O'Joy Recommends: Back to School

It's my very first "Back-to-school" as a mom! Wowza! So of course I have to do an O'Joy Recommends! Here are just a few ideas about where a newbie mom like me can get started, and maybe help the verteran moms, too. This year, according to CNN Money, parents are going to be spending even less this year on back-to-school shopping, and getting more creative about where and how they do spend their precious dollars. Meanwhile the supplies required by equally cash-strapped schools are getting longer and longer. My kindergartner even has to supply her own tissues and paper towels! So without further ado:

There are plenty of great bags out there, at every price. The younger set loves those character bags, and I've got to say that Toys 'R Us, with it's huge selection and awesome price, ($14.99!) is the place to go.

If your children are a bit older both looks and durability are of greater concern. I just don't think you can beat Land's End for quality. I especially like the $24.70 School Uniform Classmate StudyHaul backpack. It comes in 11 colors and is perfectly sized for 8 - 14 year-olds.

For the most budget-minded of Mommas, I highly suggest you visit School-bags.com; a backpack wholesaler, the prices for these bags are phenomenal. Check this organizer-style one below for just $9.99!

I am pretty impressed with the eco-friendly and super-cool styling of Kids Konserve Reusable Waste-free lunch kit. At $42, it's not exactly a steal, but the set will actually last for years and years, and save all kinds of money on paper napkins and plastic baggies.

The Kids Lunch Set from Tupperware is a great buy at $19.50. The insulated bag includes the sandwich keeper and two small snack cups, as well. Add the ingenious Banana Keeper and their lunch will be as fresh as when it was packed.

Your best bet for those crazy-long supply lists handed to you by your kids teachers is to head over to EZSchoolSupplies.com A lot of schools will actually upload the list to the site to make your job even easier. If your school has signed up, 10% of the purchase price will be donated back to the school. Nice...

Another great all-in-one shop is AfterSchoolStore.com I especially dig the School Supply Kits, sorted by grade. The $19.99 5th grade kit, for example, includes:
• 1 glue stick
• 1 large eraser
• 1 pencil sharpener
• 1 pack crayons (set of 48)
• 1 pack facial tissue
• 1 pack index cards
• 1 pack pencils (set of 12)
• 2 red correcting pencils
• 1 pack wide-ruled paper
• 1 pair children’s safety scissors
• 1 pencil box
• 3 pocket folders
• 1 1in. 3-ring binder
• 1 ruler (standard and metric)
• 1 set flashcards (multi/div)
• 1 set washable markers (set of 10)
• 2 spiral notebooks of wide-ruled paper
• 1 zippered pencil case

Try to do that anywhere else!

Those mall staples like Old Navy and The Childrens Place are perennial favorites because the basics never really go out of style, and the prices are just right.
I love Cookie's Kids Department Store for the truly excellent pricing, and there is nothing quite so valuable as a good resale store like Still Hip, in Brooklyn.

Thanks for spending time at another O'Joy Recommends. Just one more thing, I urge you to consider those who won't be having a back-to-school-shopping trip. Please stop by Backtoschoolclothes.org, and sponsor a child. It could be a great way to teach your children about philanthropy, an awesome church group or club activity, or just a way to feel like you've done your good deed for the year.
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