Back-to-School Shopping

When Target and Walmart start dedicating their seasonal section to notebooks and backpacks and markers, that’s when the feeling sets in. It’s time for kids to go back to school. It’s time to go back to packed lunches, back to after-school practices, and back to making sure your kids are wearing clothes that don’t double as pajamas. 

There’s a lot of prep that goes into starting the school year again. Whether you’re working off of a shopping list or tossing things in the physical and digital cart as you browse, these are the tips that will take the stress out of the back-to-school rush.

1. How to Plan Back-to-School Shopping

Tip number one: do not go in blind. Going in without a plan of attack is the easiest way to fall into financial stress. Before heading to the stores, call the school to see if your kids’ teachers have a shopping list of required materials available. This should be your starting point. From there, create a budget that will reasonably accommodate the list without eating into other important savings. This will be a huge help when choosing between brands that seem like a small price difference from item to item, but will add up by the time you get to checkout.

2. Which Items Should I Splurge On?

Shirts are probably going to need to be replaced throughout the school year as your kids grow, tumble, and generally find creative ways to destroy their wardrobe. Replacing everything at the beginning of the year isn’t going to slow the roll. Instead, start them off strong with sturdy essentials that will last them the rest of the year. We’re talking about a few goods, new pairs of back-to-school shoes, a tough backpack, a jacket, and probably a new pair of pants. While shirts will be quickly grown out of, stained, or tossed from the list of what’s trendy and will likely need to be replaced more regularly, shoes, backpacks, and pants really should be good enough quality to last at least the year. These are the essentials, and what you invest into them will impact what kind of use you get out of them.

3. How to Make School Lunches Easy

Of everything that needs to be done to keep things running smoothly each week as kids head back to school, packing lunches does not need to be one of them. One silver lining that the pandemic has brought about has been grocery delivery. Here’s a tip that will upgrade your weekly routine, save you money and ease the hassle of keeping the kitchen stocked with ready-to-go lunches for the kiddos. 

Grocery and retail stores like Amazon have options that not only let you create recurring deliveries, but some retailers even give you a discount for subscribing. Everything from Clif Kid Organic Granola Bars to StarKist Lunch to-Go Tuna Salad can be added to a recurring shopping list that will be automatically shipped to your door at intervals of your choosing. On top of the freed-up brain space and time in your schedule, this option often gives you discounted prices on groceries for “subscribing.” This is seriously a game changer for busy parents.

All It Takes Is a Little Planning

Whether it comes to school supplies, new clothes, or packed lunches, the back-to-school season doesn’t have to be as stressful as it sounds. With a little planning, prepping for a new year can be affordable, time efficient, and stress-free.

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