It’s Back To School. Are You – And Your Wallet – Ready?

In early September (or, for some fortunate parents and unfortunate kids, later this month), it’s back to school. With every new school year, comes new classes, new teachers, new friends, new challenges and, of course, new clothes and new supplies.

Shopping before school starts can get expensive and a little stressful as thousands of families converge on stores at the same time. Here are a few suggestions to make the most of the experience:

Make a list: Even if you’re not a list person, sitting down with your kids and figuring out what they need and want is a good way to avoid making purchases you’ll regret later.
Go online: Many clothing retailers and office and school supply shops are now online so Google one near you and have all your kids’ stuff delivered right to your home.
Visit the dollar store: Dollar stores have grown in popularity and you’re likely to find lots of well-priced items for school. Keep in mind, however, sometimes the quality of dollar store items is low, which may mean you’ll have to buy again more quickly than you anticipated.
Avoid trendy: Your kids may want the latest superhero lunchbox or pop star t-shirt right now, but come October or November, they may be so over it. Stick to basic, contemporary clothing and items they won’t tire of. But let them choose one or two cool items because, why not?
Back-to-school swap: Speak to other parents in your area or family members with kids of different ages. They may have items their kids have outgrown or need from you.
Reuse: Even if you’re not swapping with other parents, ask yourself whether your kids can go one more season or year with most of the clothes or supplies they have. Just because you bought that knapsack last year doesn’t mean your kid needs a new one now.
Team up: Supplies, like pencils and notebooks, are packaged together and are often more than you’ll need if you only have one child. Team up with two or three other parents and buy your supplies together so you can divide them up between you.
What are your best back to school tips? Please share them with your Shop Talk blog community forum members!