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Back to school shopping tips: become a school shopping graduate!

Updated on August 29, 2013

A Mini Masterclass in prepping for the new school year

The summertime is the time of the year to relax and enjoy the holidays. For many it also means back to school shopping. Maybe you're a student or parent and in the middle of working on your back to school supply list. It can be so much fun. But for both parents and students it is often also somehow stressful. The wide range of products can be so overwhelming to you and make it hard to decide what to buy and what not.

My intention is to make things easier for you with my homemade back to school shopping tips. Writing this Lens was big fun. I almost felt the excitement of being a schoolgirl again when I was taking the photos. Especially those I took in my local warehouse. It gave such a positive energy! You should feel exactly the same! No sweat and be in the flow! Can you feel my vibes coming your way?

Don't stress about your back to school supply list. You'd better enjoy the preparation and of course grabbing all you want and need when you're in the stores and warehouses in your area. Follow my tips and advice in this 'Mini Masterclass'. Continue reading and watching some great videos I collected for you. If you make it to the end you're a school shopping graduate.Your easiest diploma ever! Wow!

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)

Short poll question before we continue!

Shopping for school supplies poll
Shopping for school supplies poll

Photo Credits belong to me (Anja Toetenel)

The annual shopping for school supplies is.....

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Back to school? No drama!

Dutch Highschool schoolyard
Dutch Highschool schoolyard

In the Netherlands, where I live, all kids enjoy a 6 weeks well deserved break from school every summer. Time to enjoy, relax and re-energize in the first place. But also to do the annual preparations for a new year in the classroom.

Kids need a lot, especially when they go to High school. But also for the Elementary you've got a big what-to-buy-list. Shops offer so much choice that it can be hard to make the right choices.

It doesn't need to be a big drama. I will provide you with tips to make the back to school time a fun experience within everyone's budget! So go grab a pen and a piece of paper before you continue reading about preparing for your annual back to school supply list!

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)

Buy your school supplies online! - Easy home shopping for people that are too busy!

Perhaps you don't have time to shop with your kid(s). In this case shopping online is a great solution for you. All you need is your computer/laptop and of course your list. Go search for your needs using your favorite search engine or sites like YouTube.

I picked a few cool items I think are worth buying. You save time and money as well! Do it together with your kid(s)! No need to leave the house. Sit down in the comfort of your home with your family and explore what the world wide web has to offer!

The Nitty Gritty of High School: The High School Guide That Should Be On Every High Schoolers Back To School Supplies List
The Nitty Gritty of High School: The High School Guide That Should Be On Every High Schoolers Back To School Supplies List

A very useful step by step guide for both teens and parents. What more can I say, you need this! I would buy it! Kindle version, you don't need a Kindle to read this, you can easily get an app on Amazon.com, easy as 1,2,3, I guarantee!

 
Well Planned Day, High School 1 Year Planner, July 2013 - June 2014
Well Planned Day, High School 1 Year Planner, July 2013 - June 2014

You need a planner to be organised! What about this one? There are plenty of others by the way, a lot to choose from!

 
Elementary school in Holland, The Hague
Elementary school in Holland, The Hague

My school time memories in a nutshell

Traveling back in time

It's a long time ago I went to school! I went to kindergarten at age 4, that is 39 years ago! I still remember it. The kindergarten I went to was small and close to home. The classroom was full of toys and other fun stuff. We had a very sweet kindergarten teacher. She played with us, told us stories, we sang songs, we painted, were introduced to the art of clay and so much more.

I remember in my last year as a toddler we were invited at the teachers home for a party! We could choose what we wanted to eat: pancakes or fries! I preferred the pancakes so I was in the 'pancake group' . She separated the fries and pancake eaters. The fries group went first and the next evening it was the pancakes groups turn! I was so excited! It was big fun and the pancakes tasted lovely, the best I ever had!

Serious business

It was difficult when my kindergarten years were over and the serious business started at Elementary School. The playing days were over and replaced by starting to learn how to read and write. That was a different piece of cake! It took me a while to get used to the new situation. After a while I started loving it. Even before I was able to write I had my own writing language and wrote stories only I could read. It was so wonderful to learn how to write in a way everyone could understand!

I loved the teachers in Elementary. Getting along with the other kids was a problem, because I was bullied a lot. That was hard. I was a nervous child and I had (still have) red hair, my clothes weren't trendy and my last name is not very common. That was reason enough for the bullies. I had a few friends who were really loyal to me. That helped me survive! And I loved learning, I was a good student. Only math class was sort of a problem. I was and still am much better with languages!

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)

Shopping for the new school year - Great demonstration!

This video contains great tips for students on what to buy, the stuff you need and how to use it.

I loved the way this woman is showing her shopping tips for students. She shows you what she would buy today if she were still a student while shopping. She takes you by the hand so to say! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

My first back to school shopping experience

Beautiful supplies in a Dutch shop close to where I live
Beautiful supplies in a Dutch shop close to where I live

After 6 years in Elementary I went to High School. The back to school supply list was introduced! It was big fun and on the other hand pretty stressful. There was so much I needed to buy! My mother was very nervous too! That didn't help me a lot!

I was so worried about what would happen if I didn't have all stuff on the list! All the notebooks,binders, pens, pencils, crayons, highlighters, a pencil case, cover paper for the books, my first school bag and so much more... Of course in the end I had it all!

Covering my books

I needed to cover my books. That was not an easy job. And in those times there was NO such thing as the internet. So I couldn't Google how to cover your books or so. I had to find it out myself. The first time it took me many hours to finish my job (I wasted a lot of cover paper!). During the following years I became an expert!

I wish I would have had a tablets then! All those books were so very heavy to carry with me! I had a huge leather bag. I went to school on my bike and it took 30 minutes to get there. Can you imagine: no matter what the weather was like, biking with a fully loaded bag! It's so different now. And that is a good thing!

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)

How to cover your books

Do you have to cover your school books but you don't know how? This video describes exactly how to do it!

This teacher is really good in teaching ;-) And he teaches how to cover your books. Wow! I wish we would have had You Tube when I was struggling to cover my books :)

The magic of a tablet!

The introduction of the use of tablets at school is a BIG improvement! They are light weight, easy to take with you and above all: it is good for the environment as well! No more books means no chopping trees for the production of paper. So the use of tablets is a great thing!

SANOXY 7" Tablet Stand with USB Keyboard - Black Faux Leather Carrying Case
SANOXY 7" Tablet Stand with USB Keyboard - Black Faux Leather Carrying Case

An USB keyboard for your tablet is a must if you use it for school purposes. And a tablet stand is very recommendable too. This one has both! I use it myself and I love it.

 

The importance of a great planner

Collection of planners for school
Collection of planners for school

Taking photos for this Lens was a warm bath of sweet old memories. A lot has changed but some things will always stay the same. I was in a store in my neighborhood to take photos of the school supplies they have when I met a girl and her mother. They were shopping together for her first year in High School. Lots of stuff were easily putted in the shopping basket except for 1 thing: the planner.

There were so many planners (the ones on the photo) that the girl seemed somewhat overwhelmed. She just couldn't decide which one to choose. I smiled at her and said something like 'Do you love them all?' She smiled back at me and nodded 'Yes'.

'So you have all the stuff from your list except for your new planner?' I asked. She nodded again and told me how important a planner was to her. 'It's not only a planner', she explained. 'You write down all personal things, make it beautiful, friends write in it or put notes in it, I draw in it, I have my secrets in it. And you need a big one and it must be beautiful because all the others have great ones too!'

I felt so connected with this girl. When I was her age my planner was as important as it was to her. I could totally relate to this. This little book was like a secret journal. I kept it safe, so did my friends! I shared this with the girl and she produced a huge smile, she thought of it exactly the same way!

Her mother was nervous about the shopping (just like mine was when I was young) and she looked very tired. She was more nervous than her daughter! I suggested her to have a coffee break in the small restaurant upstairs. "Meanwhile let your daughter find herself a good one. Don't worry, she won't run away, she needs you to pay for it". The mother laughed out loud and followed my advice. The girl felt relieved and after her mother was gone it took her not so much time to choose her very special planner for the next year.

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)

Girl showing her new school supplies!

This sweet girl proudly shows her new School Supplies. Watch it and let it inspire you!

Funny quote!

'There are 3 good reasons to be a teacher: June, July and August'

(author unknown)

Back to school tips - Make it a relaxing and fun thing to do!

Colorful collection of back to school supplies in Dutch warehouse
Colorful collection of back to school supplies in Dutch warehouse

Being prepared is the most important key to succes in many areas of life. It's the same for your annual school shopping. A back to school supply list will help you a lot. I will provide both parents and students with tips so you'll feel satisfied and are ready for a new year of hard work (going to school is like a job!). Scroll down for all the things you need to know!

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)

Lovely pens!
Lovely pens!

My back to school tips in general

Start in time!

Don't wait till the last day(s) of your summer vacation. This prevents a tremendous amount of last minute stress. Plus: if you have plenty of time the quality of your shopping will be so much better. You'll be really able to enjoy it, and that's what it's supposed to be like! It shouldn't be a nervous race to meet the deadline!

Make sure you have a back to school supplies list!

Write down everything you really need. Like you write a shopping list before you go do your grocery shopping! Stick to this list!

Explore the internet for the stuff you want and need before going anywhere

-Using the search engines and places like YouTube will inspire you! You don't have to buy it yet. Make notes of the stuff you like and/or bookmark the pages that were most appealing to you. It is fun to go through collections and to see what other students and children bought.

-Write down the prices! -->> if you are sure you want to buy a certain item comparing prices pays of big time! You can compare online and/or in the real life shops you are planning to visit. Most real life shops do have a website! It might save you a lot of money in your pocket!

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)

Back to school haul + give away (2013-2014) - Get inspired by Snowflakes collection on YouTube

Snowflake shows you her purchased collection for the new school year. Get inspired!

This girl bought a lot of cool and affordable school supplies. There is also a give away so don't forget to enter it if you want to win wonderful prices. This is international. No matter where you live you can join the contest!

Classroom looks empty at this Dutch Elementary School but in a few weeks it won't be so empty anymore
Classroom looks empty at this Dutch Elementary School but in a few weeks it won't be so empty anymore

My back to school tips for parents

Set a budget

-Make sure that everyone knows what the budget is for the back to school goodies. This prevents dissapointment if items are too expensive.

-Stick to your budget! Or even better: go below it! If there is some money left you are able to buy something extra. If you forgot a small item there is still money left to buy it. Drama free back to school shopping is guaranteed this way!

-If the budget limit has been reached and your child still wants something why not let him/her use his/her pocket money to buy it!

Talk with your children

Talk with your children before you go shopping! Show interest in what they have to say. Ask them about their favorite things. What is cool this year, what have they got in mind, what more is on their wishlist and is this really what they need? Young children want it all, as a parent you must be aware that this isn't realistic. Set your limits, so that it's clear to them what they can expect.

Make it a day out together

Your back to school shopping will be so much more fun if you don't only do the necessary shopping itself. Go out and have fun. Maybe you can go to a good movie, have a nice lunch together, or whatever you like to do as a family!

Back to school supply list shopping during your vacation

If you go on a vacation with the family why not buy the school supplies abroad or wherever you celebrate the holidays! That is big fun! Other countries have stuff you might not see at home! Imagine how cool for example a paper notebook looks if it is is printed in another language!

Trust your teenage child!

If you have teenagers they probably don't like to shop with their parents. Instead they go out with their friend(s) or alone. It can be hard for parents to realize their children don't need them anymore. You want to care for them and protect them. But there comes a time you need to let this go. If your children are ready to do it themselves trust them. They can do it! Encourage your children and tell them you're fine with it! It'll be alright. Teenagers are clever enough to do this on their own. And they are experts in knowing what they need!

Relax!

Lots of parents are a bit nervous and stressed out about the annual back to school ritual. There is no need for it. Try to enjoy it. Have patience with your child! Make sure you take enough time. So no appointments afterwards, The only thing you have to do is make sure everything on your list is bought. So take your time, have a coffee break in between, breathe in and out and you'll be fine!

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)

Limits?

Setting limits doesn't make you a bad parent! It teaches your children money awareness which is a good thing!

Back to school trends for 2013-2014

Every year the back to school supply list changes because of new trends. What is cool for you to buy this year? Have a look at these great school items you might really like!

Monsters University Mike Backpack & Dual Compartment Lunch Tote
Monsters University Mike Backpack & Dual Compartment Lunch Tote

How cool is this Monsters University Mike backpack. the lunchbox matches it. If I were still a student this would definitely be one of my top favorites!

 
Angry Birds 16" Lenticular Backpack and Ultimate Back To School Set
Angry Birds 16" Lenticular Backpack and Ultimate Back To School Set

What to choose, Monsters University or this Ultimate Angry Bird BTS set, hard choice, think hard before you buy!

 
Zuidwest College, a High School in The Hague, the Netherlands
Zuidwest College, a High School in The Hague, the Netherlands

My Back to school tips for students

Talk with your friends

If you can't decide about your favorite items, why not call your (best) friend(s). Ask their opinion! What stuff are they going to buy? What are the hottest back to school trends for the coming school year? Discuss it and you'll help each other to choose the best stuff!

Give your back to school supplies a personal touch!

Nowadays there is so much stuff you can use to decorate your school supplies! And it's really cheap. Doing this makes your notebooks, binders, planner, etc. unique. It is much more fun if you have your own cool BTS look!

Don't forget to personalize your locker! It is so much nicer to have a great locker in your own style. It will make you feel more at home! Think of a mirror, photos and pictures, a refreshment to boost your energy when you feel you need it, etc.

What is your BTS style?

Before you go shopping alone, with your parent(s) or friends think good about your style! What suits you most? Are there specific colors you like? What items do you really really want? A personal back to school style is very important to enjoy your school year more!

Clothes for the new school year

Unless you need to wear a schooluniform you might need new clothes, especially for your first school day. The kickstart is important, you need to feel good about yourself. Talk with your parent(s) about it if you think you need some new things to wear.

Not enough money for everything? No sweat!

Perhaps your parents set a budget for your new supplies. Most of the time this is enough to buy all you want. But sometimes there is just another item you so desperately want. And what to do if the budget has been reached? Here are two tips from me for you:

  1. Replace it for another item. Perhaps there is something you don't really need and/or want after all
  2. Make your parents proud! Go earn the money you need yourself. Perhaps you can babysit, walk the neighbors dogs, wash cars, sell stuff of your own on Ebay, find yourself a job during the summer, etc. Be creative! There are plenty of ways to earn a little extra money.

    If you love writing you can even become a publisher here on Squidoo: Click here if you're feeling creative! (opens in a new window)

Feel good about yourself!

The first day of the new school year is pretty exciting. You're not alone if you feel nervous about it or experience feelings of anxiety. That is perfectly normal and part of the game. It will be better! It helps if you feel as good as possible. So think about what you're going to wear, your hair, etc. Maybe you feel better having a lucky coin in your pocket or another secret item that helps you survive the start of your new year. Lots of people (no matter what age!) have it, so why not! You don't have to tell others! It's your secret! (I always carried a small bear in my pocket!)

Enjoy your summer vacation!

Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)

Wow you made it!

If you read this you finished my Mini Masterclass! Tadaaaaaaa! You're a school shopping graduate and that's a great accomplishment! Now you know what to do right... yes... go do some shopping!

Before you leave would you be so kind to leave a comment below? I'd really appreciate it a lot!

PS: If you liked what you just read, there is a like button ;-)

I hope my back to school tips were useful you. But I don't know it all. Do you have great ones too? Let the world know about it and share them here. Others might get inspired by your amazing input. So please share your great ideas! I am looking forward to read them! Everyone can post: students, parents, teachers, etc. You can even stay anonymous if you prefer! Please be friendly! And of course spam goes where it belongs: directly in the tray!

Did you like my Mini Masterclass? - Do you have feedback or back to school tips of your own?

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    • darkflowers profile image
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      Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Bercton1: Thank you very much Bercton! Have a lovely day!

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 3 years ago

      Great lens on back to school. Very timely indeed!

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @steadytracker lm: Thank you, Steadytracker!

    • steadytracker lm profile image

      steadytracker lm 3 years ago

      An excellent lens. It is important to be prepared for your school supply shopping before you head out to the store to make sure you get everything you need and at the best price possible.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @ChristyZ: *Blushing* Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      This is a terrific article! Very helpful and entertaining, you did an amazing job!

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @LornsA178: Great that you are homeschooling, saves you a lot of money. Thank you for sharing and liking this Lens, have a lovely day!

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 4 years ago

      We just purchased our school supplies last month, we don't need that much due to we are homeschooling. Most of our needs are ordered in a homeschool supplier, and we just have to shop for adds and ends.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @SusanDeppner: Yes, me too Susan, and nowadays there are soooo many things to choose from! Makes you wish you were back to school again! Thank you for liking my Lens and your kind words!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love all your pictures. I just love school supplies!

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @takkhisa: Thank you takkhis!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      You have some great ideas in this lens! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this awesome lens :)

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @artbyrodriguez: Thank you *blushing now* it was big fun taking the photos!

    • GirlUHeardItFrm profile image

      GirlUHeardItFrm 4 years ago

      Very nice lens - that store looks like a lot of fun, makes me want to go shopping there. Well done!

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      Thank you for your tip, very much appreciated! And of course I love your compliments too! It was a bit of a challenge, but I loved writing it! I will definitely give it a try to make a unique bio from my introduction!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      Very well written and informative article....love the personal stories and photos.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @GirlUHeardItFrm: Thank you for your kind comment! And yes, that store was awesome!

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @socialcx1: Thank you! I hope likes it!

    • socialcx1 profile image

      socialcx1 4 years ago

      I will show this lens to my daughter.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Elsie Hagley: Thank you so much Kiwana71! I loved taking all the photos and the writing of course! Have a lovely Sunday!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Very nice article, loved your photos all nice a clear, lots of info covering a wide range of ideas for everyone. Cheers!

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Mr Criminology: Thanks! I think it depends on the articles you want to buy. I love personal shopping more too by the way :)

    • Mr Criminology profile image

      Bigwas 4 years ago from Philippines

      Personal shopping is better than shopping online.It is cheaper to personally go to the bookstore and buy school supplies than buying it online.

    • darkflowers profile image
      Author

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @AntonioM23: Thank you so much Antonio! It's a pleasure!

    • AntonioM23 profile image

      AntonioM23 4 years ago

      Great lens,thanks for sharing this info