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Back-to-school shopping can be educational

Posted: August 7, 2012 - 5:00pm  |  Updated: August 7, 2012 - 5:33pm

 

Shopping sensibly seems to be a passion of mine. The only thing that I don’t find fun is back-to-school shopping.

I’m not sure if it has to do with what I’m shopping for or that I know the summer is coming to a grinding halt and school is right around the corner.

Before you even consider shopping, the best thing to do is to try on all the clothes that would be worn for the new school year. See what fits and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t fit, put it in a pile to give away, donate or take to a consignment store to sell.

Once you have the time to spend shopping, decide where you will shop. It may be that you are going to try consignment and thrift stores first. If so, make sure you have the time and patience to go through the clothing. You may want to hit the mall instead. If so, go online first and look through the paper to find coupons and to see what is on sale. As much as you can, use sales and coupons. Unless coupons say otherwise, you can use a coupon and add it in with a clearance sale to get the maximum amount off a purchase.

One thing to remember when back-to-school shopping is that children will most likely not need blue jeans until October. It is better to wait until then because you never know when your children may have a growth spurt. If you do find a great deal on them now and buy them, keep the tags on them with a receipt attached just in case they do hit that growth spurt.

When it comes to school supplies, there are many options. Retailers such as Walmart or Kmart are one-stop shopping options. If you are going to other stores anyway, it never hurts to check out the sales on supplies at places such as CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and the grocery stores. Sometimes they will have wonderful sales on the most needed items.

The office supply stores also have items on sale for just pennies. This is to get you in the store and spend $5 on other items. If you are buying these items anyway then go right ahead and shop there. If not, do not spend the money on something you don’t really need to get a $2 item for 5 cents.

One thing you can do is stock up on school items whenever you see them on sale. When you see composition notebooks, pencils, paper, etc. on sale, buy them and put them in a bin to hold onto them for later. That way when next year rolls around you can go shopping in your bins first

As for school lunches, some children love to eat the school lunches or it just works better for the parents for them to eat them. If not, get a list together of the items your child will eat in their lunch so that when at the store you will know the items that can be bought and won’t be wasted. Look for sales of those items and stock up when you can.

I have found that once school is going, it is a good idea to ask your child if they are eating the Fruit Roll-Ups you have been packing for them. Sometimes you will find that they are not eating it but are instead giving it away. If that is the case, then that is money being wasted from your checkbook.

No matter what we do, we can’t get time to stand still. School will start again, our children will head out the door for another school year and we will have to make sure they have the clothes, supplies and food they need for a successful school year. The best part about it, we can teach them how to be smart in their shopping for the items that they need, and we can keep a few extra dollars in the bank.

Happy first day of school everyone.

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