10 Savvy Back-to-School Shopping Survival Tips

woman shopping for kids' clothes
It's almost time to pack up the swimsuits and bust out the khakis, mom and dad. While it might seem like a good idea to just pull out your laptop and take care of your kid's back-to-school shopping needs online, kids grow. Also, sizes can vary so you really have to bring along the whole crew when you head out to the stores.

Don't panic! You can make a fun day out of the experience without blowing your budget, or your top. Follow these 10 back-to-school shopping survival tips and your child will be dressed sharply and you'll be back home enjoying those last days of summer in a flash.


1. Timing Is Everything

Head out first thing in the morning, right after breakfast. A tired, hungry kid is not the best shopping companion. Then, you can promise lunch out if all goes well.

2. Study School Policy

Even if your child's school doesn't require a uniform, it could have some surprising rules. Don't be caught off guard with a bag full of brand advertising t-shirts if logos are forbidden in the hallowed halls.

3. Carry Cash

It's tempting to get "just one more" super cute t-shirt even though you know it's out of budget. If you only allow yourself to carry cash on shopping day, you'll have no choice. Additionally, it's a visual cue to your kids that there are limited funds.

4. Negotiate Wisely ... With Your Kids

To avoid the head butting that can come along with shopping with kids, negotiate before you walk into the store. If your rule is that you get final approval on every purchase, make that clear. But consider bending the rule for good behavior, or allowing one kid's choice for every four adult ones.

5. Don't Drag It Out

Your child's attention span for clothes shopping will not be as extended as it might be for texting or Xbox playing. If you meander around the mall, you could spend all day on this venture. Instead, have a plan before you go and stick to it.

6. Bring Provisions

You don't want to spend time trying to find a drive-through for a bottle of water. Pack water bottles, granola bars, and any other quick energy boost kind of snacks that will keep everyone going until lunch time.

7. Outsource

You know who might love shopping for school clothes with your kid? Grandma. Fully research that option, if for nothing else, as a supplement to your day.

8. Know the Sales

Pick up your Sunday paper, and go online to your favorite store websites. You would hate to spend more on the same pair of jeans if only a trip down the street could have saved you serious cash.

9. Don't Spend It All

Reserve some of your back-to-school budget for a few weeks into the school year. Between after-school activities and the latest trends that your kid may not have picked up on, there will be a need to add to the closet after the first bell rings.

10. When to Go Online

Okay, so you can do some shopping online. Once you've established the proper shoe size and jacket size, buy things like rain gear and winter coats online for a better deal and more options. Buy a size up, and you'll be set for inclement weather days throughout the year.

What are your back-to-school shopping tips?


Image ©iStock.com/DmitriMaruta

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