Back to School Nickel and Diming

We got through school supplies, and then the fundraisers started. How does your school roll out money making programs?
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My older son started 1st grade this school year. When I received his school supply list, I was mildly shocked: 4 notebooks, multiple sets of markers, pencils, paints (thick and thin, specific brands), scissors, many many glue sticks, a clipboard, and cleaning supplies. All in all, I figure we spent over $60 on supplies spread out over 4 stores, and that was with a reused backpack and lunch box.

Well thank goodness that hurdle was cleared, let's head back to school!

Happiness!

first day of school

But then the other back to school expenses started rolling in.

$5 for a field trip shirt; a Chuck-E-Cheese fundraiser; a Yankee Candle sales fundraiser (thank you, school, for holding a convocation wherin a talking bumblebee makes a Yankee Candle sales pitch to first graders. There was NO confusion as to how and why they would all drive a stretch Hummer limo to a bounce house party after selling a certain amount of Yankee stuff); $9.50 for a field trip; a Scholastic book order; a local BBQ fundraiser; arm bands and tickets for the fall carnival.

school bus dollars

I'm all for education, but does anyone else think this is overkill? I remember picking out a new folder and a cardboard pencil box for school, and later in the year selling a few $1 chocolate bars. We are not even four weeks into the school year and I feel bled dry. This doesn't even include the cost of fall sports and music lessons that we choose privately--the above list is just for ordinary public school.

How do other schools roll out these back to school programs, and how do families with tight budgets and/or more kids handle it all?

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