by Karen Great Deals Saving

School Backpack Special

School costs add up!

“Back in the day,” as my oldest son says, school didn’t cost so much. My parents bought me a plaid lunchbox I carried to school from first grade until fourth grade when I needed  brown paper bags so I wouldn’t look like a baby. Now kids get a list of school supplies they have to bring. And clothes! That takes a bite out of a budget. My little country elementary school provided pencils, paper, crayons, tissues—everything!


When my children started school, we sat around the dining room table. The biggest expense involved curriculum since we home schooled. I highly recommend the Christian Educator’s Resource Market in Greenville, SC for saving money. (We lovingly call it Cerm and still visit whenever we’re within 50 miles.)

School at my house

This year big bro starts school. His mom just went back to work, so I’m balancing a brand new grandbaby on one arm, 4-year-old Li’l Sis on my knee and Big Bro by my side in the public school home school program my daughter-in-law signed up to do. This is new territory for me. I’ve checked out the huge box of books they sent, and it’s a bit daunting after my years of free wheel home schooling. I have to take attendance! And every lesson is recorded. It’s going to be an interesting year.

The box arrived!

The Backpack

That box of school books can’t travel back and forth. It is too big and bulky. When my mom offered me a half off coupon to the thrift store, I went searching for a solution there. I found a used, but not badly beaten up high quality back pack for $3. It had an adjustable handle and wheels like a suitcase. All the zippers worked. I was in. Forty-five minutes after passing through the doorway, it looked a whole lot different. A few squirts of Odo-Ban really helped. I worked hard to clean out the lint and pet hair. A few pockets had food crumbs, too. Ewww.  A final thorough vacuum pulled out the last of the grunge.

I think someone carried their pet in the backpack. Lots of short little hairs. Maybe they “snuck” Fido to school?


The layer of dust makes me wonder if it sat unused for awhile.
Learn to look beyond the surface. This backpack oozed quality. None of the seams were frayed. The wheels rolled freely and the handle lifted and shut without sticking. I could see it just needed a little elbow grease.


Now it looks close to new. All it would need is a price tag on it to fool Big Bro into thinking I just bought it from the store! When I checked Amazon, I found the same one for $53.23. Score!