Back to School Shopping The Lazy Way

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Lets face it, as the school year approaches, the last thing we want to do is hit the malls for back-to-school shopping.  It’s similar to the holiday craze in December without the cheer, eggnog and pretty lights.  Think crowds, messy stores, long lines and sweaty teens galore.

Why not take my lead and avoid the crowds, leaving more time for the cottage, with these simple tips:

(1) Re-think department stores.

When kids reach at certain age, they inevitably look to the label.  It’s as though they wake up overnight and care about brand names.  Instead of running all over a gigantic mall, stopping in to numerous stores, re-think the department store.  If you go to somewhere like SEARS, you’ll find popular brands and styles in one large section.  No hassle.  No fuss.

(2) Embrace Online Shopping.

There’s no better time in life to embrace online shopping than when your size is as relatively obvious and simple as though of kids.  Before the bumps and curves emerge, take advantage of your kids standard sizes and find their favorite stores, online.  Check tags of their current clothing and either size match or go up one size when buying online.

(3) Try Online “Mall” type websites.

Yes, you can go from website to website (linked to your favourite, specific store) OR you can go to sites that act as umbrellas to a variety of brands.  It’s like finding the “Winners” of the online world — a place to shop for different items, with different brands, all in one place.  From Zulily to Live out There, there are a ton of amazing online shopping sites with great deals for Back to School.

(4) Shop entire looks in one place.

A stylist trick is to shop head-to-toe.  One store = one outfit.  There’s a reason we all do this.  It’s quick, easy and often more economical because you can mentally price things out as you go instead of buying jeans in one place, shoes in another, a top, a jacket etc.  It’s easier to lose track of cost when items come from different stores.  Many stores, like Sears, are putting together top-to-tail outfits, within a certain price point, and incorporating popular brands.  You can’t beat that ease.

(5) Involve your Kids.

If you want to shop successfully, and you’re buying clothes for your kids, you’ll increase success by involving them.  Sure, a day out with your tweens or teens may sound like punishment (which is why I really stress embracing online shopping — not to mention the deals you can score from the comfort of your couch), but if your kids pick out their supplies and outfits, they’re much less likely to hate them come first bell.

(6) Don’t Go Big or Go Home.

When it comes to school supplies, bigger is not always better.  My 11-year-old stepson got the most gigantic, obnoxious backpack I’ve ever seen for grade five.  Yes, grade 5!!  Aside from basic supplies (pens, pencil, protractor etc) and a binder, what are kids hauling around these days?  His bag was nearly three times his size and it broke my heart watching him hunch over as he walked into his school in the mornings.  They’re like a purse, ladies, the bigger they are, the more you stuff into them.  Keep things small and organized for your kids.  Show them how.  Teach them how.  Binders don’t need to have pockets, zippers, padding etc.  All of that tends to get cumbersome throughout the year.  Think function first.

(7) Price Match.

Do your research.  Nearly every major store offers price matching now (even Toys R Us).  Find your needed/desired back to school products and ensure to price match.  If the store you most often shop at doesn’t offer this, go somewhere else.



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