First Person: My Family's Back to School Costs Have Tripled

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This September my oldest child will be making the move from elementary school to middle school, and I was surprised with the cost that was associated with this move. When I tallied up the cost of all the supplies he would need, I will be paying three times more than I did last year. Last year I was able to pay for school supplies for three kids on less than $50, this year, I am nowhere near that total.

A Scientific Calculator is a Huge Expense

When I received the supply list from my son's teacher, I was more than a little shocked at the length. Then when I looked at each line, reality set in. One of the larger expenses that I would need to purchase for my son's new school year was a scientific calculator. The particular model the teacher required for the class costs $99. This purchase alone blew last year's school shopping total for three children right out of the water.

Assignments Must be Typed Not Handwritten

On my child's school paperwork I noticed a remark indicating that all written assignments such as book reports or essays must be handed in typed, not handwritten. I am okay with this, as we already have a computer and a printer, it is the cost of printer ink that bothers me. The ink for our printer costs $29 per cartridge. Fortunately my son is at an age where the assignments aren't likely to be very long and we will be able to save money on ink for now.

Sturdy Book Bag that Won't Buckle Under the Pressure of Large Text Books

Last year my son was allowed to keep his text books in his desk at school, but this year he is required to bring them home to study with. That means that he needs a quality book bag that will withstand the weight of several heavy text books. Rather than paying $15 for a book bag, I shelled out $40 in the hopes that a well-made back pack will last throughout the school year.

Projector Sheets for Presentations

Another request from the teacher that racked my bill up was that each student needs their own package of projector sheets for presentations in front of the class. Call me old school, but why would a student need projector sheets? While I didn't understand the need, I bought them on sale for $10 for a 50 pack.

Dry Erase Markers

My son's teacher prefers to use a large dry erase board instead of a chalk board and because of this, she requires each student to come to school prepared with their own set of dry erase markers. I was fortunate enough to find a quality set on sale for $4.99.

The Bottom Line

As my children progress in age, the school supply list is bound to grow and get more expensive. While my younger sons only require compositions note books, pencils, crayons, and the like, my oldest son's move into middle school certainly showed just how expensive back to school shopping can be.

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