Back to School Shopping Tips

It was not so long ago that my mother used to take me back to school shopping for all my supplies… I remember the days fondly, running up and down the aisles of various pens and pencil crayons and markers and erasers and scissors and a billion different binders and pretty pencil cases and… Are you starting to understand why back to school shopping is so expensive? I am.

The reality is that most of us need to back to school shop on a budget, especially if you happen to have multiple school aged children (and don’t think that your 16 year old isn’t an expensive back to school shopper; four classes means four binders, you know). So here are a few tips as the sales start up to make sure that back to school doesn’t mean no lunch money for a month.


Shop the sales.

There’s no sense dropping $10 on a binder when a week later you would only have to pay $5. The closer you get to the actual school year often the more sales there will be.


Think logically.

Does your child really need 4 binders? Sometimes it pays to be a logical thinking parents. Is your child going to have time to make it to his locker between class 1 and 2 or 3 and 4? Probably not. Buy a bigger binder and save some money. Need dividers now? Get the ones where you can change the subject on them by slipping out a piece of paper, that way next term (next year if you’re lucky) you can use them again.

The same logic applies to multiple pencil cases, getting crayons and pencil crayons, and why you should really just buy the variety pack of pens so you blue, black, and the coveted red.


Set limits before you go.

Let your child know that you can’t buy everything in sight. Sit down together and plan out what they need. Make a list, and tell them they can only buy one thing that isn’t on the list.

Tough Love.

Sometimes, you really don’t need to do a big back to school shop. Binder isn’t broken? Check. Backpack still works? Check. Your child has a billion and one pencil crayons already? Check.

Remember to buy only what you need; not only will you save a bundle, but you’ll be teaching your child a lesson in the importance of money management and environmental sustainability.

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