Excited to start your back to school shopping? Neither am I. When it comes to back to school shopping, there’s no denying that it can be a pain. Shopping for school supplies and school clothes can be stressful, not to mention it can really hurt your budget. Be it on Tax Free Weekend or the weekend after school starts, the school supplies list is long, as are the lines at Walmart, Target and Staples.
Here are a few tips to help you get through this stressful but very necessary season:
- Start Early. My mother always started shopping for school supplies in June and July. She would bring home a few binders or packages of pens and pencils a little at a time, stuff she had found on clearance. This way, by Mid-August, she already had a good supply and never ended up stuck in crazy long lines the night before school starts.
- Compare. If you start early, you have time to compare. You don’t have to buy something simply because it seems like a good deal. Wait a day or two and compare prices. Target might have it 2 for $1 but Walmart will price match that for you.
- Wait it out. It’s OKAY to sit out Tax Free Weekend. Yes, you save the sales tax and yes, there are a few good deals. But a lot of the time, saving $8 off your $100 purchase isn’t even worth the madness of parking and finding a shopping cart. Also, a lot of places don’t even have sales during Tax Free Weekend. This Tax Holiday brings them more than enough business on its own. Save your time and sanity, never mind the sales tax.
- Take inventory. Don’t be ashamed to reuse or hand down. One kid’s trash is another’s new backpack. So before you even start to head out for those sales, stop and check your child(ren)’s closets and drawers. Have them try on last years’ clothes, if it doesn’t fit anymore, donate it or hand it down. If it does, that’s one less thing you need. Double-check that school supply list and make changes as needed.
There you have it. This is how I don’t lose my sanity or have a mental breakdown at a Walmart towards the end of August every year. Feel free to share some of your advice in the comment box below! Good luck, and happy findings!