Aug. 12 is the first day of school and it is right around the corner. Have you begun to prepare for the start of school? In addition to needing school clothes and shoes, supplies are needed.

I went to the school websites and the list of needed supplies is fairly long. Begin buying these supplies now so they don't take too big a hit out of your budget all at once. Staples, Wal-Mart and other stores all have been advertising different school supplies on sale each week.

Additionally, Florida's back-to-school sales tax holiday is scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 2-4. This weekend helps tremendously with the larger purchases, such as clothes, shoes, backpacks and so on.

I was amazed at some of the low prices the stores are offering. Make sure to look online and get the list you need as well as look at the weekly sales specials.

Families can save a great deal of money by purchasing these items on sale and in bulk. I found 12 dozen Ticonderoga pencils on the Wal-Mart website for a great price. If you have more than one child, this makes sense as most classes want four to six dozen pencils per child for the year. These pencils were less than a dollar a dozen in bulk.

Just watch the ads and purchase wisely.

If you can't afford some or all of the needed supplies, contact your local church or the Salvation Army and ask them to direct you to resources that help out with school supplies.

If your family can afford it, please pick up extra supplies and donate them to your child's teacher, as there are always families that can't afford all of the needed items.

This is a kind thing to do and helps relieve financial stress on the teacher. Most teachers end up buying hundreds of dollars of supplies out of their personal money to ensure that their students have the proper supplies.

When I taught school, we were provided with copy paper, but our school district requires the teachers to supply their own. Throughout the year, it would be a kind gesture to take a few reams of plain copy paper to your children's teachers as they will surely need it. You might also ask what other supplies they are running low on and help out with those.

We pray that all of our teachers and children have a safe and successful 2019-2020 school year.

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.