Whether it excites you or depresses you, the start of another school year is just around the corner. Here in Michigan, school starts immediately after Labor Day. Which does afford us a little longer break than some states. But September is quickly approaching, and therefore I have begun to think about back-to-school.
Each Friday this month, I will be highlighting some back-to-school tips. Today I am focusing on school supplies. Future posts will be about routines, preparing emotionally for the start of school, and the parent-teacher relationship.
Tips for Back-to-School Shopping:
- Take inventory first. Before you even think about entering a store, go through what you already have. This applies to clothes, school supplies, bags, and everything else. Once you look through your stock on hand, you may find you need to do very little shopping after all.
- Make a list. As you inventory, make not of what you are missing. Then create a master list of everything that is needed. By having one master list, you can determine if stops at several stores are needed, or if there is a one-stop option that works.
- Separate wants from needs. As you look at your master list, determine what items are must haves (underwear that fits) and what items are nice to have (a new lunchbox even though the old one is in decent shape). By prioritizing your list a little, you are in a position to make better choices in the store. If one of your needs is drastically on sale, then you can pick up a want or two. But if the price of a need has risen more than you expected, you know where you can cut costs to stay within budget.
- Shop early. Depending on where you live, the boat may have already sailed on this one. No big deal. But if you can, shop before the week before school rush. You will have a better selection and often back-to-school start running at least a month before school resumes.
- Consider quality versus price. Some items you need to go for quality or cheap. Some items the opposite is true. Clothing for kids that are older should be quality as it needs to hold up and stand the wear and tear of kids. However, supplies like pencils and paper are going to be pretty much the same across the board – go for cheap. Some items need more consideration and depend on your preference; for example, my older son gets holes in the knees of any pants I buy him regardless of the cost or quality. He's just that kind of a boy. So I buy him cheap pants. But with as much running around as he does, I like to have him in quality shoes, so I spend a little more there.
- Stock up for the year. Some supplies are as cheap as they get during back-to-school sales. Stock up on paper, pencils, crayons, etc. right now so you have enough to last throughout the year. Other items that are useful for classrooms and home also go on sale, such as packs of tissues and hand sanitizer. Stock up for school and home to take advantage of the discounted prices.
- Buy online. Don't have the time or energy to hit the stores? Or don't want to spend the last few moments of summer inside a store? Consider shopping online. Many larger chain stores offer the same deals online as they do in their stores and even throw in free shipping if you spend a certain amount. So take your laptop to the park and order away while the kids swing and slide!
What tips do you have for back to school shopping?