I admit it – I am guilty of trying to enjoy every last minute of my summer and put anything Fall related on the back burner. But with school starting in just a few weeks and moms beginning to receive school supply lists in the mail, it is time to share the most helpful advice and tips I have on buying school supplies!
If the thought of leafing through sales fliers and making endless trips to several stores trying to find the best deals sounds as pleasant to you as a trip to the dentist, this advice is for you!
Tips for Stress-Free School Supply Shopping!
- First and most important, take a deep breath. There is no right or wrong way to buy school supplies. If you miss out on a big sale you probably would have only saved a few extra dollars and there will always be more sales. If you seem stressed about anything school related your kids may pick up on this and get stressed too, so stay calm!
- If shopping for multiple children, make a master list of supplies needed. Cross out items as you acquire them. Crossing stuff off a list always feels good!
- Reuse! If you have any items that can be re-used from the year before, use them. Notebooks, binders in good shape, pens, markers, etc. There is no need to buy everything new. If your kids do not like this idea let them help pick out the new things they need. Once they get some new things they probably will not care as much about reusing some of the other supplies.
- Theme or no theme? When it comes to buying items with a theme (Batman, Princess, Skylanders, etc.) do so with caution. Kids change their minds quickly and if you buy an entire line of school supplies based on one theme, it could be very costly having to replace them. If your school does not have required colors for folders and notebooks, buy those with your kids favorite characters and buy the more expensive items in a favorite color they will be happy to use for a few years. Or compromise and buy a themed backpack but a solid color lunch thermal.
- Choose quality over quantity! This took me awhile to learn but you are better off spending a little more money on something that will last longer. A quality thermal lunch tote, book bag, sneakers, even binders are worth spending on because they can be used longer. If you have to replace something half way through the year you will end up spending as much if not more.
- Stock up! If you find a good deal on standard items such as notebooks, #2 pencils, black or blue pens, book covers, markers, and paper, buy extra. As a former teacher I know school supplies get used up and lost frequently! Whatever extra you buy will get used or if you keep the receipts you could return them.
- Buying in bulk can save money. Divide the list among a few parents to save time and money!
- Many teachers now include paper towels, tissues, and antibacterial hand wipes on the supply list. Chances are you need these in your home, so buy in bulk and you will have enough to contribute to the classroom too.
- Shop the sale fliers! Many stores offer a new sale each week. When you are doing your weekly errands take a quick look to see if it is something you need.
- Save time online! If saving time is your biggest desire, shop online or better yet have someone else do it for you. Some PTA’s actually offer to shop for you for a set fee. This may not be the right choice for everyone but for some of you this may be a dream come true! Another option is www.1stdayschoolsupplies.com, this site allows teachers to place their lists on-line and all you have to do is find your teacher and order from their list.
- Other convenient on line shopping includes amazon.com, afterschool.com, and target.com (if you have a target red card you save 5% and everything ships free).
Best of luck to you in your back to school supply shopping!