The pressure put on parents to provide their children with the schooling needs ready for going back to school are enormous. Not only do children grow faster than wage-packets, but they then have to contend with the crowded shops, which often add stress to the whole process of shopping. This article covers the best methods of dealing with avoiding the shopping crowds, by preparation and knowing the best times to go.
~Wants versus needs.
Every child wants the latest gear. It’s part and parcel of peer pressure. Before going, go through the children’s wardrobe and establish what is needed rather than just wanted. You can save yourself so much time in the shopping process if you are aware of what will last another year and what won’t. Kids will put pressure on you to buy all kinds of things, though much of their demands are not necessarily their needs. Try and find a nice balance between what they want, what you can afford and what they actually need. Of course, it gets them off to a great start if they have new things, though deciding which is vital to the whole question.
~Know your budget.
Temptation in busy shops can distract your shopping process. If you make sure you know how much you can afford, this helps you to research markets for the things you seek. To avoid the shops during the search, do website searches of large stores to see what the different items will cost. This helps you and your children to decide in advance which styles they like and which you can afford, and means they are not exposed to too much choice. Find pages which you believe to have good choices and ask the kids what they think of those you have kept to favorites, rather than letting them have a free reign.
~Weighing up prices.
Having found what you need on-line, work out how much you save buying them online. The savings may be more than you think and enough to justify you avoiding the shops altogether. Look to see what suppliers offer as incentives for multiple purchases. If, on the other hand, the postal charges are too much for certain items, you can create a list of those items you need to buy in the shops. What this does is limit the amount of shopping you actually have to do in crowded shops to just those items which are cheaper than their online alternatives, bearing in mind postage costs.
~Let your fingers do the walking.
Look up in yellow pages the stores which have all the school supplies your child’s school has asked you to provide. Talk to them on the telephone and ask about availability. That way, you avoid going into busy shops to be greeted with disappointment. Ask them if they do mail order or whether they can put these aside for you if you make a credit card payment. Often they will, and this means you can avoid waiting in queues to be told things are out of stock.
~Read your newspapers.
The newspapers give details of sales. These are going to be heavy traffic times to shop, although you could avoid the crowds by arriving early on the first day of the sales. Never go to sales on other days, as these shopping trips will result in disappointment. What happens is that you get easily distracted, and are in competition with too many other mothers seeking the same things. If it isn’t there on the first day of a sale, forget about it, because the crowds get worse, and the disappointment which follows even more wearying.
~Choose your times.
At certain times of day, the shops are quieter. Only you will know what times of day this happens in your local shops. Avoid peak times. If there is a lull at lunchtimes while people eat, take the opportunity to shop in peace. Similarly, if weekends are busy periods on the high street, choose those times which are less popular. Average mealtimes may be a good choice, though don’t expect to get served quickly if you stop off for a bite to eat.
~Overall tips to help you make the most of the adventure.
If you have a definite list of all that is needed, this cuts down the amount of time you have to spend in the shops. Agree the list in advance, and try not to deviate from it. Check how much you can afford to spend, as this limits the amount of temptation you can allow yourself. Often people find shopping at peak periods such as this are tempting, though they also have to struggle with crowds who are all after the best bargains themselves.
Always take a calculator and try to avoid taking the kids. They will not understand the word No and if you have already agreed with them in advance what you are going to buy, the only time they need to be with you is for fitting of shoes. You will already know their clothing sizes, so why present them with too much choice?
By shopping alone, you make the shopping process quicker. You can choose your time, and not be pulled left and right to look at things which aren’t on your list. Kids find the shopping trip every bit as stressful as parents do, and by letting them out of the experience, you also let yourself out of being faced with dilemmas in a busy shopping environment.
The shopping done, you can go home to excited kids, and open all the packages together. This will be their time to enjoy your purchases in the privacy of your own home and the start to their getting ready for a new year at school. By taking these suggestions, you can avoid the crowds and get the best value for money possible, without headaches and heartaches.