Back to school shopping is really getting just as ridiculous as Christmas shopping. Signage starts going up in stores in the middle of July – when some kids have been out for only weeks! And each is trying to outdo the other in sales, promotions, and discounts. So how is a parent supposed to get everything they need and still save money while doing their back to school shopping? Here’s how!
Allow just one “have to have” item
Going shopping is just about the only thing kids are usually excited about when it comes to back to school shopping, and you should try to keep that excitement for the first few days of school, at least. But it doesn’t meant that you have to go broke doing it. While your kids will want all the trendy items, they probably don’t need them. Let them indulge in one, and then wait for the first month to see what things they really “must have.” The chances are, that item will have changed since the end of August. Especially after they see what all their friends got for back to school!
Hit the sales all summer long
Yes, August is the most popular month for buying back to school supplies. But that doesn’t mean that you’re limited to these four weeks! Any time you’re out shopping during the summer, keep an eye out for cheap supplies, clothes, and shoes. Your child won’t grow out of them before September comes; and kids can wear t-shirts all year long (keep an eye out for solid long-sleeved tees that can go under them, too!) Just remember to set them aside, so that you don’t have to do it all over again once school starts!
Stick to the list
The chances are good that when your child left school last year, or sometime over the summer, you received a list of school supplies that they will need for this year. Stick to that list when you are shopping! Just like when buying clothes or groceries for yourself, it’s very easy to veer off the list for back to school shopping – and that could add hundreds of dollars onto your back to school shopping! Rest assured that the teachers included absolutely everything your child will need. And don’t buy any more than that.
Yes your child will most likely want that Justin Bieber binder or those Taylor Swift notebooks to take to school with them – but they’ll also cost about three times as much. Instead, buy supplies that are plain but can be customized. Bound notebooks can be decorated with stickers and markers; and those celebrity items? Buy a plain binder that has a plastic cover. When you get home, print off pics from online or your family’s photo album and slip them inside. Your kid will be the coolest at school, and your wallet won’t be as light!
Spend on a really cool lunchbox, save on lunch
Give your kids basic free reign when choosing their lunchbox. Whether they’re adorned in celebrities, stars or hearts; have one really cool accessory, or a bunch of them. Let them choose whatever they want. During the school year though, you get to choose what to put in it. This will let you save on lunch money by scooping up deals on the grocery store; and your child will most likely have a much healthier lunch because of it!
Know where to shop
Sure you could run from store to store wondering where the sales are, and when they’re coming. Or you could just go to Old Navy, Gap Kids, or The Children’s Place. These three stores are the biggest kids stores in Canada. They’re also the ones that change their inventory most often. Go in and ask at each one when they’re turning over their inventory – this is when they’re going to have the best deals!
Have a school swap
No, changing your child’s school won’t make back to school shopping any cheaper. But inviting parents over one night for a school swap will! Ask anyone you know to come over and bring all their extra supplies, clothes, and other gently used items (of course, make sure you have a substantial pile yourself first.) Spend some time socializing, talking, and sharing your stresses about back to school! At the end of it all, you’ll all have some new stuff to take home – and some stuff that you unloaded onto someone else!