Tips on How to Survive Back-to-School Shopping

JanSport Big Student BookbagWhere in the world did the summer go? It seems like just yesterday, kids were just getting out for of school for the summer and now they are getting ready to go back. I

f you are like me, you are probably feeling a little stressed about getting your kids ready for school. There’s the time issue and the money issue, and I well remember how glad I was when it was over.

Here are some tips to help you cope with back to school shopping.

Make a list for each child of what they will need. I know our schools send out a list when they mail out the school schedule of what the kids will need to bring so add those items to the list. If you didn’t get a list or lost yours, the office supply stores have them.

Also we found as the kids got older, that the individual teachers would have their own list of things separate from the “official” list sent out, so put aside a little money for after school starts when you will have to buy those things.

Go through your child’s closets and drawers and pull out everything they can no longer wear. Give the clothes to a charity or if you have a younger child of the same gender, hand it down to them. Throw away things that are stained, torn or look too worn out.

After you have gone through everything, now you can see what your kid really needs. This will help you from buying duplicates. Add the clothes items needed to the list.

If there are some things needed but not right away, such as winter coats and heavy winter clothes, you can put these purchases off for awhile, specially if money is an issue. You could always put these type of items on lay-away. I know K-Mart still has layaway.

Discuss with your child the budget you have to buy their things. If they want expensive, designer items, then they have to be aware that will cut into how much they can get.

Kids really need to learn the value of money. In fact, once my kids got into early adolescence, they really didn’t want me to go shopping with them anymore. So after we made their lists, I would give them the cash and drop them off to where they wanted to go shopping. They always had to have a friend or sibling with them and often, I would sit in the car or on a bench in the mall and read a book while they did their shopping.

They learned very quickly how fast money goes and how to make wise shopping choices. Once or twice, one of them would over spend on something and then not have enough of something else. But being the meany I am (and the fact that I really just didn’t have more money to give them then) I didn’t go out and buy the item needed. They had the option of doing without it until Christmas when they would receive it as a gift, or they could return something (preferably the thing they over spent on) and buy what they needed.

Some other tips on school shopping:

  • Check out the store circulars that come in the mail and newspaper for sales.
  • Shop during the morning and on a week day if possible to avoid the crowds.
  • Try to shop several weeks before school. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  • Shop online. Amazon is my favorite place to shop but you can find lots of specialty online retailers for just about everything you need.
  • Set an amount to spend and stick to it. Bring a calculator and notepad to keep track if you need to.

What is your best tip for school shopping? I’d love to add some more to the list above.


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