Back-to-school shopping: Getting ready to bite the apple and not your wallet

back-to-school1“But EVERYONE has them!” If you have a child in school you’ve most likely heard these words uttered multiple times during the traditional back-to-school shopping season. The desire to fit in can cause tremendous stress on children which in turn creates an unhappy fall shopping experience. It doesn’t necessarily mean this needs to be a time of friction. We’ve compiled a few simple tips to make back-to-school shopping a fun way to end your summer while not breaking the bank.

Before setting out on the shopping excursion, set a budget for each kid, and have them list their top 10 items. This will help them to stay focused on the items they truly want instead of buying things at random. Start with the essentials, such as a backpack and school supplies, and then focus on the desired items. Recommend they buy a few items now then some a few weeks after school starts to cover everything on their list. This way you have a chance to break up the high costs and increase the chances of snagging some items on sale or clearance.

The big key to back-to-school shopping success is to stay disciplined. Stick to the budgets you agreed upon without wavering, especially if you have more than one child; otherwise, this has the potential to back fire. Also, only use cash and leave the credit cards and check books at home. This eliminates the chance of spending more money than allocated.

With juggling the costs of sporting goods, clothing, shoes, school supplies, field trips, and much more, finding those fall sales are crucial. Keep an eye on the deals at your child’s favorite stores. Some items could be 50 percent off! There are also a lot of great coupon apps out there which allow you to select your favorite stores to receive coupons and discounts on a regular basis. You can also enter which shopping center you are in to get a list of all the discounts near you.

For an opportunity to prepare an apprehensive child, get them involved in a great opportunity to give back to their community. Each year TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Lansing participates in a program called Operation Backpack with additional area businesses and organizations. This program donates school items to local children in need. This year they are aiming to pass out 1,000 back packs stuffed with school supplies.

Motivate your kids and get them excited to start their new school year by letting them shop for children whose families cannot buy them school supplies. This makes it easier for a child to understand how fortunate they are before shopping, plus the virtue of helping others.

Are your kids starting a new school? Check out our blog for tips to help with the transition!