The stores have been PACKED with people buying back-to-school stuff. I can barely squeeze through to look at the clearance racks. I’m doing some shopping myself, but I’m also doing some NOT-shopping, which is very nice. My money: I like it and want it to stay with me.
Here’s what I’m NOT buying this year:
1. Whole new back-to-school wardrobes. I try to buy most of the kids’ clothes on off-season clearances, and with four boys we have a lot of handmedowns. “Being September” has so far not been a motivating reason to buy clothes. It IS a good time to buy socks and underwear on good sales—and in a few weeks, when everyone is done paying full-price for Being September wardrobes, some of the clothes will start going on nice clearances too.
2. New lunchboxes. Last year’s are still in good condition.
3. New backpacks. Last year’s are still in good condition.
4. New pencil cases. Last year’s are still in good condition.
And here’s what I AM buying:
1. New school supplies. Not only is supply-shopping a lot of fun at a moderate price, this is the best time of year to buy crayons and pencils and markers and rulers for the whole household: stores are using school supplies as loss leaders to draw us in, so a 24-count box of crayons can be 20 cents and a box of 8 markers can be a dollar. Plus, last year’s stuff is worn down to nubs. Plus-plus, this year’s teachers want a few things last year’s teachers didn’t.
2. Extra school supplies. I know I’ll be replacing some of these supplies mid-year, when markers are back to $3.49. While they’re still $1.00, I buy an extra couple of packs. If I’m feeling philanthropic, I also buy an extra couple of packs to give to our local food pantry, which puts together backpacks full of supplies for clients’ children.
3. School snacks. It’s cheaper to put stuff from big bags into little containers myself, but I find I’m never sorry to have the pre-packaged little snackies on hand too. There are mornings where it’s not until we’re walking out the door that I remember I haven’t packed lunches, and field trips always want fully-disposable snacks. Our grocery store puts snack-packs on good sales (like, 2/$5 down from $5) at this time of year.
4. New swimsuits and shorts. Well, they’re going to need them next summer, and they’re on clearance NOW.
What are you buying? What are you not-buying?