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The season is upon us: back to school shopping has started already, even though there are a few weeks left to soak up the sun and relax on a beach. This can be a really stressful time for parents and kids because of peer pressure, money worries, or just not knowing what they need. There are a few ways to reduce concerns about all of these considerations and beat the rush simultaneously.
Get the List
Start out by knowing what you need, not guessing. Schools usually post a list somewhere which indicates the full extent of necessary supplies; probably online if a list didn’t come home with a student’s report card.
Even if you only access last year’s list online, it will not have changed much. Assemble what your children already have. Dig around and see what you can find in the house. There is a good chance erasers and pencils, maybe pencil crayons and other items, have not been used up or perhaps not even used at all.
Check specifications carefully so as to purchase the right type of art pencils and the right size of backpack so you only go through this once. Maybe a neighbor’s older children don’t use their protractor and other tools anymore and their parents will gladly pass them along.
Lower the Cost of Back to School Shopping
If you have to pay shipping costs or travel an hour to reach a sale, it had better be worth your while. There is a good chance that reasonable prices can be located within your local area, saving you time and possibly money. Maybe the sale price is great, but not when you add up the full cost of getting to the city and staying for three or four hours.
Perhaps families won’t save at the checkout by shopping locally, but think of what it would cost in gasoline to travel to a bigger mall with larger savings; other spending you might do if you traveled such as buying lunch or impulse shopping; and the price of shipping on certain online items, if they are available online.
Very low-cost items such as $0.10 packs of paper or notebooks are often sold at that rate until you reach the maximum number. If you need more than the maximum, send someone else in to buy the rest of what you want at the lowest price.
Don’t be lured by a sticker that says “50% off” just because this is a big sale. First, find out how much the item cost to start with. You might still do really well with a full-priced item that was already economical, but in some instances it’s not economical to be cheap. Really inexpensive backpacks last less than a year without ripping on the inside. Even packs twice the price, however, are likely to give you only a year before zippers break.
Check the Dress Code
Part of back-to-school shopping is ensuring kids who do not wear uniforms are appropriately dressed. Be prepared for the weather, for field trips, and for the school dress code. You will feel like a fool with your bags of new sale-priced shirts and pants if, when you read the school website, it turns out these are not permitted for some reason. As a simple rule, tweens and teens are not allowed to wear crop tops and spaghetti straps or very low-cut shirts. Skirts probably have to reach mid-thigh and boys have to be careful about the graphics on their t-shirts.
The Lunch Kit
Kids love receiving a new kit for school lunches. Think ahead to lunches for the autumn, winter, and spring. Will the kit be able to tidily store all types of foods without leaking and an adequate amount of food as well? Maybe current equipment is adequate. If lunch kits are ripped or zippers don’t work, though, start again. You don’t want food falling out and becoming dirty or squished.