The end of summer vacation: How to begin preparing for the fall semester

College campusWe’re nearing the end of summer and you know what that means — the beginning of a new school year! While you may not be as excited as some of us (OK, maybe it’s just me), you will have to do a bit of work to organize yourself for the upcoming fall semester. Prepare now and you’ll be thanking yourself later!

First things, first

You’re going to need to get back into a normal sleeping routine before your semester actually starts. It’s a good rule of thumb to give your body at least a week before your semester begins to get acclimated with waking up earlier than you’re probably doing right now.

Not sure what to do with the extra time in the morning? How about:

  • Getting a quick workout in before the senior citizens take all the good machines
  • Cooking a healthy breakfast before running out the door for errands or work
  • Catching up on your favorite blogs
  • Getting your Crock Pot meals ready for the week (see recipe ideas below)

Take inventory of school supplies and clothing

Before you run off to the mall to hit the sales, be sure to take inventory of your closet and take note of what you actually need rather than buying the latest styles just because. If you have plenty of “new season” items hanging around that you don’t wear much, look for a second-hand clothing and accessory shop like Plato’s Closet that purchases gently used and new items from individual sellers. Consider purchasing new wardrobe items from them to save cash, too!

Don’t waste money and time running to several office supplies stores if you don’t need more paper and pens. You can reuse notebooks and binders by tearing out last semester’s notes and repurposing them for this semester’s classes. Don’t forget to check with older siblings and friends who have graduated but may still be holding onto school supplies.

Special back-to-school offers

If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the states that offers a back-to-school tax holiday, you may want to save your shopping for the days when you’ll be able to purchase select school supplies (including computers, printers, modems, etc.) clothing (under $100 a piece in most states) and household goods tax-free! Check out Forbes’ list of exemptions on their July 31, 2012, post titled, “Time to Stock Up on Guns & School Supplies: States Announce Sales Tax Holidays” by Kelly Phillips Erb. You definitely won’t want to miss out on the special tax-free weekends for your state. And remember, you don’t have to be a resident of the state to benefit from the offer! If you’re close enough — it’d be worth the drive!

Whatcha got cookin’?

If you have a Pinterest account you’ve probably seen several amazing lunch and dinner recipes being pinned left and right. So, how can you actually motivate yourself to find time to prepare them while in the swing of the school year? How about prepping three weeks’ worth now, before the semester begins? All you’ll need is a slow cooker and this post from Jaima at Ring Around the Rosies on February 7, 2012, titled “Freezer Cooking.”

Are quick lunch ideas more of what you’re looking for to get you through the week? Any of these suggestions from the post “25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas” by blogger Jane Osterlind on October 5, 2011, for Wise Bread could be prepared for the week on Sunday night, but are quick enough to throw together before you head off to class in the morning.

Now that you’ve got a handle on what you need to do to prepare yourself for the new school year, you may want to check into what classes you’re taking so you can look into getting your textbooks early!

Rent or buy textbooks at

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