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How to get your family ready for school

Back-to-school sales are in full force.

And area sales tax holidays are happening this week, eliminating sales tax on certain clothing and other items as families prepare to send kids back to school:

Back-to-school shopping: By the numbers infographicWisconsin’s Sales Tax Holiday is Wednesday-Sunday, Aug. 1-5.
Iowa’s Annual Sales Tax Holiday is Friday-Saturday, Aug. 3-4.

To help you gear up for another school year, we’ve asked some of the staff at Dupaco to share their favorite back-to-school hacks that make life easier for their families:

[1] Use online shopping tools

“As a single parent, making time to shop for school supplies can be challenging. Target’s School List Assist has been a lifesaver for me. I choose my kids’ school list from their registry, and it automatically helps me fill my cart. Then I place my order online and pick it up in the store. No more dealing with crowds or searching shelves for that elusive purple folder every year!”

—Brad Schweikert, senior digital experience architect at Dupaco’s Saratoga Road branch in Asbury, Iowa

Related: Tips to save on school supplies

[2] Boost your kids’ brain power

“We do a chain countdown starting Aug. 1 and Back-to-School Brain Busters. We have a kindergartener and second grader this year, so we’ll focus on days of the week, telling time, reading and spelling words. They love to compete against each other, so we do ‘timed tests.’ We also spend a day at the school’s playground—eating lunch and letting them go crazy on the playground to get them excited to go back to school!”

—Shelby Connolly, member service representative II at Dupaco’s Hy-Vee branch in Dubuque, Iowa

[3] Practice that school routine

“As soon as August hits, we get our bedtime and morning routines started again. The kids lay out their outfits the night before, so we don’t have to worry about who is wearing what, pack lunches, start setting alarms again (rather than wait for mom or dad to wake them up) and practice getting out of the house on time. Little things like finding shoes and library books the night before are a huge help in our house. That way we aren’t going crazy five minutes before it’s time to leave in the morning!”

—Abbey Pollard, teller service associate at Dupaco’s Dubuque branches

[4] Incorporate learning into daily activities

“We visit the library every Saturday in the summer and have a blast with new books. We also use our library books to settle down at night time, and I read my book right along with them so they see mommy enjoying a book as well. We use grocery shopping time to add money and subtract money, count items and have fun guessing how much we spent by how well the girls added up the items in their heads.”

—Jeannette Fessler, teller service associate at Dupaco’s Pennsylvania branch in Dubuque

Related: Teaching kids the value of a dollar

[5] Save year-round for school shopping

Don’t let the back-to-school expenses sneak up on you. Take advantage of Dupaco’s You Name It Savings accounts to systematically save from your payroll or checking account, so you’ve got a head start on next year’s back-to-school shopping!

Related: Budget now for next year

What are your go-to moves that help your family be prepared for another school year?