When you go shopping without a plan and a budget you are more likely to buy on impulse, buy things that are too expensive, and buy things that you really do not need. This can all be avoided with a bit of planning and research on the part of you and your children. Before you buy even one pencil or go to one single store follow these simple steps and the experience will be easier on both your nerves and your wallet.
Budget Your budget should be iron clad, with no exceptions. As soon as you start spending a little extra on one thing it will lead to spending a lot extra on everything. Instead, set a realistic budget that takes into account those items you will spend extra on to get higher quality and those items that you can spend less on to be more budget friendly. Remember to leave a little money in reserve for ongoing expenses like replenishing lost or used up items.
Be Firm With Your Lists– As you are discussing the back to school shopping with the kids come up with an absolute list. This will have to include all of the items that are required by the teacher and those that your child wants personally. The kids school list should be easy enough to find online, but do some research to make sure it is correct. Sometimes these lists are just passed on from year to year so double check with the teacher or some other parents to make sure that you really need everything that is on the list.
Look for sales and discounts – Every big retailer knows that the school supply buying frenzy is a chance to make big profits. Because of that they will put certain items on sale for rock bottom prices to lure customers into their stores. You have to be careful though, because for every cheap item there is another item that you need that is not on sale. Look for coupons and sales on the items you need from each store. It will be worth shopping around to get the best deal, even if you have to take a day or two and hop from store to store to get the best deal.