It’s Back to School shopping season…again. Wait. How did this happen already? It was literally just the start of summer, like, yesterday!
Don’t panic because you’ll totally ace Back to School shopping with these super simple tips to keep you sane.
5 Easy Ways to Make the Most of Back to School Shopping
Before you join the frantic hordes of parents at your closest big box store, take a beat.
First thing’s first: get the school supply list! You can pick up a hard copy at the school office, but most schools down have a PDF you can download on their website.
Once you’ve got the list, you’re ready to get started.
To really get the most out of your Back to School shopping, you need a few things:
- Legal-sized notepad
- Colored pencils, pens, markers — anything you can color code with
- Weekly store flyers
- Supplies and clothes you already have
What do you really need?
If you followed the declutter steps for last year’s school work, you’re one step ahead of the game! You’ve gotten rid of all the “junk” — half-finished up notebooks, chewed pencils, random stuff from their desk — and kept all the stuff that can still be used.
Pull out your stash of school supplies from last year. Compare it to the supply list, crossing off or updating quantities as you go.
Next, have your child try on clothes they already own. Limit it to things that will work for the first month or two of school. Donate any clothes that are too small, but still have some wear left in them. Toss anything that just can’t be worn again.
Organize everything that you’re keeping — supplies, clothes, and accessory items — in one place. Make note of what you already have.
Make your lists
Now that you’ve sorted everything, it’s time to make your list. Grab your notepad and colored pens.
Use one color for supplies, another for clothes, and a third color for accessories. Using your school’s supply list and your own inventory lists, start to write your shopping list.
Having the different colors can help to keep you organized and on track. Plus, using your own customized list instead of the generic school list can help you skip overbuying. I’ve definitely ended up with 16 blue notebooks before!
Get even more Back to School tricks to help you succeed on Day One!
Be upfront with your kids about what you’re going to be reusing and what you’ll be buying new. If the backpack and coat from last year are still in decent condition, there is no need to get new ones. When you have 7 binders floating around at home, why buy any more?
If you are buying for multiple children, you could combine everything into one list. But you’ll totally need to up your color-coding game!
Cross-check the flyers
Every single store has Back to School sales going on right now. The trick is going to be finding a few places that have the most items on your list for good prices. Or pinpointing one shopping plaza with several stores that have everything you need.
Grab your store flyers and your list.
The big box stores, like Walmart and Target, are good bets for school supplies and clothes and accessories. It’s a one-stop shop for everything!
Other great places to shop include Old Navy and office supply stores. Or you could purchase everything online for home delivery.
Your goal is to make as few stops as possible to take care of all of your shopping.
Schedule your shopping
Pick one or two days to get the bulk of your shopping done.
Ideally, you would do all the supply-type things on one day all by yourself. This increases your speed and efficiency while minimizing the whining and squabbling.
Go to one or maybe two stores for your supplies. Use your master list to buy only what you need. You could leave one notebook or binder out of your basket today. On the next shopping day, let your child select their special item for a personal touch.
On the second day, select one clothing store or shopping center with enough options for the whole family. Use your list again to buy only what you need for each child. Not everything needs to be new on the first day.
Store & Stash
As soon as you get home from Back to School shopping, sort out and organize your supplies. Use your list to divvy things up between multiple children.
Once the school supply lists have been double (triple) checked, put everything into backpacks for the first day. If there is overflow, tuck it into a cute reusable shopping bag. You might even consider donating that bag to the teacher. They’ll love you for thinking of them!
Want to be friends with the teacher? Use these easy parent-teacher relationship tricks!
Double check the new clothes by trying everything on again. Make it fun with a fashion show! You could even challenge your child to combine new pieces with clothes they already have to make new outfits.
Wash the clothes, and then put them away. You might even pull out a few potential first day of school outfits.