You know what time it is. Time for school clothes, school supplies, bulk drinks, snacks and fruit cups. Yuuup, back to school season is upon us. So, how to cope? Well I had an idea just hit me up side the head recently (it was Jesus, He didn’t hit me).
DO ALL THAT MESS ONLINE!
It may sound crazy, but if you act now, you can shop online for just about all their stuff and either have it shipped to you or even better, shipped to the store for FREE!!! So while the lines up front are murder, you’ll be in the fast line! Let me show you how this works.
- Comparison shop-HARD! I checked on Dollar Tree, Walmart, Target, Sears, ThredUp (BIG SIDE NOTE: DON’T SLEEP ON THREDUP. They specialize in basically new, high end, ‘sposed to be stupid expensive clothing. And right now, they are giving AN ADDITIONAL 40% OFF WHEN YOU USE THE CODE: SUMMER. Yeah, get your self over there! lol) And definitely don’t forget Office Depot & Aldi. Yeah, Aldi has some good stuff too! The kids have gotta have snacks! And they have a robust back to school effort going on right now. Child they have lists, blogs, ideas, tips and just a ton of helpful stuff. Go check it out! Before I forget, don’t just assume that these dollar places have the best prices. These other stores are less than half of Dollar Tree’s prices during back to school season! Do your due diligence!! And shop the clearance section using filters. I found a ton of great clothes from Sears when I put “less than $5” as a filter. They had a million polo shirts, shorts, tees, etc.
- Start shopping carts for each store. If you can stomach it, make an account for each place and fill up your cart. Get a sum total and get your budget in order.
- Plan the best time to pick up. What do I mean? Well, think about the worst times to go shopping. Work around those. If you have a parent or friend who is a frequenter of that store, they may go do it for you during hours when it’s not a hassle. Or if you’re really gangsta, take a day off and go pick all of the stuff up you ordered. I’ve found the best time of day is around 9 or 10 when stores just open. You get little to no waiting and the staff is not worn out or super grumpy yet. Or, you can have it shipped to your house! Now that’s a win-win! But if you are trying to save time & money, only use home shipping if it’s free or cheaper than the gas you’d spend.
- When you get your stuff, be sure to inspect it. Checking against your shopping cart & your packing list will ensure you have everything you ordered.
- Be nosy. If your child gets the full school supply list, look at what they may need next year. Get some of that stuff out of the way now. If you got a single grade shopping list (like my middle child did this year), call the school and ask what the next grade up will need.
- Stock up!!!! If you see 10 cent pens, binders or whatever that you know they’ll need year after year, get enough for an entire year.
- You can never, ever, ever buy too much notebook paper. Wait, some of y’all are crazy. Get like 20 packs if it’s in your means and you’ll not have that issue for a couple years.
Ok, I hope I’ve helped you get some ideas on how to tame the back to school beast. I’m still working on my shopping carts. But I tell you what, when I saw that I would only need to spend about $22 to get the kids all of their supplies (not snacks or clothes), I was elated. ELATED!!
Oh, my final tip. I make my kids do a fashion show so we can weed through their clothes.
I made the mistake of just telling them to bring down anything that was too small and it almost cost me hundreds of dollars. Why? One of them thought they could weed them out just by looking at the tags. They didn’t realize that clothes aren’t cut the same. Dodged that bullet! But making them actually model the clothes (even when they dragged and whined about it) helped them see what they really had and let me see what I really needed to spend money on. Not to mention that they can grow over 2″ from eating all your food over the summer. I have them do the following:
- Reach up to the sky. I should see no tummy! That goes for guys and girls. You’re not on the cast of Fame, so you shouldn’t dress like it.
- Touch your toes. I should see no booty! No underwear, cracks or crevices.
- Stand up straight. No highwaters, please. And that goes for pant legs and sleeves! Your wrist bone shouldn’t be peeking at me.
- Stand in front of a window. I better not see through it.
- Two length tests: the fingertip test on shorts for my daughter (she likes at/below the knee anyway so that’s actually a non issue) and for my sons, shorts MUST fall at least 1 inch below the knee. Why? Because you should look more like a bball player now in your bball shorts, not a bball player from the 70’s, ya dig??
- The most important question: Do you like it?
I don’t buy clothes anymore that they don’t like. I’ll find it sitting in the closet or shoved under the bed. I’m not the micromanaging, “I bought it, you’re gonna wear it”, wasting my own time and money arguing with you about it, trying to find where you hid it parent. Y’all can if you want. That’s not my style. I like tranquility in my home. Let your children know they have options and that you care what they like. They should figure out what they like, discover who they are, their style and feel comfortable in their own skin. Believe me, we have a lot less arguments, grounding and other stuff than other households. It’s because our children know they can talk to us and we know their opinion is valued. Do they “win” all the time? No. But this is not a game. We’re a family. If one loses, we all lose. We’re all in this together. So yeah, my kids’ opinions matter. They don’t rule the roost, but they matter.
Small story & I’ll let y’all go. My dad was INFAMOUS for buying me ugly clothes. I mean HELLA-UGLY. Like my dad had in his mind, “Girl, I want you to scare folk off” ugly! I’ll never forget those uglier than the Bill Cosby sweaters that he used to get me. And corduroy pants!!! AND IT NEVER MATCHED, Y’ALL! Jesus, I don’t know how I survived my childhood. Oh, if that wasn’t bad enough, he also got me glasses that had the big bug lenses. You know, the ones the Kardashians think are so hot but are definitely not? Yeah, all I needed was a VW written on my head. I looked just like a bug. (I still owe my mama a talking to for not intervening in that mess! Let me get her on the phone RIGHT NOW! )
I absolutely HATED my dad for that. I rarely got any say on what I wore. It was always what they wanted. I felt like a human doll. Well, worse. There’s nothing like having to EXPLAIN your clothes to people. I had to do something. So what did that result in? Say it with me, ladies! CHANGING CLOTHES AT SCHOOL. Yeah. It was ridiculous, but that’s what I did. It would have worked, too. Until that day I decided to be fast and wear a mini-mini-mini-skirt. That resulted in a phone call home & a really bad “conversation” at home.
So what am I saying? Let your kids have some say in what they eat, wear and carry to school. It won’t kill you to give them options you can both live with. As a matter of fact, sit them with you when you shop online. There may be some things they want that you don’t know about. At all costs, maintain peace in your home, child!
Ok, that’s all for now. I’ve gotta go do some other stuff. I’ll have more good stuff for you soon.