Back to school shopping can be challenging, to say the least. Crowded aisles, demanding children and retail chaos only add to the stress and expense of the experience. If your kids are howling about the latest and greatest school supplies that they really want (but don’t actually need), and you feel like you’re at the end of your rope (and bank account), don’t fret. The following tips will make back to school shopping more tolerable and less stressful.
Obey the List
Most schools post a list of supplies required for the classroom. This list is usually provided well in advance of the first day of school. Because it is likely that all supplies listed are not actually used, it is recommended that you hang on to those sales receipts. If you need to return an item, you will easily be able to do so. However, assuming that the list is correct, you will want to become familiar with the list and know exactly what is on it. If the list calls for fabric book covers, for example, and your child already has book covers from last year that are in good condition, be sure to mark that item off of the list. Do not purchase items that you could salvage from the previous year. This will save you a lot of money and will encourage your child to take care of what he already has.
Know What You Already Have
Perhaps this is the most important suggestion – being familiar with what you already have. Does your child already have a three ring binder? If so, check it off of the list. There is no need to duplicate purchases for items that your child already has, provided those items are in decent condition. You will find that there are many items that can be re-used from the previous year. Pens, pencils, scissors, book bags, lunchboxes, highlighters and rulers are just a few items that can be recycled from the year before. Take an inventory of what your child already has on hand and mark those items off from the supply list. After you’re finished with this inventory, you will know what supplies you will actually need to purchase.
You will want to apply the same principle with clothing. If your child has a wardrobe full of jeans, but grew three inches during the summer, you will need to shop for new jeans for the school year. Try on other garments including shoes, sneakers and underclothes to make sure that these items still fit. Make sure items such as socks and underwear are in good shape. Purchase any needed clothing and donate the clothes that your child has outgrown.
Ads Will Make You Glad
Keep watch on the sales circulars and flyers that are included in your newspaper. Retailers rely on competitive pricing for the back-to-school season, which means you can save big bucks if you know where to shop for the best deals. Some retailers will match the price of their competitors, so you’ll want to save those flyers in the event that price-matching is done. Plan your shopping trip accordingly, once you are aware of where the bargains are.
Shop or Browse Online
If you wish to avoid crowded aisles and long lines of school shoppers, consider going online to purchase your back-to-school essentials. Many retailers offer free shipping for orders above a nominal amount, and you’ll have all you need delivered to your doorstep. This will eliminate the stress of driving, the expense of gas and the hassle of crowds.
You can also browse online to see what selections your local retailer offers. Knowing what you’re looking for in advance will save you time once you arrive at the store.
Don’t Forget the Food
As a new school year approaches, don’t forget to include lunch-worthy foods to your shopping list. After all, you don’t want to wake up on the first day of school to realize there is nothing to pack in your child’s lunchbox. Purchase staples such as bread, peanut butter, jam, lunch meat, juice boxes and other snack items. Be sure you have sandwich bags and napkins on hand. Stock up the cupboards and pack lunch the night before so the morning routine runs smoothly. You’ll be well-prepared for the first days of school.
Save Those Receipts
Hold on to the sales receipts for the school items that you’ve purchased. If your child’s teacher suddenly realizes that he doesn’t require a specific item in the classroom, you can easily return it to the store for a refund. Every little bit adds up, and you’ll feel less stressed when your bank statements arrive.
Knowing what your child needs and what your child already has, is half the battle in back-to-school shopping. You can be a savvy shopper by following the ads for the best deals and browsing or shopping online. From the wardrobe, to the book-bag and even the pantry, these wise shopping tips will surely help you make the grade!