A quick guide for back-to-school shopping

back-to-school shoppingback-to-school shopping
back-to-school shoppingback-to-school shopping


A quick guide for back-to-school shopping

It’s almost time for your little one to go back to school. That means, you’ll finally have your house to yourself during the day or don’t have to worry about keeping them busy while you’re at work. At this time of year, it’s not uncommon for parents to take a deep breath of relief. However, before your child can go back to school, they need their back-to-school supplies. And that means you have to do the dreaded back-to-school shopping.

But that trip to the shops doesn’t need to be as stressful as you may expect. In fact, if you do it the right way, it could be over and done with in less than a day. And, with these tips in mind, you may even be able to spend less than you budgeted. So, read on for a quick guide for back-to-school shopping.


Check what your little one can still use from last year

Children have a habit of not taking note of what they still have from last year. They think that just because they’re going to a new grade, they need all new supplies. So, don’t take their word for it when they tell you that you need to purchase everything brand new. Before you even think about hitting the shopping centre and school supply shop, take a look through their room and see what you can find. Start with their school bag. They likely haven’t opened it since they shoved it in the corner of their bedroom after the last day of school the previous year. Look inside their pencil cases and go through all the pockets. You’ll probably find countless pens and pencils that have been forgotten about. And just because an exam pad has a few used pages, it doesn’t mean they need a whole new one.


Make a list of what you need and stick to it

It’s so easy to get lost in a loop of “Wait, do I need this? Better get it just in case.” And that’s why it’s so important that you have a list of exactly what you need. Most schools provide this list for parents so that all the children in the class have exactly what they need. But, if you don’t have this list or your little one has misplaced it, ask the other moms and dads of your little one’s school friends. While it’s important you don’t buy things they don’t need, it’s also important that you don’t forget anything. You don’t want to run around buying things at the last moment or, even worse, after their first day back at school. A comprehensive list of supplies is essential.

Once you have this comprehensive list of supplies your youngster will need, you should cross off everything you already have. You likely won’t remember off the top of your head what you found at home when you’re making your way through the shops. But, if you do make the mistake of buying duplicates, put them away in a cupboard for when they inevitably need new pencils or lose their sharpener.


Avoid buying “cool” stationery with cartoon characters and bright colours

It’s so tempting to get your little one stationery with their favourite cartoon character on them. Or to buy everything in their favourite colours. But it’s not worth it. Those products are always more expensive than the ordinary brands. It may seem like only a few Rand extra, but it all adds up and then you end up spending way more than you needed to. Your child will likely lose a few pens and pencils during the year and you’re just going to have to replace them. If you really want to buy them something special for the new school year, buy one “cool” item, like a pencil case, that won’t be easily lost or broken. They’ll be grateful and you’ll save some money.  


Ensure you buy school clothes in the correct size

You might want to avoid dragging your child around buying all the supplies, but it’s important they join you when shopping for a new school uniform. You need to know the exact size they need, otherwise, you’ll be returning the clothes, if the store policy allows you to do so. Even though the Consumer Protection Act allows you to return clothes that were damaged when they were purchased, you don’t want to have to make a second trip to the shops.

It’s also important you don’t buy clothing that fits a little too well. Your child will likely grow during the year and you don’t want to have to go shopping again and spend even more money. You don’t want to buy clothes that are so loose they look messy, but a little loose isn’t a bad thing.  

Back-to-school shopping isn’t fun, but it is necessary. Try to do it a few weeks in advance to minimise the hassle and to be prepared before the rush starts.

back-to-school shopping