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Back to School Tip: Take Stock Before You Shop

‘Tis the season…for back to school shopping – or at least that’s what most stores and marketers will tell you. And while it’s true that kids of all ages do usually need a few things to start the school year off, it’s all too easy to fall victim to the back to school campaigns in every store, website and your inbox. While one overzealous back to school shopping trip may seem harmless, it all adds up – in wasted money, cluttered spaces and added stress taking care of the excess stuff you don’t need. Here’s how to stop the back to school madness in 3 easy steps:

  1. Make a List of What You Need – Whether you get a list from your child’s school or make one yourself, go minimal, you can always get more later. Be sure to include gear you’ll need for extracurricular activities. As for clothes, I would argue that you do not need to buy your kids’ fall wardrobe in August – even in cooler climates, beginning of school weather is very summer-like. So take the pressure off and save most of the clothes shopping until it makes more sense.
  2. Take Stock Before You Shop – Equally important as your school shopping list is taking stock of what you already have before you even consider heading to the store. This likely means doing a bit of organizing for your existing supplies – group like items together, weed out what you don’t need or doesn’t work, and store the keepers in a way that’s user-friendly for the upcoming year. For clothes and shoes, do a review of what you have, donate items that don’t make the cut, and make a note of what basics your kids need to start the year.
  3. Shop Smart – When you’re ready to hit the stores or shop on-line, make a plan and stick to your list. Use sales and coupons to your advantage, but don’t get sucked in to buying things you don’t need or just as bad – more than you need of any given item.

So here’s to being a smart back-to-school shopper this year. You’ll save time, money and your sanity!