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Why Am I Still Buying School Supplies?!

Photograph by Twenty20

Back to school season may be long gone, but it seems as if buying school supplies is a never-ending process and it's driving me nuts. In fact, all the extra purchases needed to complete my child's homework is making me go broke.

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When I signed my daughter up for kindergarten, we were given a list of things to buy from notebooks to pencils and construction paper, among other things. We were instructed to purchase duplicates of everything, which led me to believe that this stuff would last her for the entire school year. Boy, was I wrong.

I was shocked to learn that the items would be shared with all the students, which seemed weird considering everyone was required to buy the same things. I was even more surprised to learn that the students were not allowed to bring home any of the school supplies to complete their homework.

When I asked the teacher about it, she simply stated that all supplies had to remain in class. So this meant that we would have to go out and buy additional pencils, crayons, glue and scissors for homework.

But the extra purchases don't stop there. Students are also required to work on extra projects throughout the year relating to a particular theme like Valentine's Day.

For this particular assignment, students were instructed to bring in a box so that they could exchange cards with one another. The teacher recommended a tissue or shoe box, which seems simple enough right? Wrong!

I grabbed an empty tissue box and told my daughter to write her name on it and bring it to school. But, she later brought the box home and said that her teacher didn't accept it.

I then emailed the teacher requesting clarity and I was told that we needed to decorate the box and create an opening to allow kids to easily access the Valentine's Day cards. Needless to say, we had our work cut out for us.

We got to work and began rummaging through old shoe boxes. We didn't have any left over decorations, so we had to take a trip to the supply store. We bought Valentine cards, wrapping paper, glitter, glue, tape, along with decorative ribbons. The bill totaled around $10.

When you factor in other projects throughout the year, it all adds up. In fact, reports suggest that the cost for school supplies has gone up.

The American Express Spending and Saving Tracker predicted that out of 2,127 parents, an average of $1,239 would be spent on school supplies in 2015, as opposed to $1,151 in 2014, an increase of 7.6 percent.

And according to Today.com, The average K-12 parent spends about $100 per student on school supplies. But they fail to mention all these other hidden cost for special projects. To make matter worse, parents are also shelling out more bucks for clothes, electronics and extracurricular activities.

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Since my daughter is only in kindergarten, headphones were the only electronic item added to that list. We also had to drop a few hundred bucks on clothing, field trips and after school activities. It's a lot when you think about it and it's only going to get worse.

As she gets older, I'm pretty sure that list would include iPads, scientific calculators and more. When did things get so expensive?! In the meantime, I guess I'll have to suck it up, budget the additional costs and reuse old supplies whenever possible.

Explore More: elementary school, advice, back to school
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