Saturday, August 11, 2012

Making Back to School less painful...

This time last year I wrote one of my first blog posts on the topic of Back to School (click HERE to see it) and how I dread Back to School shopping because

1- It's means summer is nearing the end
2- There are so many other things I'd like to spend money on than school supplies and
3- New this is even more painful with 2 children to shop for since my son is starting Kindergarten this year SNIFF SNIFF!

Anyway, as I mentioned last year, I am ALL about finding the bargains and minimizing the pain during this process.  Here are a few ways to try to make it a little easier:

1.  SHOP early!  I cannot stress this enough.   Not only do the sales on school supplies start unbelievably early, but the crowds are so much less too.  Most people don't even want to think about school until about now and for that reason July is a great time to shop.  We went on a rainy day in the beginning of July with supply lists in hand and got everything in 1 hour for both kids.  I'm not bragging...well maybe a little, but this was our  easiest trip yet.  Also, the stores have some great offers early.  At Staples this year they had 15% off everything you could fit in a reusable bag back in July.  Pretty good deal for the expensive stuff on your list.

2.  SHOP the fliers.  I know Staples has had tons of great deals on supplies during the past few weeks and has been sending endless emails with these said specials.  You can subscribe to their emails on their website. Also, use their ink recycling program and you will receive rewards and FREE dollars back to shop.  I hold all of mine throughout the year specifically for back to school shopping.  I did it again this year and got about $35 in free stuff.

3.  Go through your old supplies before leaving to go shopping.   I keep a box of school supplies that we either received back at the end of the prior school year or things I bought extra because they were so cheap (like the $ .25 Crayola markers...we can never have enough).  Or sometimes the package contains 6 highlighters cheaper and they only need we seem to acquire extra.
Now as much as my kids like new things, we check our box first and then cross off what we don't need. Like pencils....we had 4 boxes. Ridiculous.

4.  Lastly, try to put on a smile through it.  I remember as a kid thinking it was such a fun thing to get all new stuff and got very excited about my upcoming year as a result.   My kids seem to share the same enthusiasm for this process.  More my daughter than son, but both thought it was a fun rainy day activity.

One thing we seem to get new most years is either a backpack, lunchbox or both.  For some reason, we go through these quickly.  This year I'm happy to say I got away with only new lunchboxes.   I had bought a small Pottery Barn backpack very cheap on sale a few years back for one year of my son's preschool and since he's such a peanut, we decided to use it again for Kindergarten.  As much as he wanted a Power Rangers or SpiderMan backpack...this mean mom diverted his attention and I told him we compromised and decided to wait until next year.

My daughter has decided to reuse a bag I made her last winter.  Hallelujah.   I'm happy that for the first time in 5 years she can use something twice and also that she loves the bag so much she wants to use it again.  Here is what it looked like brand new.
She is a lover of all things zebra and continues to be so she loves the color combo.  Not my 1st choice, but I'm just glad she likes it.

She is now heading to middle school and thinks a backpack is no longer "cool".   She can fit a ton in here believe it or not and she says it's more comfortable on her shoulder.

I have actually decided to add some to my store for the fall to see how they do...stay tuned.

I did let each of them pick out a new lunchbox.  They picked ones that TOTALLY fit their personalities and what they love.   The zebra one is of course for my zebra loving daughter and she loved that she could carry a ton in it and it didn't look "too much" like a lunchbox...oh middle school.

And of course, what could be better for my monkey loving son that this lunch box.  He was beyond excited when he spotted it.  It beat Power Rangers, all superheros and even Ninjago...pretty cool.  I secretly loved this one too and actually almost bought it last year, but held off.  He could care less about the functionality, but I love the clip on the top to attach it to his backpack.

Here are some other great backpacks and lunchboxes out there if you haven't found one yet.  I have made the mistake many times in the past of going for the fun backpack which inevitably falls apart because as a kid I had the "quality" backpack and hated it because it was so boring.   But....I now see why my own mother bought the one she did.   Quality is worth it in the long run.  Here a few of the "quality" ones I loved.  The great part is that they have finally found a way to blend fun and quality into one backpack!  (click on the link below any picture to see where to find it!)


This one is even reversible and it's expensive too.  I guess I'm becoming a sucker for zebra too.  You certainly wouldn't have a hard time finding your backpack in a group with this one.

And for the little girls...


And for the little boys...

Back to school time is coming fast and furiously and I know some of you are headed back next week already.  We have just a few more weeks before we will be headed back too.  I have some great back to school fashion finds and fun ideas to share over the next week! Until then...happy back to school shopping.

Poshed Up

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