Are you prepared for back-to-school shopping? Check out this week’s edition of our back-to-school Q&A series with GeekMom’s Dakster Sullivan, who gives us the scoop on her best back-to-school shopping tips.
What suggestions do you have for parents trying to shop with children of varying ages?
Remember that every age is different. A preschooler isn’t going to care about what they wear to school while a ten year old will. Do the list making for the younger children and give the older kids a chance to make their own list. This is a great time to teach them budgeting and responsibility when it comes to getting what they need verses just want they want. Once you have a list for each of the children, set out on your mission and take your time. Most importantly, make your children stick to their given budget.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for saving money?
In an effort to compete with online retailers, a lot of stores will price match and some will accept competitor’s coupons. Buy extra crayons, markers, paper and folders if they are on your child’s supply list, because these items are dirt cheap during back to school season and they are the items most likely to be replaced during the year.
How can parents and kids avoid burnout when back-to-school shopping?
Do it a little bit at a time. Going out all day might exhaust both your children and your patience. Doing it all on Tax Free Day (if applicable in your area) can save you some money but it will tax your patience to death. Take them out once or twice a week to pick up a few items and then do the more expensive shopping on Tax Free Day.
How much time and money should families allocate?
My husband starts doing the back to school shopping as early as July for my son’s clothes. Doing it a little bit at a time helps to ensure that the final bill doesn’t hit us all at once. Inventory your child’s supplies from last year and see what can be reused. To make sure you don’t overspend on clothing, go through their closet and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit. If they want the latest trends in clothing, make a deal that for every two items they get rid of, they can replace it with one. In terms of how much to spend, set a budget that you are comfortable with and stick to it.
How does online shopping aide in your back to school purchasing?
Online shopping is a great tool to find the best deal. A lot of stores are starting to price match Amazon, so use that as a bargaining tool when shopping in brick and mortar stores. If the retailer won’t match the price, then go with the online store instead (just make sure you factor in shipping if you don’t have an Amazon Prime account). If you have a smart phone, download Amazon’s app and use the built in price scanner to check prices quickly.
Are there any items that you recommend parents wait to buy and why?
If you have a Tax Free Day in your area, buy the most expensive items then to save some money.
Dakster Sullivan is an all-around technology and comic book geek. When she’s not at the office being a Network Administrator, she’s hanging out with her Minecraft-obsessed 8-year old son and Star Wars-obsessed husband. On the weekends, she enjoys cosplaying for charity with the 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups.
To learn more about Daskster, visit her personal website here. For more updates from Dakster, follow her on Twitter at @Dak903.