August 17, 2015

A Smart Shopper's Back-To-School Last-Minute Shopping Survival Guide

For most schools, the new school year is already back in session. In my city, school starts in two weeks. My child did not want to be reminded, as do I - tough! -  but the "cycle of life" will heave forward like a wrecking ball whose only main goal is to destroy every attempt we do to ignore and deny it. We'll just sing Hakuna Matata! Maybe that will ease the "pain" as we embrace the reality of the impending arrival of the new school year and the challenge of surviving mass stampede inside the stores from frantic parents doing last-minute BTS shopping!

But you don't need to be included in the casualty list. Here's my trustworthy survival guide to make sure you don't end up the object of a shopping roadkill.

School Supplies

1. Shop weekday of the last week before school starts. Monday or Tuesday are the best days to do your last-minute shopping. Monday is the least day any parents will think about going shopping! It's the "first" day of the week and for most working parents, their mentally-programmed-worker-brains auto-pilots to focus in gearing up and surviving the start of another grueling work week. Shopping is totally non-existent in their agenda - which means stores are "safe" and uncrowded!

2. Shop early. Get to the store as soon as it opens or between 1-3 pm. I visit stores during these time frames all the time because of this perk: most stores are void of shoppers! If you go any later, you'll fight your way through zombies, robots and under or over caffeinated shoppers. If you want to shop in know when to go.

3. Better deals and discounts on the last week before and after BTS.  Most stores will put their school supplies on sale and clearance prices at this point in time. If you want to save money and are willing to wait at the very last-minute, then I'd say, you're a rockin' smart shopper!

4. Buy only the essentials. Yes we get that overloaded generic checklist every year, but we don't need to buy them all at the same time. Or buy all of them, at all. There are items that can wait and that you can get later. Focus your spending money on the must-have items that your children needs to use right away as soon as school starts. This way, you can budget your money wisely and save money when additional items on the non-essential list goes on sale.

Clothes- Shopping

5. Clearance racks are your BFF. If your children goes to a non-uniformed school, lucky you! This year, my daughter is going to one, which gave us the flexibility of checking out clearance racks at our favorite stores every time we do our weekly shopping errands. We were able to buy enough clothes at heavily discounted prices to get her school-ready and in style!

6. Shop at Consignment stores. You can get uniforms which are slightly used and looking like brand new and at cheap dirt prices! Remember, kids grow up fast. No reason to waste precious money on clothes they'll probably wear for only 2 months - if you're lucky.

Tip: You can sell your old uniforms at consignment stores too.

7. Swap. This is a growing trend that you can utilize. Gather friends with school-aged children and have a swap party of used uniforms.

8. Take advantage of BOGOS. When kids grow fast, their stinkin' feet does too. When you see shoe stores offer BOGO, jump on it. 50% off are always a good deal especially if you're looking to get shoes for yourself and not wanting to pay premium for it.

These are just a few of what I do every year to save and survive BTS shopping. If you like these tips, please give us some love, a shout out and shares in your favorite social media channels. And if you have tips to add to this list, give me a holler!

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