Is it seriously almost that time already?! I can't even believe my kids go back to school on August 12th! I have a bone to pick with whoever is setting up the schedules… we haven't even had summer weather yet! But either way, I'm not far behind. My semester begins August 26th so I'm getting a head start on all our back to school shopping and I'd like to share my favorite finds with you. I am using affiliate links when possible, but this in no way influences my opinions or thoughts. 🙂
Back to School – For Me Too!
Save the Most Money:
Step 1: Shop Online
Sign up for these: I do almost all our shopping online. With reward programs that offer cash back like Mr. Rebates, Ebates and Big Crumbs, plus racking up more points on my credit cards, I can't see the benefit of getting out of my PJ's and having to actually go to a store. Another great option is shopping through Upromise. I have the toolbar installed in my web browser so I know when cash back is offered all the time. With Upromise, all your cash back is saved for college. You can even designate how to split it between kids! This is what mine looks like right now:After you've created accounts with all the sites mentioned above, consult evreward.com before you shop. Every time. Simply enter your desired shopping destination and it will show you which reward site has the best offer.
Sign up for Amazon Student: This is freaking awesome. All you need is your school email account. With Amazon Student you get the benefits of Amazon Prime (which includes free 2 day shipping) FREE for 6 months! Then, after those 6 months, you can join Prime for 50% off! This is just fantastic when buying your textbooks…
About those textbooks… I almost always buy mine through Amazon. I have found that I save around $300 each semester this way. Our campus bookstore has yet to beat Amazon's prices and with their buy back options, it's really a win-win. I keep a lot of my texts for future reference, but the ones I won't need I simply sell them back to Amazon with ONE CLICK!
Back to school clothes: There's just something so great about having a fresh start. You've got new teachers, new supplies, now you just need to look your best. This goes for adults and the kids. When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you are more focused, positive and ready to learn. Looking great doesn't have to cost a fortune either. Zulily is my new favorite for the whole family. I can get a Jessica Simpson jacket that typically costs over $220, for $50 for me, a sweet Oakley polo for Adam for $40 (originally $75) and an adorable dress for Ches for $26 (originally $62)! (These are all pictured below.) They also have cool back to school stuff like brand name shoes, Scholastic supplies, school uniforms and more that change everyday!
Adult students: You should probably have a laptop. I have gone 3 years now without one and am at my wits end. I could be so much more productive if I was able to knock out some homework or a blog post on the go. Sitting at Adam's Taekwondo practice, or Chesney's gymnastics class are prefect opportunities to get some stuff done. Even on campus, when I'm stuck with a couple hours between classes, there is not always a computer open in the lab. This is crazy frustrating!
Now, I am a PC girl… I built my badas$ desktop a couple years ago and it's like my baby. However, when it comes to tablets and laptops, I really don't think Apple can be beat. I am actually buying a MacBook Air this week!!! I'm so excited I can't even stand it!
Step 2: Organization
When you're an adult student with work and kids on top of your heavy class load, organization is absolutely key. These are some of my favorite little things that help me stay on track:
Post It Tabs: I use these simple little things everywhere! I label each chapter in my textbooks and do the same for my notes. It makes studying so much easier being able to flip around with ease. For just a couple bucks, they are pretty sweet and I reuse them numerous times before they lose their stickiness.
Binders: I put almost everything in binders. Dividers with pockets are the best but I always end up over stuffing them. So these expandable ones are pretty sweet.
My Favorite iPad/iPhone Apps
Note Moka Pro – It's just $4.99 and you can upload all the instructor's notes (almost all mine use PowerPoint) and then take your own notes directly on the slides. I have been using this on my iPad for the last 3 years and it's simply AMAZING.
DownCount – I paid 99 cents for this and it's super simple but totally worth it. You create your own count down timers and I love using it for motivation. I use this for school projects, fitness goals and to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Available for iPhone and iPad.
PiggyBot – This one has my kids so inspired to get their chores and homework done it's like a miracle. It's a FREE allowance app that reminds parents to disperse funds into 3 different areas: to spend, to save and to share. The kids can then create savings goals and earn badges when they've achieved them.
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