Can't find what you're looking for? Shop all ink and toner cartridges by brand
We all dream of a smooth transition from summer vacation to back to school, but too often the crush of activity in the days and weeks leading up to the school year is a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be.
“Enjoy the yearly back to school shopping ritual — it's an exciting time for kids,” says Allison Connor, a mother of two in Keller, TX. “Revel in the selection and have a good time with it. What fun to get shiny new school supplies every year! Didn’t you just love a brand-new spiral notebook and freshly sharpened pencils right out of the box? Your enthusiasm will spill over onto your kids, making them excited to start a new school year.”
Here are some back to school tips for taking the pain out of shopping.
“I always take the kids with me when school supply shopping,” Connor notes. “It's tradition! I did it with my mom, too. There’s nothing like the joy of choosing all your notebook colors and picking out your own brand-new scissors, pencils, etc. My kids happily obsess over every choice, just as I did as a kid. I enjoy it as much as the kids!”
But Laura Staal, a mother of five in Southern Pines, NC, admits that sometimes it’s easier to leave the kids at home. “It can be really time consuming,” she says. “There are so many choices of colors and brand names that it can become tedious.”
“Kids know what’s cool and what’s not from year to year,” Staal says. That’s all well and good until tastes change in the middle of the school year and that Transformers backpack is suddenly no match for Iron Man. Smart parents strike smart deals with kids. Buy stickers of favorite characters that can easily be removed or covered over as school supply trends change. Or agree to purchase only lower-cost items emblazoned with trendy images and sayings. It’s much cheaper to buy a new pencil case or folder than a new backpack.
If you’re doing your back to school shopping solo, keep your child’s personality and interests in mind, suggests style and gift consultant Janet McKean, of McKean & Company in Hillsborough, NC. “Make sure you’re honestly shopping for them and not for who you think they should be. Use their interests to create a theme, so it’s easy to coordinate colors and supplies.”
Although there are often sales pegged to the school calendar, some parents prefer to do back to school shopping off peak. “Pick up the items you know you’ll need throughout the summer,” advises Lee Heyward, a style consultant and mother in Charleston, SC. This reduces the time pressure that fuels buying decisions you and your kids will regret later. Can’t pass up a deal? Shop at off hours, like later at night or earlier in the morning, when fewer customers are in the store, lines are shorter and it’s easier to spend time getting tips and advice from sales associates.
Of course, there’s never a line on the Internet, and expert help is always a click away. That’s why many parents do their back to school shopping virtually. It’s easier to compare prices and access reviews, too. Items that are out of stock at your local store can be purchased for in-store pickup or home delivery. Get your kids to create online favorites lists for items so you can discuss options and plan expenditures.
Follow these back to school tips and make your dream of efficient shopping a reality!