Back-To-School Shopping: The Real Deal!

For those of you with no kids, let me tell you: back-to-school shopping is no joke and kind of a BIG deal. In fact, it is the second largest retail season after the winter holidays. This year’s sales alone are projected to reach $54.5 billion dollars, according to NRF. It’s projected that families with children in elementary school through high school will spend an average of $696.70, which is up from last year ($684.79) and tops the previous record high of $688.62 set in 2012. That is a lot of money to get your kids set up for the school year and a lot of shopping to get done. Back-to-school shopping starts as early as two months prior to the first day of school, with the peak being between July 22 - August 25. 

Last year I made the mistake of starting late and ended up scrambling for scraps along with other late and desperate mothers. In some instances, I wasn’t even able to secure the required school supplies on time and had to wait until they were back in stock. YES, we’re talking about composition books and pencils, my friends - not the latest hot symbol trading on the stock exchange. My problem is that my kids go on a month long, very fun and exciting, road trip with their dad during the month of July. They have a fabulous time visiting historical sites, national parks, and see some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, and I am forever grateful to him for taking the time to do these special trips with them. What is not great, however, is that it is always right when it is time to do back-to-school shopping.

This year, not to have the incident repeated from last year, I opted for a different strategy. Thanks to YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and various online shops, I have been able to get the majority of my clothes shopping done from the comforts of my very own home, and the kids have been able to be a part of the shopping experience remotely. My daughter pinned a bunch of outfits she liked on Pinterest and shared her boards with me. Based on her pins, I was able to shop for similar outfits at her favorite clothing stores or in some instances, the exact same outfit if a link was included. I then shared my shopping bag with her to make sure she was okay with the outfits and that they were the right sizes. She deleted a few tops and added some she preferred instead and sent it back, ready for me to check out. The same for my boys who also texted links to sites of shoes and sports bags. The whole experience was very relaxing and peaceful, compared to sitting in traffic, trying to find a parking spot, the long lines at the fitting rooms and then again at the registers to pay. 

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The school supplies were equally as painless. I did my shopping online at My local Walmart uploaded every single school supply list for each grade for all the schools that feed into this area and I was able to go in and find the ones that were applicable to my kids. The lists were easy to use; although despite my best efforts to be ahead of  the game this year, I found that some of the supplies were out of stock already! Thankfully the internet is a big place and I found them online elsewhere. Whew! Once I was done shopping I chose to have my kids’ school supplies delivered for an additional $5.99, although you also had the option to pick them up at the store for free. 

1. Look up your child’s school:

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2. Select their grade:

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3. Shop your heart out:

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As a busy full-time working mom, this year’s back-to-school shopping was a breeze! I am sure some of the outfits and shoes will have to be exchanged, but that is a small price to pay for the ease of my ‘shopping’ this year, which was handled while enjoying a glass of wine and my dogs curled up at my feet.