You Don't Have to Freak Out at Back to School Time

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You Don't Have to Freak Out at Back to School Time

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One of my clearest memories growing up has been the first day of school each year.

My mom always took us shopping for school clothes and supplies a few weeks before school started and then we were not permitted to touch any of our new stuff until the first day of school. We would beg her to let us wear just that ONE shirt or those new shoes to the ONE (whatever event was going on). We rolled our eyes and griped BUT Oh.... That first day!

New year, all new clothes, backpack, lunchbox, notebooks, pens, pencils, I felt like the possibilities were endless!

A whole new start! I felt, as my grandmother used to say, like a shiny new penny.

This is a tradition we have kept for our two kids. They do not get a whole new wardrobe or anything, but we do a back to school shopping trip. In better times, this is one expense I was careful to set money aside for as part of the annual budget.  This year it is going to be a challenge.

I have been here before though so I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

We start with our annual room clean. (Hang in here with me - it is relevant!) I set aside one full day for each kid.  We clean out their room. We go through all the drawers and closet (and toys when they were younger). They try on anything that is questionable.

We get rid of things that are not usable and donate things that are still good but too small. We locate lost shoes, match up socks, organize accessories.  This is critical! I do NOT want to buy 3 pairs of jeans for a kid who has 5 that fit and are in good shape! I do not want to buy a new belt if the old belt is in good condition but under the bed! I go out of my way to be cheerful and silly on this day. I make them their favorite breakfast and really dive into the experience.

They are the focus of the day. 

We talk about hopes and expectations for the next year and bond.  I fish for information shamelessly. Are there shoes they are dying to have or a new style they are wanting to try? I am not sure they even realize I am deciding how much they need for school.

Now my work begins - Thank You Internet!!

Back to School time brings a bonanza of sales, coupons and deals. Just about anything you get is on "sale." That does not mean it is the best price or a good deal.  If you do not do your homework you are handing away your hard earned cash. With my daughter's Asperger's Syndrome we have to make every minute in a store count.  She will not hold up under a marathon shopping trip so Pre-Shopping is a MUST.. We live near outlet shops, but far from the mall.

Outlets are great but you have to be careful. You can get $80 jeans for $40 but I am not spending $40 on jeans.  

I make a list of what each kid needs. I look on line at prices and search for coupons. I write down details about sales.  When we go shopping I have a plan and I know what we are getting. The kids get to try things on and choose styles but I am armed with information to give them choices that will keep them in my budget.

I am not overwhelmed with sales gimmicks or giving in and buying whatever they have because I am tired and my daughter has completely shut down and is going to fall apart if someone asks her opinion one more time.  

Then, their new things get set aside to be longed for over those last precious weeks of summer vacation. 

I steadfastly refuse to allow even one single try on before that first day because I remember how sweet the reward is.


Kimberly Davis, Debt Management Plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Kimberly Davis

I have been married for 15 years and we have two kids. We have had a rough few years; between my Mom's having to come and live with us to my husband's lay off.  We are very eager to get our finances under control with the CareOne Debt Management Plan because our kids have BIG college plans. We have plans too and they include traveling with our trailer and being able to retire at some point, so this debt just has to go!  I live in California with my family and am  focused on making real changes so that we can get started on a fun debt-free future.You many know me in the Community Forums as Kimmer5000 and I am now a compensated blogger for CareOne!  Check out my blogs under A Straight Talk on Debt!

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  • My family is very similiar in back to school shopping as yours is...  When I was little, going school shopping was one of the most anticipated days for us kids.  We would get all our new school clothes and shoes at a discount store (usually Gabriel Brothers or Value City) and then we'd get supplies at Marcs.  WIth 5 kids in the family, my dad was very careful about what he spent.  We would finish our shopping day by eating out - usually at Parassons's restrauant.  That in itself was a big treat, because we only went out to eat a couple times a year.

    We would try on our clothes and fill up our backpacks, but we weren't allowed to wear anything until school started.  We would even practice getting ready and going to the bus stop because we were so excited to just play with our new stuff.

    This year, I went to the Children's Place outlet for my children's clothes shopping...  I had 30% off and only bought items that were on sale.  They had alot of summer clothes for $2.99, so I stocked up for next summer too.  My oldest two had really outgrown their clothes, so they needed alot.  My youngest luckily enjoys wearing her sister's hand-me-downs, so I didn't have to get as much for her.  I did very well on the total price, which is great because I didn't go over my budget!

  • ondecker - Thanks for stopping by! Don't you just LOVE it when you get what you need at great prices! I just love it when I find a really good value. It makes doing my homework so worth it. I used to go to the Children's Place outlet when my kids were small and got some great deals. I am one of 5 kids too. I only have two but I remember those lessons. As the youngest, I never minded hand me downs. I used to tease my older sisters when they got something I liked by telling them things like "Be careful with my shirt!" and by telling them they were really just "borrowing" my clothes because I knew it would all be mine eventually! It is nice to know someone else treasures these memories!

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