Back to School Shopping Tips

Back to school means back to school shopping. And with clothes, bags and school supplies that need purchasing, shopping can be an overwhelming task for many moms. But following the right strategies can help you make smart shopping choices that will have your child ready to go back to school in style without breaking the bank.

The Top Shopping Tips for Back to School

  • Make a list. Creating a back to school shopping list is essential for staying on budget. Taking stock of what your children really need reduces unnecessary spending as well as impulse buys. Make a list for each child and list objects needed for the upcoming year under categories, such as clothes, accessories and school supplies. This can also help you assess whether you can really afford brand name items, or if a less expensive option is more in line with your budget.
  • Start shopping early. Hitting the stores early helps you get good deals. Supplies start flooding into stores by August, so prepare to shop well in advance of the school year. Checking out dollar stores at this time is a great way to save on basic supplies like paper and pens. If you’re a little late on your back to school shopping, check out office and supply stores, where there’s always sure to be a full stock of everything you need. Check items off your back to school supply list to avoid double purchases.
  • Buy in bulk. Consider purchasing a membership at a bulk store or membership store with neighbors, friends and former college classmates in order to reduce costs. Buying school supplies in bulk is especially helpful for essentials like pens and paper.
  • Look for end of season sales. Summer sales are great for picking up kids clothing items for extra-curricular activities like swimming, dance class or gymnastics. Plus, sports and summer wear like tees, shorts, tights and tanks make cheap layering options. However, be sure to keep in mind the dress code at your child’s school.
  • Buy through your child’s school. Some schools now have a pre-packaged purchasing system that can help parents save money and avoid the hassles of back to school shopping. Each class gets a basic package that helps to split up the costs of school items between parents and also helps to avoid mix-ups regarding brand names and colors.
  • Find the right backpack. When shopping for your child’s backpack, make sure it is the right size and that it’s sturdy. It should fit no lower than the waist and have padded shoulder straps as well as a waist strap for extra support; this will also help to avoid any unnecessary back pain as such a bag properly distributes the weight of textbooks and other items. If your child prefers a one-shoulder bag, make sure to choose one with a strap that goes across the body. This type of bag also has excellent weight distribution; in comparison, a regular shoulder bag is similar to a purse and is harmful to your child’s posture and back muscles.