You can–and must–resist the Target back-to-school sale.

It’s July 1 as I write this. I walk into Target with one mission: dish towels. Mine are clean, but stained with god-knows-what and tons of holes but who cares because they still work, right? Teacher towels. It’s kind of gross taking them out in front of guests, but everyone knows they’re teacher towels…

I read an article in Martha Stewart about how to organize my antique linen closet. I learned some people have seasonal linens. They swap out their matching towels, linens, and everything as decorations. They have several sets–spring, fall, Christmas, Halloween…

Not me. I just have “teacher towels.”  But not for much longer. I’ve decided to upgrade. I’m going to Target.

I walk in for dish towels and if I see something I like, I’ll get a few bath towel sets, too. On the way out the door, I get asked for Oreos and liquid soap. When I leave Target, I have dish towels, cashews, liquid soap, and Oreos. I skipped the bath towels.  Mission successful!

Target can be a dangerous place for teachers. That dollar section at the front of the store has everything you never knew you needed for your classroom–bins, pads, pencils, buckets, glasses and jars. There are signs and posters, and colorful things that can brighten up even the worst-painted class… all for a dollar or two each.

There are stickers, rewards, gifts, and certificates. With ten or twenty dollars you can score a pretty nifty pile of incentives for your classroom.

Resist!!! Walk on by!

Starting the first week of July, Target will be fully stocked for Back-to-School. You want to resist that too. Here’s what I’d normally get:

  • about 50 notebooks (depending if they were priced below the Staples and Walmart prices)
  • Pencils
  • Glue sticks
  • Pens
  • Sticky notes
  • …a million other things…

Don’t do it. If you give yourself permission to get “one or two things for class” you will spend half a car payment. You’ll finance your class again. This year’s going to be different. This year instead of that bullet list for class, we’re making bullet lists for us:

  • Pay down student loan debt.
  • Pay off credit cards
  • Buy some new (back to school) clothes for you.
  • Take the family on vacation.
  • Pay off the car (or replace it if it’s old).
  • Invest.
  • Buy a bitcoin
  • Buy a drink with a fancy umbrella or some high-quality beer
  • Save for a rainy day.
  • Get yourself flowers
  • Go out for coffee
  • Have a nice date night
  • Go to a spa
  • Replace your teacher towels.

If you go into Target at all, go with a list–YOUR list: “Dish towels.”  “Cleaner.” Get those. Leave.

Write the amount you saved on the No-Spend Summer Challenge Logsheet

Watch the total grow!