The end of the summer is quickly approaching, and with it comes back to school days. Sales have already begun in stores everywhere. Mailboxes and newspapers and television are bombarded with ads displaying each store’s wares at “discount prices.” Not only is it overwhelming to wade through, but it reminds us parents that we have to spend all that money again.
There is nothing to be done about making back to school purchases. That doesn’t mean we can’t be smart about style.
These items are usually unavoidable. They wear out or kids out-grow them. Instead of letting ads bog us down, we just need to keep these four items in mind for the best deals:
- Sneakers: It’s one part style, one part necessity. Sneakers often wear out every year and need to be replaced, or the feet just grow over the summer and the old ones no longer fit. Kids enjoy choosing new sneakers because they can let their new style come through with new shoes, and new shoes just feel great wearing on that first day of school. Watch for deals on these. Most stores have B1G1 50% off sales for back to school.
- Backpack: There is nothing more we can do but accept that these will wear out every year. Backpacks sustain heavy wear and tear during the school year and are rarely in suitable working order for the next year. Be prepared to spend money on a backpack.
- Jacket/Coat: Kids grow out of jackets so fast. The best time to buy a new one is at the end of a season (for example early spring). Unfortunately for some of us, if we don’t plan that far ahead we have to rely on back to school sales. Few stores offer more than 30% off the ticket price, so if you can find a better deal than that, don’t let it go.
- Haircut: Back to school also means school picture days are coming up fast. Kids need a haircut to prepare them for the big photo day, and we don’t want to wait until right before pictures in case the style isn’t quite right. Look for good prices and follow some great advice on how to be prepared for your trip to a haircut salon.
Just because these are called non-essentials doesn’t mean they are not necessary. Non-essentials include items we don’t necessarily have to purchase every year. The biggest one of all is clothes.
Every kid wants to show up for a new school year wearing new threads. Every parent just wants to kids to wear what they already have. Instead of buying a whole new wardrobe, consider these tips:
- Don’t replace what still fits. Before going shopping have a fashion show where your kid tries on all the old clothes. Get rid of what doesn’t fit by selling them. Make piles of what does still fit and find out what is missing to create a full wardrobe.
- Create a “needs” list before shopping. Once you know what your kid needs for school, create a list with them so that they understand and can be excited about it as well.
- Create a reasonable budget before shopping. Once you know what your needs are you can look through ads and hazard a reasonable budget for shopping.
- Avoid emotional shopping. Let the kid pick out their own clothes, as long as they are items on the “needs” list. If there is something they insist they can’t live without, tell them that they can have it as long as they are far enough under budget to buy it once they have everything else they need. It teaches kids to be wise about their spending as well.
Back to school is expensive, but with proper planning it can be much more reasonable.