Fall is an exciting time for parents and kids alike. Classes are well underway and fall activities and experiences have most of your attention and time! But before you get too caught up in the season, there’s a good chance you still need to do some school shopping.
Classroom supply lists have been getting longer in recent years. In addition to school supplies, your kids might need other things too, including fall clothes and new electronics. All the expenses can add up if you aren’t careful. And if you forget something important, it could lead to unwelcome drama and late-night grocery store runs later.
Back to school shopping shouldn’t be stressful for parents or kids and it shouldn’t break the bank, either. Here are eight tips you need to know to conquer your fall shopping stress-free.
1. Take Inventory
Before you head out to buy school supplies, check around the house for anything you might have left over from last year. Empty out backpacks, desks, closets and cupboards to see what you have lying around. Your kid probably doesn’t need new pencils if they have an unopened package sitting at the bottom of their bag.
In addition, take an inventory of the clothes and other items your kids have and take note of what they might be missing. This is a good time to clear out clothes that are too small or too worn out to be useful this year.
2. Make a Budget and a List
Once you know what you have, you can make a list of what you need. By having a comprehensive list, you’ll be less likely to buy things you don’t have need of.
While you’re at it, create a budget as well. Back to school shopping can get expensive, but if you and your kids go in with a budget-focused mindset, you’ll keep your spending under control.
3. Don’t Forget About You
During back to school season, you’ll likely be focusing on the needs of your kids. However, the season may also require you to buy a few things for you and your household.
Think about what items you may need as well. Will you need new shoes for attending your kids’ activities? Are you out of printer paper? Do you have medicine and tissues stocked up for flu season? Considering these needs early will spare you stress as the year wears on.
4. Shop Around
Lots of stores offer deals before and after the start of the school year. This includes grocery stores and other places that might not be your first thought when you think about school shopping.
Keep an eye out for deals across stores and buy basic supplies like pencils and paper from stores offering additional discounts for buying these items.
5. Start Shopping Early
No one wants the stress of school shopping the night before classes start. Start shopping early to alleviate the pressure to rush and find the best deals. Many stores start offering back to school sale prices in the summer, so you can start browsing as soon as school is out.
6. Don’t Buy All at Once
Even though you can certainly blast through your back to school shopping in one afternoon, you might not want to. Buying everything at once is often not the best way to save money.
Buy only what they’ll need right away and watch for deals later on. Many stores discount clothes shortly after the beginning of September and electronics typically go on sale around Black Friday, so patience might pay off for larger purchases.
7. Balance Budget and Fashion
If you’re shopping for clothes, you might find yourself spending more than is reasonable. Fashion can be important to kids and teenagers, but your budget is important too.
To balance your budget with your kids’ sense of fashion, try limiting them to a certain number of items they can purchase. If they can only choose one jacket, they’ll likely pick one they want. Furthermore, allow them to help with budgeting and prioritizing, reminding them that one expensive item will go hand in hand with several less expensive ones.
8. Avoid Buyer’s Remorse
For kids, what is cool, or on-trend can heavily influence buying decisions. Of course, you want your kids to be happy, but you don’t want them to change their minds about what makes them happy when the other kids start bringing something else to school.
As you start your back to school shopping, be wary of trends that may disappear before school even starts. This goes for toys especially, but it’s also important to remember when shopping for clothes.
Remind your kids that they should get what they like, and not necessarily what’s popular. Don’t let pleas of “but everyone else has one!” go unexamined. If you’re really worried about buyer’s remorse, delay purchasing decisions for a few days to make sure your kids are sure about what they want.
Time to Get out There
Although back to school shopping can feel like a whirlwind, it doesn’t have to be stressful. By planning, adhering to your budget and helping your kids make wise purchases, you can start the school year feeling good and continue through the fall season with ease.
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!