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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Back to School Blues?

Yes, I know it is a little early to cover back-to-school shopping (although in Phoenix our kids go back at the beginning of August)! There is, however, a method to this madness. Before you go crazy at the last minute running out to buy clothes, shoes, dorm necessities, toiletries, and the inevitable cartload of classroom supplies, take a deep breath now and save some time and cash (and your sanity)!

Here are some suggestions:

* Take a couple of hours (well, with a girl, perhaps a couple of days!) and sort through closets and drawers to determine what clothes are still wearable for the coming year. If they still fit well (not too snug or short) AND (this is the biggie)your kid will still wear them this year without fear of becoming a social outcast, put them back in their place. If NOT, sort hand-me-downs for the next kid in line from donations. Take donations in now and get your tax receipts so you don't forget!

* Don't replace dress shoes if they still fit and can be cleaned up...they don't get as much wear and tear as tennis shoes and casual shoes. Those need to be replaced (and preferable broken in a few weeks before school starts). And, if like my kids, yours have a knack for putting new items in the closet with tags on and then forgetting about them all year...well, take them back to the appropriate stores and tell them they were a gift and you would like to return them (they were...a gift from you to your kids!)...take cash or store credit...either helps out the cause!

* Sort through the home office, kitchen junk drawer, kids' desks, etc. to see what supplies are really needed. Often I find a stash of paper, folders, printer ink, tape, pens, pencils, (...and the list goes on), hidden away that we never ended up using last year! Mark those off the shopping list before you go to buy supplies.

* Be sure to watch from now through Labor Day for the usual onslaught of coupons for supplies and sales for clothing. Compare prices before you go out and be in agreement with your kids in advance about what the budget is for school shopping and what will/will not be purchased ($200 shoes NOT, cool yet quirky t-shirt you wouldn't pick, POSSIBLY).

* The process is likely to be more enjoyable for all involved if you take one child shopping for clothes at a time if at all possible. It gives you quality time and prevents them from ganging up on you or getting tired of waiting while the other one is trying clothes on!

* If you are not sure what specific items are needed for your kid's classroom or for a dorm room, check the school websites or call in. Don't make assumptions that will cost extra money for no reason.

Any ideas you'd like to share? Post them here!

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