The summer is winding down and parents are starting to prepare themselves and their kids to head back to school. People may be wondering when school begins in Houston and surrounding neighborhoods. Houston ISD begins August 27 while others like Katy start as early as August 15. This is the point where parents start saying "where did the summer go?"
If you're new to Houston, you might be curious how things work in this area. Where to buy school supplies, find back to school deals and shop for school clothes. For example, our climate can be warm through Halloween. So stocking up on fall/winter clothes for back-to-school is not recommended since kids will probably grow by then!
Here are five tips to help you survive back-to-school prep with your family:
1. Find cheap school supplies by comparing prices
Many grocery/drug/office supply stores have a super cheap item you need on your back-to-school list to get you in the store. Whether it's 1₵ reams of paper, composition books or crayons, you'll find items rotate with each weekly ad. Plan your shopping based on the sales items you need.
2. Save money on back to school clothes by visiting thrift/consignment stores
Save on back to school outfits by shopping gently used clothing for kids. Of course kids will clamor for a new outfit, but stocking up on some of the basic essentials (jeans, t-shirts) from a thrift store can make your money go further. In Houston, consider stores such as Once Upon a Child, Crayons Children's Resale and Plato's Closet. My teen daughter enjoys shopping at thrift stores such as Buffalo Exchange or Sand Dollar in the Heights.
3. Use technology to find back to school deals
Easily browse the weekly back to school deals on your Smartphone thanks to Flipp app. You can search by store, item or percent off sale. Tapping an item will add it to your shopping list. You'll find all kinds of stores' weekly flyers including Target, Walmart, Office Depot, Walgreens, Kroger and more. Stores also are offering customers the option to order online and pick up in the store. If you have lots of kids in tow, this might be a simple and easy way to get your school supplies.
4. Watch for freebies
How about a free haircut? Remington College Cosmetology's back-to-school program, Cuts for Kids, is for students age 17 and under. Instructors and students provide free haircuts at two Houston-area locations the month of August. Make an appointment or walk in for free cuts before school starts. Be sure to confirm the specific hours available at each location.
Remington College also is holding a school supply drive collecting basic supplies for local schools. Anyone who brings in a donation can get a free haircut, pedicure or manicure themselves! In the last eight years, Remington has provided more than 17,000 free haircuts in its Cuts for Kids program, which is in it’s 10th year as of 2018.
5. Get your children immunizations for free
Children's Museum of Houston is offering its annual free back-to-school immunizations for children 6 weeks to 18 years this summer. Each Thursday in August families can get kids immunized for free during the museum's Free Family Night. The first 150 people will be eligible for the free shots from 5 pm – 7 pm. No registration required. Parents must bring their child's shot records to qualify for free immunizations. These are for standard immunizations including flu shot.
Houston Fire Department also is hosting free shots in August, and the remainder of the year as well. This is for uninsured and Medicaid children. They are not able to service children with CHIP insurance.
Harris Health System also has free immunizations in August through its TroubleShooters Immunization Program nearly every day. Learn more about the program here.