Ruthie Garcia estimates she spends $400 on everything her two youngest children need to go back to school.
By the time she buys clothes, shoes, supplies and additional items requested by teachers, such as Ziploc bags and hand sanitizer, she said she could easily spend $200 per child.
“I am so thankful for uniforms in so many ways,” she said.
Her children, 9-year-old Sophie and 7-year-old Gabriel, will be back in school at Heritage Academy on Thursday.
A weekend ago, Garcia started her shopping at Target, checking items off her list such as crayons and index cards.
Of course, Sophie and Gabriel just want the cool school supplies other children crave.
Gabriel wants anything to do with cars and the movie Cars. They both like the Minions from Despicable Me, and Sophie wants anything that’s girly. Sparkles, fluff, bling and pink all fit her style.
“They are really obsessed with mechanical pencils, oddly enough,” Garcia said.
Stephanie Craven said her two children – Emily, 10, and Alex, 8 – are also fascinated with mechanical pencils.
“They go to the school store and buy lead for a quarter,” she said.
Emily, who will be a fifth grader at Belair-Martinez Elementary School this year, wants her name embroidered on everything, and things that can’t be embroidered, such as notebooks, she wants to personalize with patterned duct tape.
Both want Trapper Keepers.
As for fashion, Alex wants anything Under Armor or Nike, she said. Emily likes dresses and anything from Justice, Craven said.
As far as supplies go, much of Craven’s school shopping is already done. When supplies went on clearance last year, she filled her cart with pencils, paper and other staples. She stores them in a plastic container and will pull things out as the kids need them.
She will pick up anything specific the children need in their new grades, but she is stocked up on the basics.
“I have like 99 pencils,” she said with a laugh. “Every little bit helps.”
At Staples on Robert C. Daniel Parkway, merchandise manager Anthony Frost said most people are asking for the typical supplies and what’s on sale.
But he has noticed that neon items are selling really well, as are bracelet USBs that are new to the store this year.
“We’ve got a new Lego brand of school supplies,” he said.
For instance, some of the items are pencil cases and erasers that look like Lego blocks. The shipment of Lego-themed items just came in, and Frost expects them to be popular.
“I know my kids would want it.”