Back to School Shopping Tips to Keep You Sane
August 10, 2018
As summer winds down, you know it’s time to get the kids ready for school.
And that means back-to-school shopping. Getting everything on the teacher’s list can be a hassle, and if you have more than one child, you’re juggling multiple supply lists. You’re also starting to notice the kids have grown a few inches over the past few months, and there’s no way they’ll be able to fit in last year’s clothes.
Our tips will help keep you sane while you finish up your shopping. If you play your cards right, you’ll still be able to enjoy the last few weeks of vacation with your kids without any added stress.
Re-Use What You Can
Yes, there’s something appealing about a fresh pack of crayons, but if last year’s pack is still in pretty good condition, there isn’t a big need to get more. Even if you are committed to getting new folders and pencils, you can still save yourself a bit of money and stress by re-using old school supplies like backpacks and lunch boxes.
Snap a Picture
If the kids’ teachers don’t post the supplies list online, take a picture of the list so you’ll always have it with you. You can also do this the old fashioned way by keeping a copy of the list in your purse or wallet. When you come across a good sale on markers, you can then just refer to your list to make sure you’re buying the right package.
The best supplies can get snatched up quickly, especially if your child’s teacher is quite specific about the colours and brands she wants you to buy. The back-to-school sales tend to be consistent from mid-summer on. You’re unlikely to get a better deal by waiting, so get this task out of the way as soon as you can.
Look in Store and Online
If saving money is at the top of your list, you have to take some time to comparison shop. Check out the flyers for the stores nearby, but don’t buy without checking online. While things like pencils, pens, and crayons are likely to be cheapest at a store like Walmart, there might be better deals out there for things like calculators or backpacks. Additionally, don’t forget to check out office supply stores. They often have great sales on basic school supplies.
Consider Buying Used
Kids grow so fast, it’s hard to justify spending full-price on new clothes. The teens might push back on this one, but if your kids are still in elementary school, try picking up some of their clothes at a consignment shop. These stores tend to have a higher quality than what you normally find at a thrift store, and you can even get store credit by selling the clothes they’ve outgrown.
Purchase Durable Products
With the cost of the school supplies starting to add up, it can be hard to justify spending more money. However, you can’t forget to factor in how long the products will last. The $5 water bottle might look like a steal next to a $15 one, but if it starts leaking after only a month, you’ll have to buy a new one. More expensive products are sometimes a better bargain. Check out online reviews to get a better sense of how long something might last.
Go Easy on Yourself
Getting great deals on the right products is important, but you don’t need to stress yourself out. Don’t drive 45 minutes to save yourself $3. Don’t spend an entire weekend going around to 10 different stores just to get the best deals on individual items. Compare costs, but save yourself some time (and gas money!) by limiting your shopping trips to just a few stores. Stores that will match prices are even better.
Pick Up Extras
You’re already spending a lot of money getting everything on your kids’ classroom lists, but it’s always smart to pick up a few extra things if you can. Sometimes, the extra things you can afford to buy are things that you could donate to a family who’s struggling. Also, the package of markers that’s $1 during the back-to-school sales will cost $5 when your child needs a replacement halfway through the year. In fact, certain bulk school supplies can save you a lot of money over the next few years!
Back-to-school shopping can be a hassle, but the more prepared you are, the easier it is to get the task done. By getting it done as soon as possible, you can enjoy a smooth transition into the new school year.