6 Tips for Conquering Your Back-To-School Shopping List
By: Cathie Ericson Source: Office Depot
Are you ready for back-to-school shopping? If you’re a parent, you’re probably eyeing the task with a mixture of excitement (ah, the allure of fresh notebooks!) and maybe a touch of dread (that school supplies list just keeps getting longer!). You also may know you won't be the only one hitting the stores. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Back-to-School shopping survey, households plan to spend approximately $519 per student this year.
That means you may need a game plan to make the back-to-school shopping experience fun, rather than stressful. Here’s where to start.
1. Consult the school supplies list.
Yes, most kids want to get their fill of cute school supplies and fun desk accessories, but many classes have turned to a more uniform experience for their school supplies list. (Click here to find your specific class school supplies list.) In many cases that entails putting all the items on the school supplies list in one bin for students to grab as needed—all the crayons in one, all the glue sticks in another.
So, try to consult the school supplies list, purchase the exact items on it, and then save the cute school supplies for your student’s own personal use at home. And while you’re at it, consider getting a few extra basics. Often teachers supplement with their own budget, so consider it a way to help with teacher school supplies. (You might even get them a couple of fun desk accessories while you’re at it!)
2. Buy quality, especially in lunch bags for kids and backpacks for school.
There’s nothing more frustrating than shelling out for school supplies only to have something give out after a few uses—lunch bags for kids and backpacks for school are two common offenders. So, before you grab the nearest, cheapest item, try to make sure you have found one that can stand up to repeated use—and washes in the case of lunch bags for kids. For example, quality middle school backpacks for kids might end up costing you a little more at first purchase, but will pay dividends for years to come when they are made with sturdy material and zippers.
3. Don’t forget the extras for good science fair projects!
Going off list during your back-to-school shopping trip is going to save you time and hassle in the long run. For example, you can make sure to stock up on supplies that will get you through last-minute art and science projects. Good science fair projects need supplies like poster board, glitter glue, stickers, colored paper and other art supplies so your child can combine the “sizzle” of presentation with the “steak” of the good science fair project discoveries.
4. Leave room for whimsy with cute school supplies and fun desk accessories.
Yes, the school supplies list might have mandated No. 2 pencils, but once you’ve gotten the recommended items, you can let your kids have some fun choosing character notebooks, shaped erasers, and other cute school supplies and fun desk accessories. Another place to try to show your creativity is in lunch bags for kids and backpacks for school. You can make the selection of these items an exciting “dessert” to the back-to-school shopping “meal.”
5. Remember that high school supplies are a little different.
If you’re used to the detailed school supplies list from the younger grades, you will find high school supplies to be a whole new ball game. You can go ahead and stock up on the basics your child will need, such as notebooks and folders. Your child will likely come home with a syllabus from each teacher that has suggested high school supplies, like reams of copy paper, hand sanitizer and cleaning products—items that the whole class will be using communally over the course of the semester.
6. Consider going online for any last-minute items you missed.
While it’s a lot more fun to do your back-to-school shopping in the store, it can get crowded—especially when some families are tackling their school supplies list at the last minute. In fact, the Deloitte survey found that back-to-school shoppers would be spending more than double in-store, compared to online, so if you find you’ve overlooked something on your school supplies list, consider ordering it for delivery. Your quest to supplement the school supplies list with a few forgotten items is bound to be more relaxing from the comfort of your home.
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