Prep-ahead with these tips for budget-friendly and stress-free back to school shopping.

back to school shopping tips

Summer is in full swing and a new school year will be creeping up on us before we know it. With all of our busy Summer activities, we can find ourselves in the “last minute” position when the end of Summer rolls around. With a little preparation and teamwork between parents and children back to school time doesn’t need to be stressful.

It’s always helpful to start your back-to-school shopping with a game plan. Whether or not your child’s teacher has provided a list of school supplies, you can never go wrong with the basics when shopping. With some planning plus back to school sales, you are sure to be school-ready.

Follow the strategies below and this golden rule: make a list of essentials, stock up on the basics, and take advantage of back to school sales.


Sit down with your child and go over your list of essentials together. Determine your child’s immediate needs: is it a new pair of shoes, a new backpack, long sleeve shirts, or a new laptop? Spend on those items first, and plan on budgeting for the rest later in the year. While you’re at it, teach your child how to get organized, a life skill that he/she will be using for the rest of her life.

Sort through last year’s supplies to see what is left over or can be reused. Before you hit the stores, go over your child’s closet. Make sure you’re not buying something they already have! Take the time to check items that are still in good condition. Or better yet, make them try their clothes on to see if they still fit well. Once you have done that, you can then plan on buying items that can easily be mixed and matched.

Set a budget and stick to it. With back to school sales and promotions, it’s easy to get tempted to buy unnecessary stuff. Decide on a budget for each of the following: clothing, supplies, and gadgets. By sticking to a budget, you can prepare your children for another school year without breaking the bank.


Shop early and start with the basic school supplies when shopping. Buy basic supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks in bulk. It’s important to buy the essentials first to avoid overspending. Hold off on anything that is more of a treat than a necessity — they will most likely be cheaper later! This brand comparison printable will help you keep track of what items were a good deal with previos purchases. You can also access the entire vault of organizing printables by subscribing here for free. 

Look for special promotions and Thursday sales.  Right before the school year begins, many stores have back-to-school sales. Take advantage of special promotions. There will always be free-shipping items and useful “two for one” deals. Also, many department store sales begin on Thursday through Sunday. A trip to the mall on a Thursday can produce great savings for you!

If you shop online, use a coupon code and/or a cashback site. Sites like can help you find the best coupon codes and sales online. Some stores offer coupons in their sales flyers or on their websites so make sure you check your favorites online to get great deals.

After shopping, set up a supply shelf or storage container in your kid’s room for school stuff. This is especially helpful when you buy in bulk, and should be a permanent place that will be used all school year. Anytime you run out of notebooks, pens or folders, you won’t have to run to the store because it’s all in your supplies shelf.

With a well-planned back to school shopping strategy, you can be sure that you’re on your way to a smooth, stress-free new school year!

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