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Help, my kids' school supply list ate our groceries!

To paraphrase all the gripes I've been reading from mom friends on Facebook: Whatever happened to the days when all you needed for school was a few notebooks, some pencils and maybe a cute pencil case if you got lucky?

Now that both of my kids are in middle school, each class has its own supplies list, with specific color and size demands. As a result, we have spent most of summer tracking down pens and highlighters in different colors, Duo-Tang folders in different colors, #2 pencils, mechanical pencils, colored pencils, markers … how many writing utensils do you possibly need for 7th grade?

Post-it notes? Really?

I don't know how I ever made it through school without my own three-hole puncher, mini-stapler and white-out tape.

There are 44 items on one daughter's list, 45 on the other's.

Between my two daughters, we have purchased three 1 ½-inch binders and seven 1-inch binders, which probably all together weigh about 15 pounds. We were told to buy 11 packs of college-rule notebook paper and a total of 50 dividers on the same lists that require memory sticks, which seems contradictory to me.

I am trying to be The Good Mom Who Follows The Rules, but we've easily spent more than $300 on some ridiculously specific demands. And that's not counting the 20 different reading list books that cost another $100. (We can't just check them out of the library anymore because the kids are required to highlight and write in the book margins.) That bill also doesn't include the new backpacks we had to get (the old ones fell apart after toting all those school supplies around last year).

Looks like we won't be eating this week unless I find some new way to prepare crayons with 3x5 index cards.

According to Huntington Bank's 2012 "Backpack Index," the average annual cost for school supplies for an elementary school student is $548, while sending the average high school student back to school can now cost more than $1,000. No amount of coupons, tax-free weekends or back-to-school sales can ease that sticker pain.

I'm starting to think most of these teachers own stock in Office Depot.

Each year these lists seem to get longer and longer. Teachers, I'm not bashing you. I know it's tough out there. I just wish some of you would set aside your Container Store fetishes and remember to have mercy on those of us who also have it rough.

I have a nice, new sticky note to leave you a reminder. What color would you like that in?

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