The Perfect After-School Snack: Homemade Granola Bars

Bake a pan of these snacks and you'll never go back to the boxed stuff. They're super-easy and fun to make with kids.

child reading

Finding the right book for your kid can be a …

child doing homework

My son came home from the first day of Grade …

  • Soon after the distribution of textbooks, kids are introduced to another rite of passage: covering them. Schools need to get as much mileage as possible from a supply of textbooks; they do this by asking kids to protect them in paper covers.

    A cover made from a cut-open brown paper bag does the trick quite well -- it withstands months of use -- but heavy construction paper, road maps, wrapping paper, or even scraps of wallpaper allow a kid to design custom covers, all of which are just as good, and sometimes better, at protecting books from bumps, scratches, or drippy servings of cheese fries.

    The method for covering a book remains the same as it ever was, but that isn't to say that a few stickers used for embellishment and reinforcement wouldn't be an improvement. If kids are too young to cover books themselves, enlist their help in choosing a style; once they're old enough to master the basic technique, encourage creativity for covers that are as unique as they are practical.

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  • By Elizabeth Sheer, Cheapism.com

    After paying for books, not to mention school itself, there isn't much left over for dorm room decor. But consider this a lesson in practicality. Once May rolls around, whatever is in the room must be cleared out, which is a giant incentive to decorate on the cheap. Many retailers -- Target, Walmart, and Ikea, among them -- are now running specials on dorm room gear. Some deals are worthwhile, some aren't. To help you budget wisely we asked several students to specify what they know to be the essentials; we then found promising sources.

    Related: Dollar store dorm essentials

    It's time to get ready for college!

    Bedding. No doubt you'll be spending lots of time in and on your bed, so make it attractive. Some students say it's important to coordinate with roommates, others are more individualistic. Target holds the edge in this category with a wild array of comforter sets starting at $18. Look for matching sheets and pillowcase at Walmart, where you'll find 200-count solid-color sets for les

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  • By Alyssa Goldman, Cheapism.com

    Even before setting foot on campus, college students already have their first assignment: Loading up with dollar store dorm essentials. Chains such as Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar General are giving major retailers like Walmart and Target a run for their money these days. And while dollar stores clearly have joined the mainstream, many shoppers wonder about product quality. We assembled a list of items every dorm room needs and identified some value options.

    Related: Where to find cheap college textbooks

    Dry Erase Board. College students typically like to make their impersonal dorm rooms feel like their own. Dry erase boards let them get creative and stay organized. At Dollar Tree, Jot Dry Erase Boards (with eraser-topped markers) go for $1 a piece with a minimum four-board order. The cheapest dry erase board we spotted at Target carries a $3.49 price tag and is available in store only while Walmart's website lists this dollar store dorm essen

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  • By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    We recently looked into the cheap back-to-school shopping phenomenon with an eye to suggestions about where find high quality yet cheap kids clothes. This year the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects back-to-school spending on new wearables, school supplies, and electronics to hit $27 billion -- that's an average of about $635 per family with kids in grades K-12. Of that amount, about $325 will go towards shoes and clothing.

    Our research found that at least on the cheap back-to-school clothes and shoes portion of your must-have list there's no need to spend a small fortune. By shopping at Walmart, for example, you can buy all the back-to-school clothes that two kids ages 7 to 10 need for slightly less than $220. We also found that certain stores offer the best value on particular types of clothing, such as JC Penney for uniforms.

    Related: Our full cheap back to school shopping guide

    Find the best place to shop for cheap back to school clothing.

    What to shop for. We checked out the wares in seven

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  • It's still the middle of summer, but it's not too early to think about heading back to school, with some schools starting up in mid to late August. Last year, the average parent with a K-5th grade student spent almost $100 on school supplies - a big chunk of change whatever your financial situation. In some families, kids don't have the ability to shop for snazzy new school supplies like a new backpack or a fresh pack of crayons, but many generous nonprofits and neighbors are stepping in to make sure these kids have what they need to learn. Many school supply drives run from mid-July to early August, so now's the time for you to take action.
    Here are six ways you can help make the back-to-school season a little brighter for homeless and low-income kids, awesome teachers, and your local community.

    1. Backpacks for the homeless
    Many homeless shelters collect school supplies for children. In Colorado alone, one in fifty kids is homeless, and far too many are struggling to get geared up for s

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