Back to school shopping can be stressful, especially if your family is on a tight budget. Most children want to blend in with their schoolmates and for many that means having the same designer clothing, backpacks, shoes, and even the latest technological gadgets as the rest of their classmates have.
Here are just a few ideas for ways that you can keep both your child and your pocketbook happy during back to school shopping:
Tip #1 – Buy used
If your child insists on having designer labels, consider looking at used or discount stores. By purchasing used you are able to save a lot of money and still provide your child with the labels that mean the most to him or her. If you decide to go this route have patience as it may take a few trips to find just what you are looking for and you may have to rummage through several items before you find something that will be just what you are looking for.
Tip #2 – Take an inventory of what can be reused from last year
Too often we purchase new when items from the previous year are still in excellent condition. Before purchasing anything new, take an inventory of what can be reused from the previous school year. If you are looking to “jazz” up an old pencil case or book bag, why not visit your local fabric store and purchase some colourful ends of fabric that you can cut into squares and sew onto the backpack for a whole new look. Many of these ends of fabric are very inexpensive because they can’t be used for many things.
Tip #3 – Watch the sales
The closer you get to back to school time, the more that the big box stores will begin to fight for your back to school dollars. Also, keep in mind that many stores, such as Walmart, have their best sales on school supplies the week after school starts; although their selection might not be as great as it is early in the season. If you can get by for the first week of school, this is a great way to save money.
Tip #4 – Buy early
Many times the key to getting what you need is getting it early. People tend to wait until the last minute and items begin to get “picked over” the closer you wait to the first day of school. Especially if you are looking to purchase during sales or even second-hand you may want to shop early for the best selection and the least disappointment.
Tip #5 – Make a list of must haves
We have all been caught by impulse buying and stores are very good at this when it comes to back to school shopping. They “play” on our child’s desires and will often inter-disperse the “wants” in with the “needs.” Sit down with your child prior to heading out on your shopping trip and make a list of everything they need and then explain to them that you are only going to buy what is on that list and absolutely no more. Making your expectations clear before you head out will save you a lot of headaches in the store.
By following these tips hopefully you can have a pleasant back to school shopping experience that keeps both your budget and your child happy.