It is July 23 and stores already have their back-to-school displays set up. Really? In July??
I get that some children go back to school in August, but here in N.Y.C. summer vacay lasts until September. And yes, as a mom I need all the vacation I can get!
But alas, I know there are some over-achieving, type A moms out there who want to be super prepared and so, I compiled this list of must-know back-to-school shopping tips for you. Maybe your preparedness and organization can be an example to the rest of us who wait until the last minute.
1. You don’t have to get it all before school starts. No really, some items can wait. Why buy your kid markers, colored pencils and crayons, when the teacher only really needs him/her to have one? Plus, some items may even be cheaper after school starts.
2. Wait for a list. Lots of teachers will actually send home a list during the first days of school outlining exactly what items your child will need. Wait for the list! You’ll save yourself the annoyance of buying tons of things your child doesn’t need.
3. Incentivize some items. Shopping on a budget? Rather than splurge on everything on your child’s list, set aside a few items as rewards for good grades and/or good behavior. The backpack with the headphones jack? Sneakers that light up, spin and play music? These are prime example of “nice to haves” not essentials, so your child can earn them as a holiday gift.
4. Clothes and shoes can wait. Think about it–it’s still pretty warm when your child goes back to school, especially if he/she is starting in August. Sure, you can get them one special outfit to wear the first day, but no need to go crazy on fall clothes they probably won’t wear for another month or so. Plus, by waiting you can get the fall clothes when they’re on sale as retailers are trying to make room for the next season’s items.
5. Sign up for email alerts. I know, the last thing you want is more emails but emails often means coupons and discount codes, especially around back-to-school. If your inbox is already out of control, create a new email address just for retailer emails that you can search for special offers on items your child needs.
6. Buy in bulk–sometimes. There are some items you can’t have too many of–pencils, loose leaf paper, folders to keep everything organized. For these items, we suggest you buy in bulk during the prime back-to-school shopping season when you’re likely to find the best deals. That way you won’t have to restock over the course of the school year when the items aren’t on sale anymore.
7. Use price alerts. The beauty of starting your back-to-school shopping early? You can find out what items your kids want–Frozen backpack, Ninja Turtles lunch box–and put a price alert on it. Because you have extra time, you can track the price of hot ticket items over a few weeks to wait for the best deal.
8. Follow back-to-school hashtags. Not only will you get tips from other moms shopping, but retailers will also use these tags to promote back-to-school sales, deals and special offers. Some examples of hashtags to follow: #backtoschool #backtoschoolshopping #bts
9. Relax! This is obviously the most important. Going back to school after a fun summer is always a little nerve-wracking for your child, so the last thing you want to do is add unnecessary stress over pencils and notebooks. Plus, it’s supposed to be fun!