School supplies should be on your end-of-summer list of things to buy. (Photo: Claudia Snell via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND)After a summer of scheduling playdates, packing for camps and preparing for vacations and road trip, parents have just one more battle to wage with their children: Getting school supplies.
If you follow this simple plan, you and your kids will be ready for a stress-free first day of school.
1. Do your homework
Many schools provide a supply list for every grade. It takes the guess-work out of it. If your school doesn’t, most big retailers (Target, Wal-Mart) and even Amazon have their own shopping lists by grade. You don’t want to leave the store with a trunk full of loose-leaf paper when you really need four dozen sharpened pencils.
2. Make a school supplies game plan
When you have your list, you need to know where you going to get the most bang for your buck. Take a trial run at your favorite school supply stores. Who has Shopkins folders? Who has BB-8 lunch boxes? Which store has great deals on name brands, and which ones are you only going to get great deals on the store brand?
3. Look for added value
Many stores throw in add-ons for free to bring you into their stores. Spend a certain amount and they give you a gift card. Perhaps you don’t use that gift card on supplies, but Lunchables don’t pay for themselves, you know. If you are a Target REDcard holder, you also get 5 percent back on your purchases. If you choose to do your shopping via Amazon, Prime members get free shipping on almost everything.
4. Know what to stock up on
Those school supply lists will have lots of things that you will run out of during the school year. During the middle of the school year, your child’s teacher inevitably will reach out to the class to ask for help stocking up on some supplies. But in January, you will not be able to buy a pack of crayons for under a dollar.
Make sure you grab extra glue sticks, crayons, pencils, construction paper, notebooks and folders. You can just leave them in the bag and throw them in the back of the closet. What you don’t need to stock up on is hand sanitizer, baby wipes, paper towels and tissues. These items are rarely discounted at back-to-school time, and are value priced all year long.
5. Divide and conquer
This school supplies tip is really only for parents of multiple kids. You could do one shopping trip for each kid, or you could bring a large shopping bag, like an Ikea bag, for each kid. With your list in hand, you put each individual kid’s supplies in their own bag. Makes it easy to keep track of who needs what. Also, as an added bonus, when you get home you can grab each bag and know who what belongs to when labeling. And you have all your supplies that you need to bring in for the class in one convenient carrying bag.
BONUS – Don’t get fooled by the bling
Flashy backpacks with glitter and lights are nice and all on the first day. But by midterms, they are less blingy. And since they are usually cheaply made, they will also be on their last legs. Go with a sturdier, less flashy brand-name backpack to be assured that you will not be going on a frantic replacement search come January.
Aversion of this first appeared on Great Moments in Bad Parenting.