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5 Shopping Tips-How to Survive A Back-to-School Supplies Shopping Trip

Updated on June 5, 2016

5 Shopping Tips on How to Survive Shopping Trip

I have 5 Shopping Tips on How to Survive A Back-to-School Shopping Trip, with 7 grandchildren I can give you some great ideas to keep your budget in check. Each back-to School year brings a challenge for everyone kids included, to make the most out of the budget.

Time-saving tips are always a concern for busy moms, especially when children are busy as well. Many of the best shopping trips have been via the internet with my kids sitting next to me. Shopping for sales and hard to find items is easy when you can sit back and shop in your spare time from home. The first rule I like to follow is to set a budget for each child and let them know how much I intend to spend for school supplies. This make the negotiations over pricy item easier. Not only does it save me the fight over trendy items it allow the kids to set their own budgets.

Some items on the shopping list are necessities for for quality learning and I don't scrimp on these items. For example when each child start his journey toward a good education I invest in a high quality backpack. This has save me a lot of money in the long run. My oldest grandson could not believe I would spend so much on a backpack for him. However, it saved me the trouble of finding a new one mid-year as a replacement. He still has that backpack I purchased for him at the start of his first school year. He uses it to for travel from West Point Academy now during breaks in his training.

Shopping for Back to School

Back to School Shopping

5 Tips for Survival

The 5 Back-to School Shopping Tips for Survival

1. Set a Budget-each child need a budget for back-to-School shopping. Set a reasonable budget for each child and allow them to make the decisions about how the money will be spent. I like to teach them that living within a budget is important and certain trade-offs need to be made. For example a must have shirt or jeans with a high price tag is traded off with less expensive shoes or clothing.

2. School Supplies-I purchase all the actual school supplies, like pencils, pens, paper, note and the like. I find that the kids usually will opt for less expensive supplies which in the end become useless. As a veteran teacher, I know that a quality pencil is a must. Those cheap pencils from the dollar store or the bargain bin can be frustrating and waste time in school. A good quality pencil like a Dixon or Ticonderoga require less trips to the pencil sharpener and lots of wasted time in school. Cheap pencils may seem like a bargain but they are usually sharpened to a nub on the first day of use. This is due to poor quality lead which breaks and soft wood used to hold it. INVEST in good Pencils.

I buy enough for all of the kids for the entire school year and start each one off with a pencil bag filled with all the needed items. This way they are more likely to keep them together. I also require a used up pencil or pen for exchange which prevent a lot of lost ones. I require 25 cent for replacements without an old one in exchange. This help the kids be responsible for their own supplies. I keep a good supply of loose-leaf paper and notebook which I buy when they are on sale at the beginning of the school year.

3. Clean the Closet-the first thing to do before shopping is know what the child already has and determine the size of new items to purchase. Clothing that is no longer useful for the child is removed from their closet and dressers. I redistribute usable clothing to younger children. Some of the clothing is redesigned to suit them, such as taking old gray sweatshirts from the boys and dyeing it pink or purple for the younger girls. They enjoy their new clothing just as much as if it were brand new. I find iron on appliques are also a great trick to change boys clothing to girls and vise versa and save money too. Old jeans with holes in the knee are re-purposed to capris for the girls, saving me 10-15 dollars each for simply cutting and hemming them.

4. Take Individual Time for Each Child-I like to take alone time with each child, since they are only young for a short time. First, we start with a list of needed items we created during our closet clean-out. We usually start our shopping online in the comfort of home. This saves not only time but make for easy comparative shopping. You may find many items available online that are not at local stores and save money at the same time. The remaining items are then shopped for on a shopping trip to the Mall or large retailer depending on the child and the items needed. Sometimes for the younger children I find that it is easier to shop myself for these items.

5. Keep Your Cool-Remember shopping for the new school year is stressful for everyone. The children are excited about the getting the latest fashions and supplies, while you are trying to save the budget. Each school year is a reminder that the kids are getting older and will soon be grown and on their own. Savor the time you have together shopping for school supplies and treat each trip as an adventure. I usually enjoy the end of a successful trip with a special treat or lunch at the child's favorite place. This way we can get the school year off to a good start and making the return to school a positive experience for the child.

School shopping online

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Keeping up with the school year

Keeping Up With Supplies Throughout the School Year

Education is Important

The school supplies I purchase at the beginning of the school year are stored on a special shelf in the hall closet. I keep them organized with small plastic baskets I purchase from the dollar store. Each item has a special place in "Granmama's Store" as the kids call it. When a need arises I am ready and all the child has to do is come over and choose the items they need. Since I am a teacher, I also use some of these items for myself.

My basic requirements for shopping in my closet are:

1 pencil for pencil exchanges, or 25 cents, the same with pens.

2. loose-leaf paper is given in packets of 100 sheets and should last a good period of time.

3. folder, notebooks and erasers are given when needed for projects or are just needed.

4. 3-ring binders are replaced when worn, if lost the child must buy his own.

5. Special projects deserve another shopping trip, if I don't have the supply available.

Keep in mind that the supplies you give your child go toward his education. Anything you can do to make school fun and enjoyable for the child are a plus. If it takes an occasional special item it is well worth the investment in the child education. You should never deny the child the opportunity to do his best in school even though it may cost a little money. Special assignments such as the science fair, book fairs and the like are all designed to enhance the child's learning experience. So think of school as an investment in the future and set aside a budget to allow each child multiple opportunities for learning.

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Please leave a comment before you leave.

Your comments are important!

How do you handle back to school?

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    • martingallagher profile image


      4 years ago

      Great ideas! Awesome lens.

    • CaztyBon profile image


      5 years ago

      I liked your lens very informative and knowledgeable.

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 

      5 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      hehehe i JUST finished a Lens called 'Back to school supply list: become a school shopping graduate!' There is no such thing as coincidence :-) We did write it both in our own ways and I love yours by the way, wonderful information!

    • BaptismalGownsP profile image


      5 years ago

      Thank you for this lens. I especially appreciate the tip about cleaning out the closet BEFORE you go shopping. It seems like the past few years I have grabbed the 'supplies' list and ran out the door to go shopping without knowing what we already HAD in the house. Same goes for clothes - not knowing what my son has that still fits leaves me overbuying at the store and too busy to end up returning what I overbought. Will be taking your advice this year - thanks!!!


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