When I was a kid, I remember “back to school shopping” at Sears. Yes, that dates me, doesn’t it? My mother would take us shopping for the entire week before school started in order to buy us new shoes, lunch boxes, book bags, and clothes for the upcoming school year.
Many decades have passed since those years. I now take my children school shopping to get them the things they need for school. In our area, we are also expected to purchase a number of school supplies for the classroom too.
Plan Your Purchases
I do not block an entire week for school shopping like my mother used to do, but I do make numerous trips to purchase supplies throughout the summer. That way, I can purchase supplies as they go on sale.
I also do not purchase new things for my children unless they need them. If the lunch box is still in good shape from the prior year, they don’t get a new one.
You may find that it’s easier for your lifestyle to just block out a day or so to do your shopping, or you may just want to purchase all new items because it is easier. It does take some time to go through things and make a list to see what the children need. This will depend upon your time and money situation.
Making a list of things you need and keeping a copy in the car is helpful as well. If you happen upon a sale, you can take advantage of the savings. Your list will also keep you from over-spending or buying things you don’t need. Here is a suggested list to help you get started. You can also download a printable sheet here to create your own list.
Tax Free Holiday
Many states have “tax free” holidays where you can buy school supplies and school clothes without worrying about sales tax. I did the math and discovered that the amount of money I was going to save wasn’t worth(in my mind anyway) the stress of dealing with the crowds of shoppers.
You can check on your state’s website to see if such a holiday exists where you live and when it will be happening.
If you simply can’t afford back to school supplies for your children, check with your local school district. Many schools provide supplies for children in difficult circumstances. You may also be able to find help through Operation School Bell , Operation Blessing, your local Salvation Army or the United Way.