Back-to-School Shopping Made Easy

The Angry Pencil by Marisa Attard

            Arg!  I hate finally having to admit that summer is winding down and I’m going to have to suck it up and go back-to-school shopping.  Shopping with four kids, ages eight and under, is not a fun adventure, that’s why I try to scout out the best deals and have a plan of attack before I even leave the house.

            Here’s how I start.  I take both of my boys supply lists and highlight everything that’s the same on the lists this way I know to double my count.  At their school they need typical things like paper, scissors, and glue sticks.  I know that I will be able to find these at just about any store that sells school supplies.  Unfortunately, there are some supplies that are not so typical like the Ticonderoga brand, six sided, red pencils (don’t ask, it’s a sore subject).     I try to talk with other parents whose kids were in the class last year as to where they bought theirs and where to get the best price.

Once I know where to find the six sided, red pencils that’s the place I start with when comparing prices.  The hope is that I can get them all in one place.  It’s a bonus when I can find all the school supplies at a large store that carries everything from back-to-school supplies to clothes & shoes, and groceries too!

I like to create one big master list with everything on it for both boys back-to-school needs, including things like backpacks, sandwich bags, and water bottles.  Next to each items I include the quantity and any specific notes like brand names, specials like buy 3 get 1 free, or abbreviations like a ‘Q’ for coupon.  Yes, I know coupon is spelled with a C but it’s my personal belief that it should be spelled with a Q, Q-pon.  :-)

If you find that you really do have to go to more than one store make a separate list for each store.  This will keep you on task and save you time.

Ultimately the best way to know that you are getting the cheapest price possible is to just head to Walmart.  They will price match their competitors prices and you don’t even need the ad!  You can read more about it at: http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/10634.aspx .  Any store that will price match is a guaranteed best bet as long as they carry what you need.  Personally, Walmart is my top pick because they sell school uniforms for cheap!  My boys go to a charter school where they can only wear khaki (and you thought I spelled Q-pon weird) or navy blue pants and red polos.  Yes, just red.  Again, don’t ask, it won’t make any sense anyway.

What’s even better is to just order everything online!  Places like www.walmart.com can save you time and money by having it all delivered to the store so you won’t have to pay shipping costs.  Actually, right now Walmart is offering free shipping to your home on a ton of back-to-school items!  www.amazon.com also has thousands of school supplies and many of them qualify for their FREE super saver shipping.

Aaaaahhhhh, *Sigh of relief*.  I love back-to-school shopping online.  No more dragging all four kids through the jungle of shoppers while trying to hunt down the rare and elusive Ticonderoga, six sided, red pencils.

Do you have any back-to-school shopping tips?  Please leave a comment below and let us know how you save time and money on getting your kids ready for the new school year!

Written by Sue

Sue is a former Professional Organizer who left the field to pursue being The Mom. She is currently employed by her four children, Tyler (8), Bradley (6), Katelyn (4) and Breanna (2.5). As The Mom, Sue's days are filled with dirty diapers, loud kids, lots of messes and tons of fun adventures. She's paid daily in Hugs and Kisses and occasionally receives bonuses paid out in Thank Yous. Sue is the luckiest woman alive since she is married to the ever so handsome, Super Man (a.k.a. Corey). In her spare time Sue likes to sleep, eat doughnuts and sleep some more. Check out more posts from Sue at Tried and True Mommy

3 Comments

  1. Ellen Gibson

    Sue — I’d love to interview you for an AP story on tips for saving money and time while back-to-school shopping. If you’re interested, please get in touch. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>