Tips & how-tos

Back-to-School on a Budget

Written by Shannon Toliver

Summer vacation is quickly coming to an end and neighbors across the country are headed back to school. For families and teachers alike, back-to-school preparation can weigh heavily on their wallets – every year, households spend more and more on new supplies, clothes, books, and electronics (National Retail Federation).  

But before breaking the bank, Nextdoor has some pro tips to prep for the new school year on a budget by simply reaching out to your local community. 

For families: 

  1. Get thrifty ? Before buying new, check the For Sale & Free section on Nextdoor for second-hand supplies, or get together with neighbors to exchange clothes and school uniforms that your kids have outgrown. College students can also save some serious moolah by finding great deals on Nextdoor to furnish a new dorm or apartment!
  2. Buy in bulk ✏️ If you do need to take a trip to the store, team-up with your neighbors to buy in bulk and share the bounty. Sharing is caring!
  3. Organize a carpool to save time and money ? Most of the kids in your neighborhood likely attend the same school, so connect with your neighbors on Nextdoor to divvy up the trips and take turns with dropoff and pickup.
  4. Share childcare services ?? Coordinate with nearby neighbors by posting on Nextdoor to find a convenient after school babysitter you can all share until everyone gets off work. Not only will your child make new friends, but you could meet parents with similar interests.

For teachers:

  1. Build your library ? As students grow older and teachers retire, there is likely a surplus of books in your neighborhood awaiting a new home. A post on Nextdoor is an easy way to reach local families and teachers at once.
  2. Gather supplies ✂️ Providing for a whole classroom can seem intimidating and expensive. Don’t fret – take a look at the For Sale & Free section on Nextdoor for second-hand deals or post to your nearby neighborhoods to collect specific donations. 
  3. Work your side hustle ? Make the most of your teaching talents and earn some extra cash by offering after school and weekend tutoring. “Neighbors for hire” can create a free Nextdoor Business Page to allow neighbors to easily find and recommend their services to others.
  4. Bonus tip: Learn about your community ? A scroll through Nextdoor can help you stay apprised of local happenings, events, and important safety information. Also, parents love a familiar face – introduce yourself to the neighborhood before the first day of school!

By reaching out to your community, you may even get more than you bargained for. When 5th grade teacher Ms. Rodarte posted on Nextdoor to help collect some books for her El Paso, TX elementary school, she received five full bins of donations in just one day! 

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Ms. Degucz, a kindergarten teacher in Denver, CO, posts on Nextdoor each year to collect various items for her students, including building blocks, felt boards, and legos. This year, Ms. Degucz gathered enough classroom donations to fill her car to the brim, sharing, “I’m so thankful to the community and the neighborhoods for all the help they give.” 

Story from CBS Denver

What are your back-to-school pro tips? Share with us in the comments below!

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  • I really need help with clothes, sneakers , and school supplies for 2boys and one girl. If anyone knows of any organizations that can donate any of these items . my name is Lisa Gray , my # is 914-943-1500
    My gmail is I truly appreciate any help. God bless.

  • I’m currently out of work . I was a home health aide for over 10 years . I lost my job due to a car accident that happened 2 years ago. My unemployment ran out and I’ve been looking for work that does not require strenuous work. I have 3 children that are in the grades of 8th, 10th and 12th. It’s been really hard for me to buy them clothes, sneakers, and school supplies. I feel really like a failure that I cannot provide these stuff for them. I reached out to the social worker at RJ bailey school and her name is Mrs Houston. She told me that she will look into any organizations that can help me. If anyone knows of anyone or any organizations that can help me get any clothes , sneakers and school supplies for my children I will be truly grateful. I have 2 boys and one girl. My first son is a size 30 waist 32 length in pants , size small in men shirt and size 9 in men sneakers. 2nd son is a size 12-14 in pants , size medium in boys and size 7’in men’s sneakers . and my girl is a size 2 in pants and a small in woman’s shirts and a size 3 in a half in sneakers . Thank you for taking the time for reading this. God bless .

    • Where r u from? In madrid we have a place called greater love….everything is free, they dont always have what u need but they have all sizes of clothes, shoes, and misc. stuff for your household. It’s like a huge garage sale….but free?

    • Hi,
      You are not a failure! Many people are in the same/similar situation as you are.
      When someone is loosening their job or couldn’t work from health issues, hard to recover…..and that recovery is a slow process, but as you do, you do your best and found a way to support your family.
      My suggestion is Offerup. They have many free stuff as well. Hope you found, you need.

  • Where r u from? In madrid we have a place called greater love….everything is free, they dont always have what u need but they have all sizes of clothes, shoes, and misc. stuff for your household. It’s like a huge garage sale….but free?

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