School shopping - it's enough to strike fear in the strongest of mothers. I tremble at the thought of having to actually venture out and get the kids ready for school. Now that I'm down to one kid it's a tad bit easier but still painful. I'm not a huge fan of shopping (I know - it doesn't always show), that combined with my time constraints means that we only shop for clothes in fall and spring (maybe a couple of items at birthday or Christmas). This leads to an EXPENSIVE August.
I've found that the best way for me to tackle back to school is to take some vacation and just 'get er done'. Much to my daughter's angst, I picked the last three days before school started to take those vacations days. Since history has told me that a) this is going to be expensive b)we tend to buy more than we need c)shopping with a teenage girl with no pre-set boundaries can turn into a nightmare I decided to take a more purposeful approach to this shopping trip.
Here was my plan of attack:
- Sort through existing clothes. Note: make the kid actually try on the existing clothes. There were a number of items that we thought 'fit' until I made her try them on. 14 year old girls tend to grow fast and the jeans that fit them in spring won't necessarily fit them in the fall.
- Discuss what is needed and make a list - do not stray from the list. This is the time to let your kids negotiate, not in the store. My daughter really wanted a new backpack (the one from last year was in still in good shape), I told her that if she wanted a new backpack she had to cross something else off the list. She decided she didn't need a new backpack.
- Pick a day/time when I wasn't rushed or stressed. Shopping for a new wardrobe is stressful. Choosing a day when you don't have other items/time constraints stressing you will make the day much more enjoyable.
We actually had a pretty enjoyable trip and I'm happy to say we didn't stray from the list (I'm not counting the picture frames I picked up :). There were only two 'teaching' moments and they actually weren't bad since we had already set the ground rules.
- I did have to coach my daughter away from the full price jeans over to the sale rack
- When she wanted a third long sleeve shirt I told her she was free to get it with her own money. Amazing how suddenly it wasn't that critical to buy that shirt!
The good news, pretty much all of the items we bought were on sale. I picked up the jeans for $8 a pair - what a steal!
How did you do with your school shopping?
I'll be linking this up over at Life as Mom
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August Financial Check Up
Frugal Christmas Shopping