10 Tips for Smart Back to School Shopping

It’s time for the kids to head back to school. You might be thinking: So much to buy and so little time. Your kids have probably already told you which backpack and style of jacket they want. Don’t hit the panic button yet. With a little preparation, you’ll breeze your way through back to school shopping.

A recent US study (by Nerd Wallet) found that:

‘60% of parents say their kids influence at least half of their back-to-school purchases and over 9 in 10 parents (93%) who did back-to-school shopping last year over-spent’.

That’s why our design team creates back to school clothes with kids in mind – from the playful colours to the bright and bold patterns – it’s important to us that kids feel confident in the playground without parents having to spend a fortune.

We hope these tips will help save you money and provide a stress-free back to school shopping experience.

Back to School Shopping Tips

Tip 1: Make a list – and include what you already have

Before you start shopping, make a list of what you need and what you already have. You’ll be surprised – there’s always leftover stationery and notebooks. Plus, lunch boxes and water bottles last way longer than a school year. Gather what you have and check it off your list. That’s a couple of things less you need to buy already.

Tip 2: Set a realistic budget and plan

From your shopping list, set a realistic budget. Narrow down which expenses are your priorities and set a recommended spending amount for each. Some of the most essential back to school shopping items are:

Having a spending amount for each item and a total spending cap will allow you to stay on track, even if you overspend slightly on one item.

Tip 3: Share your back to school shopping list and budget with your child

Be transparent and set boundaries with your kids. Let them know how much flexibility there is and what you’re willing to spend. By explaining “You can choose a school bag in your favourite colour” it will make them feel involved and set expectations early on – avoiding any school shopping tantrums.

Tip 4: Shop online to compare the best deals

Shopping online is great for securing the best deals since you can scan and compare multiple websites for the best prices. Here at Trespass, we send weekly email newsletters which often have discount codes for online purchases. Make sure to sign up and look out for these emails from your favourite brands. Shopping online is super handy for managing your time and sticking to a set budget.

Tip 5: Get paid for your spending

Use cashback apps and credit card rewards for your back-to-school shopping where you can, but make sure you pay the balance at the end of each month – otherwise, the interest will exceed the benefits.

Tip 6: Speak to other parents

Connect with fellow parents and find out how they’re managing the back to school shopping list. If your little one is starting their first year at school, it can be daunting but, there are plenty of Facebook groups and parent communities where you can share tips and experiences. For example, they might have found a great deal online or know which school shoes are the most hard-wearing.

Tip 7: Let your kids use their pocket money for the ‘nice-to-haves’

Allowing your kids to use their own pocket money is a great way to educate them on the value of money and make them feel involved. If they need the newest trendiest trainers for P.E that are slightly more expensive than you were planning – let them contribute with their pocket money. With their own independence, they’ll likely take extra care of them.

Tip 8: Spread out the back to school purchases

Remember you don’t need to buy everything at once. Taking advantage of bulk deals on school supplies is ideal if you have several kids in school at the same time, but if you don’t – the chances are you won’t use the entire box of highlighters. Instead of planning for the year, you can wait it out and buy the winter essentials in autumn.

Tip 9: Keep your receipts

Shopping online is great because your receipts are sent straight to your inbox. But if you prefer in-store shopping, remember to keep your receipts in a safe place. There’s nothing worse than having to return something and scrambling through multiples bags to find the receipt. Make sure if you need to return something, it’s a stress-free process.

Tip 10: Make it fun

Going back to school is an exciting time for kids, they’re reunited with friends and teachers and can’t wait to share their summer stories. While for parents, it’s a chance to reassess your kids’ wardrobe and clear out items that are worn or too small. If you set the boundaries and stick to a budget from the get-go, you’ll be able to save money and enjoy the experience together. Shopping should always be fun!

Where to get school supplies for free

School shopping can be a stressful time for some parents. After a challenging year, some parents will be affected financially worse than others. If you’re on a low income, your local education authority (LEA) can help you with some of the costs. You can find full details at Citizens Advice.

Back to School UK FAQ’s

When do schools go back in Scotland?

School holiday dates vary between the different local education authorities. Most schools in Scotland will go back on August 16th but we’d recommend that you check the city council website.

When do schools go back in England?

School holiday dates vary between the different local education authorities. Most schools in England will go back on September 3rd but we’d recommend that you check the government’s guidelines.