SCHOOL

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Scott Stanford and Somebody’s Mom

Friday, August 16th, I appeared on WNBC/News 4 New York & COZI-TV.
The topic is school supply shopping.

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video/#!/on-air/as-seen-on/Back-to-School–Supplies-and-Money-Saving-Tips/220053861

Provided below is some useful back to school information.

NEW CLOTHES FOR SCHOOL

Shop End of Season Sales –
1st day of school is beginning of September, and it is still warm out. Actually, the first few weeks of September are summer like, so you can pick up summer clothes to get your kids by the first month and those seasonal clothing items are on sale!

Set a Budget –
Set a limit before going to the stores with your kids. It will be a financial educational trip for your child as well. Not everyone can afford the $100 sneakers for all of their children. It is important for them to pick out what they will be wearing most likely every day, but also within your means. If you decide $50.00 per child for one pair of shoes and your older child really wants the $110.00 pair, let them pay the difference. Believe me they will understand the value of a dollar when they add their own.

Wait it Out –
Look for deals on fall clothing and accessories at the end of September and early October and pick up most of those clothes then. Winter merchandise like boots and coats are best bought during the holidays, so wait it out for the biggest savings.

MEDICAL QUESTIONS-
(Answers were obtained after speaking with my friend, Pat, a school nurse for grades nursery through high school.)

As far as immunizations go- all states have requirements regarding what immunizations are required for school. Parents should always discuss all concerns with pediatrician at regular visits, esp. regarding immunizations and any developmental concerns. If a child needs medication at school they need written permission from both parents and doctor in order for a school nurse to administer med.
If your child is fully vaccinated the risk of contracting an illness from an unvaccinated child-i.e. Measles or mumps- is greatly reduced. Again- all health concerns should be discussed with your pediatrician.

COLLEGE FINANCIAL –
(Answers were obtained after speaking my friend, Michael, a high school guidance counselor.)

If money is an issue be sure to know the cost of college, including transportation, personal expenses, books and fees as well as tuition and room and board before applying. Speak to the financial aid office in advance and learn about grants, loans, work study as well as scholarships and apply for all as early as allowed. Don’t get stuck with excessive loans and plan ahead so the student doesn’t have to transfer schools due to money.

AFFORDABLE DORM ESSENTIALS –
Buy as much as you can at home and bring it with you. Because the town where your child will be attending college will have one Wal-Mart and one Staples (if you are lucky) and everyone will be purchasing and fighting for the last pillow, plastic cart with drawers, extension cords, etc. Purchase laundry detergent (4 bottles purchased on sale from the supermarket may be cheaper), 2 boxes dryer sheets and rolls of quarters for laundry. Case of water, paper towels and toilet paper, and masking tape, batteries, light bulbs and a small tool kit

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PURCHASE A BEDROOM ENSEMBLE. Take your comforter from home and purchase a new one for your son’s home bed. This works with guys, girls want the whole nine yards. Let them purchase it with their own money. You are paying for college not decorating.

Invest in a bedbug cover for the mattress, mattress pad, sheets, etc. at Bed, Bath and Beyond, you can use 3 discount coupons, one for each item. Under bed containers for storage, look into Home Depot, they offer better deals, also bed risers and a small refrigerator for the room and microwave. Ask in advance, like the spring of someone graduating, if you can have theirs. We never bought one, and gave ours to the next needy student.

STARTING SCHOOL ANXIETY-
Nursery/Grade School – Parents should discuss school as a fun and positive thing. Don’t hover over kids when u bring them to school, don’t linger in hallways or cry in front of your child (have seen this done).

From nursery to college, there is always anxiety when something is new. To prep kids for the new environment try to develop a level of independence in your child….be sure to develop lines of communication so they know you are there to offer support. Set up a plan…visit a new school, talk of people, create a level of familiarity before the actual beginning of school. Also keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer