Whether you’re hit with a bout of nostalgia for those old school days, or breathe a sigh of relief thinking “Thank goodness, that’s over,” the school supply list that arrives faithfully in your mail or email probably evokes memories. If it’s not memories of your own school days, it’s memories of school supply shopping. And if you dread school supply shopping, you’re not alone.
Whether it’s the cool new backpack with the latest “in” character on it, or a specific loose-leaf because “everybody has it,” kids definitely have their preferences. From the sound of it, it might seem like their whole school experience, their social status, their friendships, not to mention their future, depends on the turquoise spiral notebook with three dividers and the right brand name on the cover. As a parent, it’s easy to be intimidated by kid’s oratory skills about how their life will be ruined if they don’t get this (and get it now). They can paint curiously vivid pictures of your cruelty in denying them their “needs.” What kind of parent wants their child to suffer agonies of embarrassment?
Don’t get caught in that trap. Catholic Federal is here to help!
Sit down with each child and their school supply list. Before you go into the store, make a list of what they will need. Kids can prove surprisingly reasonable when the colorful aisles aren’t catching their eye. Tell them how much you’re willing to spend, and which stores you’re willing to visit. Then, no matter what, stick to the list. Before you go anywhere, check your own house. You’ll be surprised at how many items you actually already have on hand that pile up from year to year. Designate a box to collect them in so they don’t get lost in the hassle, and the kids will always know where to find them.
Even though you don’t want to submit to all your child’s desires, that doesn’t mean you will always want to say no. You can give them a good lesson in budgeting. Because you gave them a clear budget to start with, they can now pick a more expensive item, for trading off on other supplies that are cheaper. This will teach them limits while letting them have their own way, making everyone happy.
When you plan your shopping trip, remember that there are two times to shop: early and late. The early is mid-July, when stores are marking down prices to attract customers, and late is the first week of school when everything goes on clearance. Clearance is a great time to stock up on items that your child will need year round, such as loose-leaf paper and pens. It’s a good idea to keep your eyes open whenever you’re out shopping in August. Many stores that have nothing to do with school supplies will stock them at pretty good prices.
Hopefully school supply shopping will be less chaotic this year. And remember, the best part is, you won’t have to do this again until next year!
How would you like to avoid school shopping all together? Catholic Federal Credit Union is giving away 6 Back to School Baskets to our Bee Club Members that are full of just about everything your child will need this school year! Find out how to enter here!