Find the Perfect Backpack for Everyone at eBags

Find the Perfect Backpack for Everyone at eBags

Carrying the biggest brands in backpacks – JanSport, The North Face, Adidas, High Sierra, and more – eBags has the perfect backpack for kids of all ages.

Here are a few of our favorite picks for preschoolers, elementary schoolers, and middle schoolers.

Toddler & Preschool: Stephen Joseph Mini Sidekick Backpack

If you’re looking for a backpack with as much personality as your child, look no further! Fun and functional, this backpack is the perfect size for your little one to carry to school and hold all his or her day-to-day items.


Elementary School: Half Pint Mini Backpack 12.3”

When the classic Jansport backpack is too big for your elementary schooler, this half pint mini backpack is perfect. Keep schoolwork, pens, and other school essentials safe and secure.


Middle School: Striker II Backpack

With after school sports and homework, your middle schooler needs a bag that can keep up with his or her activities. This Adidas backpack has three zippered compartments to keep gear and schoolwork organized and padded shoulder straps for added comfort.



10 Essentials Your College Student Needs for Back to School

10 Essentials Your College Student Needs for Back to School

Back to school season is here for our college students. Many parents don’t know what to send with their college kids, but they need back to school supplies just as much as anyone else. If you’re sending your student off to college soon, here’s a list of 10 essentials they’ll need for back to school.

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Preparing for Back to School on a Tight Budget

Preparing for Back to School on a Tight Budget

Who doesn’t have a tight budget when getting ready for school? The schools expect you to whip out supplies, clothes and shoes are needed, and it all seems to add up very quickly. It is possible to prepare for school on a tight budget and here’s how you do it.

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Take Advantage of Your State’s Tax Free Shopping Days

Take Advantage of Your State’s Tax Free Shopping Days

Back to school shopping is my favorite shopping season of the year since I work on Christmas and birthday gifts all year long to make it less painful on the budget.  One of the best ways to save another 7% to 10% right off the top (depending on where you live) is to plan ahead and shop on your state’s tax free shopping days. Many states have tax-free shopping weekends in August, where customers don’t pay sales tax on items like school supplies, electronics and clothing.  Use the list below to find out if your state has a tax-free weekend and what items it exempts. Most of the information below is courtesy of and I’d recommend verifying each state through the links provided.

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Tasty Tuesday: Fun and Healthy School Lunches

Tasty Tuesday: Fun and Healthy School Lunches

One of my kids’ favorite things to shop for during back to school season is a new lunch box. Well making their lunches fun too is a great way to keep them from trading it for somebody else’s goodies. These fabulous lunch box ideas are fun, delicious and healthy at the same time, plus they’re easy to put together and your kiddos are sure to love them!

1) PB&J Chick Rollups

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a classic lunch box staple but these cute PB&J Chick Rollups from Bentology are a beautiful way to present an old favorite.

2) Lady Bug Pasta

Use a theme for your kids’ lunch boxes or give old favorites new names like this Lady Bug Pasta Salad from Momables that features black olives and cherry tomatoes.

3) Banana Dog Bites

A new twist on a peanut butter and banana sandwich, these Banana Dog Bites from Weelicious are fast and easy to make and will please even the pickiest eaters.

4) Waffle Sandwiches

Something as simple as using novel ingredients instead of bread, like these Waffle Sandwiches from Huffington Post, will keep your kids lunches from becoming boring and monotonous.

5) Pizza Muffins

Using refrigerated pizza dough makes these Pizza Muffins from Really From Pinterest super fast and easy to make. They’re also very portable and a batch is enough for a couple of kids.

6) Lunch Box Figures

This photo gallery of adorable lunch box figures from Boing Boing includes a Goofy Sandwich, a Swiss cheese Sponge Bob, Snoopy, Angry Birds and bunch more characters to entertain your kiddos.

7) Healthy Lunch Ideas

The Organic Kitchen shares several healthy lunch box ideas as well as creative ways to use leftovers. The variety presented will keep your kids happy and you’ll be pleased to know they’re eating a lunch that’s both healthy and delicious.

I highly recommend Plan to Eat for a great place to store all your favorite recipes! Check it out with a free trial and see how easy it is to add recipes from the Internet, plan meals for your family and even print out a handy grocery list.


Take Advantage of Your State’s Tax Free Shopping Days

Back to school shopping is my favorite shopping season of the year since I work on Christmas and birthday gifts all year long so it’s less painful to the budget.  One of the best ways to save another 7% to 10% right off the top (depending on where you live) is to plan ahead and shop on your state’s tax free shopping days. Many states have tax-free shopping weekends in August, where customers don’t pay sales tax on items like school supplies, electronics and clothing.  Use the list below to find out if your state has a tax-free weekend and what items it exempts. Dollar amounts in parentheses indicate the maximum cost for which an item can be tax-free. Most of the information below is courtesy of and I’d recommend verifying each state through the links provided.

Alabama: Aug. 7-9, clothing ($100), computers ($750), school supplies ($50), books ($30)

Arkansas: Aug. 1-2, clothing ($100), school supplies (no limit listed)

Connecticut: Aug. 16-22, clothing and footwear ($100)

Florida: Aug. 7-16, cchool supplies (no limit listed), clothing ($100), supplies ($15), computers ($750)

Georgia: July 31 – Aug.1, school supplies (no limit listed), clothing ($100), supplies ($20), computers ($1,000)

IowaAug. 7-8, clothing ($100)

Louisiana: Aug. 7-8 All Tangible Personal Property, which usually refers to stuff that you could take with you somewhere, such as furniture, art, clothing and household items ($2,500)

Maryland: Aug. 9-15, clothing  and footwear ($100)

Mississippi: July 31 – Aug. 1, clothing and footwear ($100)

Missouri: Aug. 7-9, clothing ($100), computers ($3,500), school supplies ($50)

New Mexico: Aug. 7-9, clothing ($100), computers ($1,000), computer equipment ($500), school supplies ($30)

Ohio: Aug. 7-9, clothing ($75), school supplies ($20), instructional material ($20)

Oklahoma: Aug. 7-9, clothing ($100)

South Carolina: Aug. 7-9, clothing (no limit listed), school supplies (no limit listed), computers (no limit listed)

Tennessee: Aug. 7-9, clothing ($100), school supplies ($100), computers ($1,500)

Texas: Aug. 7-9, clothing, backpacks and school supplies ($100)

Virginia: Aug. 7-9, clothing ($100), school supplies ($20), energy star products ($2,500), hurricane preparedness items ($60), generators ($1,000)

Photo Credit: © Sandshack33 | Dreamstime.comBack To School Shopping Photo


Save a Bundle on Back to School Expenses by Planning Ahead

Kids with Back to School Supplies

Our back to school expenses each year add up pretty fast between the lengthy school supply lists the teachers give us, new shoes, backpacks and clothes. That could be a big hit to the budget all at once if I didn’t plan ahead for each year’s expenses in advance. Check out the HUGE bags of back to school supplies my kids had to take last year! Altogether the cost of those five bags of supplies was less than $30!

Ever since my children started school I started buying school supplies for the following year, so that when the next year came all I had to do is fill in with a few things that may have been added to the list.  Here is how this works:

Starting in early July everybody is doing school supply sales, and some stores, like Office Depot, do 1 cent sales on a few items, or 25 cent sales on a few items to get people into the store.  As an example, last week Office Depot had 3-pack pink school erasers, reg. $2.49 for 1 cent each (limit 3), hand held pencil sharpener, reg. $1.00 for 1 cent each (limit 3) and bottles of school glue, reg. $1.49 for 25 cents each (limit 3).  Because I have 5 children to buy for, this is the time for teamwork with my mom and me.  We each get the limit of the 1 cent and 25 cent items, plus another item to make a total of $5.00 (must have $5.00 purchase to get the “next to free” items).  That’s all we bought, because in  next weeks’ paper there will be more of those type deals.  In previous years we have gotten packs of notebook paper for 25 cents each, duo tang 3 prong/2 pocket folders for 8 cents each, composition notebooks for 25 cents each , spiral 1 subject notebooks for 25 cents, crayons for 10 cents, packs of pencils for 10 cents, B1G1 backpacks and so on.

About 6 weeks ago, Office Depot had a special “deal” – their  3 ream cases of copy paper were on sale for $10.01 – then if you had a “reward” card with them, you got $10 back in reward money, making the cost of the 3 reams of paper only ONE CENT!  I bought 3 of the deals in June, then in July got my reward money of $30, so actually got 9 reams of copy paper for 3 cents.  SCORE!  Now I have enough copy paper to send a pack to school with each of the children, and have 4 left for me!

I figure the TOTAL cost of school supplies for my 5 children (4 elementary school and 1 middle school this year), is about $20-$25.  Check one of those school supply lists provided by the school and see what the costs would be at retail price!

If this is the first time for you to do this, here is my suggestion.  Keep the list of school supplies handy – check what your child needs THIS year, then look to see what will be needed NEXT year.  Each week check the papers to see what the special deals are (1 cent, 10 cents, 25 cents), and get THOSE items for this year and next year.  Find a shelf or cabinet to keep the ones for “next year” separate from what you need now.  As you purchase the various discounted items each week, your “next year” shelf will get fuller and fuller, until the time when school starts, you can see that you are NOW prepared for next year.  However, as it gets closer to school starting  and you have a few items like hand soap, paper towels, and other items that you still need, you can usually get some deals on them at a grocery store.

HOT TIP:  My children LOVE to make things, so I also try to get extra construction paper, glue, crayons, etc when they are super cheap to stock the “craft” shelf.

HOT TIP #2:  My childrens’ elementary school each year has a school supply drive to collect school supplies that they give to children in need.  This is a good cause that I collect additional items for at the “next to free” sales (if there are no limits on how many you can buy), so when the children bring home the papers that the school supply drive has started, I have a good number of items that I divide up between all the kids so they can each have a bag of school supplies for the needy kids.  I figure this is a good lesson in “giving” for my children and they love to carry those bags of school supplies to their teachers!

HOT TIP #3:  I just this minute got an email with a preview of  next weeks’ ad for Office Depot.  Guess what!!! Those bottles of school glue that I paid 25 cents for last week are one of the “get people into the store” deals next week for 1 CENT!  That’s ok, we’ll still need more glue, so Mom and I will each be getting 3 more bottles of school glue!  PLUS  3×5 index cards will be 1 cent (I need many packs of those, because I write the kids’ spelling words on them each week, so we can practice their words at home and in the car).  Also they will have their 10 pack pens for 1 cent each (each of the kids need either a pack of red or a pack of blue).  I noticed that there are also a number of 25 cent items.  WHOOHOO!!!  This is going to be a good week for school supplies!



Sponsored: Move to the “Head” of the Class – Visit for Head Lice Resources

The below content is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur’s Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice campaign on behalf of Mom Central ConsultingI received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Unfortunately, head lice are common in elementary schools – about one out of every 100 elementary school children becomes infested.

Most parents would agree, the letter home informing of a head lice outbreak is not a welcome sight. The question of “What do I do?” is common. Knowing the facts beforehand can help you resolve the situation quickly.

The Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice website aims to help you do just that. Created by head lice experts (and moms) for other moms, families and communities to learn about head lice—what they are, what they look like and how to treat them.

The site offers a variety of tools including:

So if you are trying to get rid of head lice, or a parent who always likes to be prepared, visit Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice for more information.


Back to School Shoe Shopping Tips

Back to School Shoe Shopping

Back to school shoe shopping is always painful for me, not just because I have five kids to buy for, but also because they have very different personalities and when faced with so many choices at the shoe store they have problems making up their minds. Plus, two of the kiddos were cursed with their mommy’s wide feet so even if they find something they like it usually isn’t available in the wide width that they need.

Back to School Shoe Shopping

Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to help take the pain out of shoe shopping for the kids. Instead of bringing all of them to the store with me, I trace each of their feet on a piece of paper. Then I use a shoe size chart that I downloaded from to determine what size they should be wearing. I like their chart the best because it also has wide width indicators.

Next I check out the newspaper and online for the best back to school shoe sales then I hit the store(s) with a list of sizes and the foot drawings for backup. I can then shop at my leisure without any begging or disappointment when they pick something that isn’t available in their size. Of course I keep in mind their favorite colors and I know who prefers Velcro to shoe strings so I can choose styles that will make them happy.

Many states have tax free shopping weekends for back to school, including Florida, so I wait until then to do the bulk of my shopping as that saves 7.5% right off the top. I also found a 20% off coupon for Shoe Station in the newspaper, plus they were having a big sale so I got everybody’s shoes with one stop today and I saved a bundle – score!


Back to School Savings from RetailMeNot

Disclosure Statement


Are you ready for all the back to school sales yet? I know it’s a little bit early but with five kids I sure don’t mind spreading the expense out a little longer since it’s less painful on the budget. You can save even more on all your back-to-school shopping needs at RetailMeNot , the largest digital coupon website in the United States. RetailMeNot has the hottest back-to-school bargains for students of any age. From preschool to grad school, they’ve got you covered.  Get ready to grab your list and save with the top coupons for school uniforms, books, laptops and more!

RetailMeNot Contest

They’re also having a great contest where a lucky teacher is going to win a classroom shopping spree. Do you know of a teacher that’s in need of supplies to better serve their students? If so, you can create a YouTube video nominating your favorite teacher to give them a chance to win a 3-minute Costco shopping spree provided by RetailMeNot! Check out the official rules and details here and be sure to submit your nomination by Saturday, August 10, 2013.

If you’re like me I know you’d love some more great offers!  Check out these great clearance sales for top brands, as well as awesome deals at local restaurants on pizza and more! Also, be sure to download the RetailMeNot Mobile Coupons App so you can receive deal alerts while you’re shopping at your favorite malls!


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