Welcome to the first “The Mermaid Network’s Guide to…Back to School”! I thought that this would be a fun series to start, even if I don’t keep it up in twenty years, to just share my experiences and learn from all of you Fleeters as well. Now, I know that shopping can be something that we all look forward to when the new school year comes around. That beautiful backpack that is calling your name? How about that amazing set of gel pens that are shimmering under the fluorescent light? Okay, hardly anything shines under artificial light, but you get my point. I thought that I would share some tips with all of you when it comes to shopping for what you need, not what you want. I am mainly going over fashion and school supplies since those are the two things that most students going back to school will buy brand spanking new. I am heading back to college too and I feel the need and want too. I used to go on shopping sprees that lasted from early morning to the night when stores were closing down. I know what it is like to be able to wear something new and feel good in it. I think that after purchasing so many clothes that I regret buying, it is something that has helped me really ask these questions:
1. Do I really need this? If the answer isn’t an automatic “yes”, really think about if you need it. Of course, saying “yes” immediately may also mean that you don’t need it. Don’t forget to have a mental image of your clothes because if you have something similar, chances are that you don’t really need the item.
2. Can I wear this with other items? If the item in your hand is something that you can only wear with one thing, it may not be the best. Your wardrobe is meant to be versatile so that you can think about it less.
3. Is it worth this much? I don’t know about you but I generally only shop for a bargain and won’t buy something full priced. If I do, I have a coupon that needs a certain amount before a smaller amount can be subtracted. I am not saying, “Don’t buy clothes.” I am just saying that if you have a shirt that is extremely holey and you need a new one, go for it, but if you have a really nice shirt, just wait and think. Also, bringing a relative or good friend who is honest about what something looks like on your body without being rude or offensive can really help your decisions. I always ask my sister or mom because I know that they will help me get off the fence of if I like something or not.
I am 100% guilty of buying new supplies when I had good supplies left. 64 crayons? Yup, bought two of those. Colored pencils? So many colored pencils left that I have no clue what to do with them. There are so many things that you can easily just reuse and then when you are down to that little piece, then you can buy more. I have found that there is now a dedicated “school drawer” because I always wanted new things, my siblings are guilty of it too. Now that I am older, I have brought up a good amount of it to my sister’s house and plan to use it. Here are some tips to help you resist that urge to buy new stuff for school.
1. Do I really need this? Of course, this question applies to most any situation and this is no different. Think about it long and hard. I remember that some classes required a protractor and you only used it a couple of times. See if your teacher actually has a set because those “recommended school supplies lists” can be a little outrageous when you can save yourself a couple of dollars or more.
2. How messed up is the item I already have? Does your backpack have holes in it and is falling apart, held together by duct tape? Yeah…probably time to get a new backpack. I have found that it is the best investment you can make for a backpack because you can always use it in the future for camping or traveling, whatever it may be. Think about how damaged something is before replacing it with something new.
3. How often do I use it? Like a backpack, you use pencils and pens every day so you can always get a good stock. I like to buy Pilot G2 pens, they are my favorite! I also like the Papermate mechanical pencils. I am pretty sure that most schools aren’t as strict with their pencils being wooden only. Of course, make sure to have some for the scantrons because it is like mechanical and wooden pencils are each other’s arch-nemesis! I hope that this has helped your fashion and school needs when it comes to saving money! Let me know if you have any other tips down below!
-The Mermaid Network
Graphic made by me, The Mermaid Network!