Summer is coming to a close and the time for back to school is here. It can seem like a frantic time of transition and the to-do list never ends. How can you reclaim your time and keep your sanity? Here’s how to make your life easier (and more frugal!) for back to school.

1. Pack lunches ahead of time 

You already know the mornings are rough trying to get your kids out the door. Why have the added stress of having to pack lunches in the morning? Instead, spend 5-10 minutes the night before, and pack a sandwich, fruit, granola bar, and string cheese. Making that small investment the night before can save you a lot of trouble in the morning. It will also make sure your kid doesn’t go hungry or is forced to spend money at school getting a cafeteria lunch. 

2. Batch cook 

After a full day of taking kids to school and picking them up, working, cleaning, and doing errands the last thing in the world you want to do is cook. You know how it goes. Getting pizza is a great solution sometimes, but you know you can’t do it every day.

Instead, focus on batch cooking on Sundays so you have meals for the week. You can do something like chili in a Crock-Pot or Instant Pot, soups, casseroles and more. You can also cook meat in bulk and freeze some of it and cut up veggies to use throughout the week if you want to tweak your meal. If you want to make some meals different, add hot sauce and avocado! Those are my go-tos.

3. Have a chore calendar 

If your kids are old enough, you can get them to help around the house. Create a chore calendar for you and your family and give your kids tasks to do. They can sweep, or wipe down counters, or take out the trash, etc. 

This not only takes more off of you but also teaches them discipline and the power of work. Create a chore calendar, which outlines the tasks by day and who is assigned to that particular chore. After dinner, have everyone spend some time on chores to keep everything moving along. A chore calendar can make your life easier and make sure all of the chores are actually done. 

4. Prepare clothes the night before 

To help limit the morning straggling, prepare your outfit for the next day the night before. You can do this for yourself and also your children. That way there are no extra decisions to make in the morning when you’re just waking up and rushing. It’ll make the day run smoother and easier, without the extra wasted minutes of looking in your closet wondering, “What should I wear?”

5. Meal plan 

Another thing you can do to make your life easier for back to school is to have a set meal plan. Your batch cooking can be a part of that but with a meal plan, you plan ahead for all of your meals. So, maybe every morning you’ll have oatmeal and three times a week for dinner you’ll have chili. Having your meals planned out can help you avoid eating out and make everything easier so you don’t have to agonize over what to eat.

6. Have a bedtime routine

You know that the success of the morning will rely on getting you and your children to bed at a reasonable hour. In order to do that, it’s key to have a bedtime routine for you and the kids. Make sure you have no screens at least one to two hours before bed. Get them brushing their teeth and their clothes out for the next day and get into bed at a reasonable hour. 

If you can, have some time for yourself with a book or just some alone time so you can get a good night’s rest. 

7. Have a dedicated area for paperwork and homework

Have you ever been running around the house looking for that one thing your kids need for school? Have you ever felt like your kids’ homework was everywhere? Instead of dealing with that chaos, create a dedicated area for backpacks and lunches and keep them in the same place every day. 

And, just like you might have a work station, create an area for your kids to do their homework. Having set spaces for school items and homework can keep a routine and make it easier to find things.

8. Have a to-do folder 

To make your life easier, create a to-do folder which holds things like permission slips, school paperwork, homework review, etc. Each night, do the most urgent things in the folder and only take them out of the folder once they’re completed. This can help you stay organized and make your life easier with less hassle. On top of that, it can make sure important paperwork doesn’t slip through the cracks. 

9. Buy supplies and snacks in bulk 

You never want to run out of school supplies and realize it at night when the stores are closed. Buy school supplies that your kids use consistently in bulk and buy multiples of things that might be used frequently. You can buy some after-school snacks in bulk as well from places like Costco so that there is always something on hand when the kids get home. The key is to buy things in bulk that you know you will use and make sure you get the most cost-per-use out of it. 

Bottom line 

Back to school time is stressful. There are so many things to manage and you want to stay on top of it all. To make your life easier, use these nine tips to make back to school time easier and less stressful. 

What would you add to the list?

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