3.) The “back to school” list. Ignore those "back to school lists" in the stores. What I’ve found over the years is that they are very generic and the teachers will provide another list of what they require for THEIR classrooms anyway.
4.) Make your own list. Compare the teacher’s required list to your inventory and make a shopping list of only the items you need.
5.) Shop smart. With list in hand, search the internet and newspaper for sales and coupons, then go shopping for school supplies WITHOUT your children. All the colors, glitter, endcaps with fancy thingamajigs, children screaming “I want,” and "But Ma, li'l Suzie has one” is enough to make any sane mom catch a case.
6.) Shop efficiently. Only buy what you need. Follow your list. If it isn't on your list, don’t buy it. Even if it is on your list, just because it’s on sale for 10 cents doesn’t mean you should buy 20 of them.
7.) Clothes shop in your closet first. If you haven’t already done so, clean out your closets and do a clothes inventory. Did you buy your children new clothes at the beginning of summer or throughout the season? When is the last time li'l Johnny wore those pants? Does that shirt still have a tag on it? In fact, don’t you buy clothes as “needed” all year long? Keep in mind that it’s still summer and really think about if your children NEED even MORE clothes. A first day of school outfit is always fun to have. But seriously ask yourself, is more than one or two really necessary?
8.) Start early. If you insist on buying new clothes for school, don’t wait until “back to school” season that is prompted by retailers. Start early and shop when YOU are ready. Bargain hunt all summer (or year) long. When you see something you want (especially if it's on sale), get it right then and put it up for later.
By following the above, my spending is limited to "required" school supplies -- if and only if it is something we don’t already have. And my planned budget is less than $100. Well, unless her new math teacher requires another one of those fancy-smancy calculators.
I think “back to school” shopping is a marketing ploy. Don’t believe the hype! The most important things you can do to prepare for the first day of school are:
1.) Make sure your children re-adjust to their bedtime routine a week before school begins -- they need at least eight hours of sleep (or more).
2.) Get them up early enough to avoid rushing -- this will prevent some of the "first day" jitters.
3.) Prepare a healthy, well-balanced breakfast -- get those brain cells back in action.