A survey from Zulily found that 52% of parents feel that back-to-school shopping is the most stressful part of the season. In fact, it’s worse than getting kids ready in the morning, homework and teachers.
It’s not that surprising given that the National Retail Federation reports that the average family spent $634.78 on back-to-school gear in 2013. It’s almost like a second holiday season.
Careful planning and preparation can make this time easier on you. We’ve put together some tips to help you out.
What Do You Already Have?
Now’s the time to take stock. What was leftover from last year? What supplies do you have stored in the house? You might be able to cross several items off the list just by doing some cleaning and organizing.
It’s also possible you have enough supplies to last for a month or so. Once school is in full swing, stores deeply discount supplies. Try holding out with what you have until then.
Shop For Bargains
Speaking of discounts, always look for what’s on sale. This time of year is full of back-to-school sales. Keep an eye on major retailers to find out when you should shop. Most sales start on a Thursday, so avoid the weekend rush by getting there early.
Again, you’ll find even better deals after Labor Day, so wait if you can. If you need important supplies early, still plan to stock up on supplies after the big rush so you’re prepared for next year.
Avoid the Trendy Stuff
Picking out clothes, lunch boxes and backpacks can be much more exciting than basic supplies. However, after your child starts school, they may realize they really want the pencil case their new best friend has.
With that in mind, push the trendy school gear off until after school starts. You’ll be able to get what is “in” this year while taking advantage of the sales.
Avoid Shopping for Yourself
Parents tend to buy clothes for themselves during the back-to-school shopping spree. You can avoid doing this by making a list of exactly what you need and then stick to it. Ideally, you’ll create a budget for back-to-school supplies and let that be your guide. If you have money leftover, then you don’t have to feel guilty about a splurge.
Better yet, put the extra cash in a savings account.
Practice Being in “School Mode”
Get your kids on a regular sleeping and eating schedule like the one they’ll have in school. Plan meals and snacks out for the week so you’re not making frequent trips to the grocery store. When the lunch menu arrives, have them select the days they want to buy lunch and plan to pack the other days.
Getting on a healthy schedule can help you, too. If you’re less frazzled, you’ll be less likely to order expensive take-out.
While you’re working on making this time less stressful, remember to make it fun! Just like the holidays, it’s a memorable time of the year.
P.S. If you need help financing this year’s back-to-school gear, we can help with that. Contact our Loan Experts at 855.692.8562 to learn about our Back to School Loans. You can also .