The Shopaholic Mama’s Guide to Back to School Shopping


It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost time to go back to school. As such, I’ve drafted a special guide for anyone striving to get their shopping done as inefficiently and expensively as possible. Anyone looking to spend way more than necessary on school supplies this year has come to the right place. Follow these eight simple steps and you’ll be broke just in time to start your holiday shopping.

1. Do not cut coupons.

2. Do not wait for your local Back To School Tax Free Weekend.

3. Take your children with you on all shopping excursions to ensure maximum overspending.

4. In an unexpected fit of panic on a random Sunday morning in early July, buy uniform shorts and pants online (because they might run out!). Do this irrational and impulsive shopping before back to school sales start and prior to Back To School Tax Free Weekend (obviously). Also, pay for shipping.

5. Ignore the annual “buy a backpack and get a lunch box for free” promotion at Toys R Us. Instead, go to Dick’s Sporting Goods and buy uber-pricey Nike MAX AIR backpacks. Be sure to leave your $20 Dick’s reward coupon at home, and, it goes without saying, make the purchase prior to Back To School Tax Free Weekend. While you’re there, buy each kid absurdly colored, knee high basketball socks that cost $18 each – yes, $18 per pair or $36 dollars total (plus tax) – because they really want them. Justify the unintended purchase because Crazy Socks Day is coming up at camp.

6. Go to Target and buy two full-price lunch boxes prior to Back To School Tax Free Weekend (of course). Make sure the lunch boxes have blinking LED lights and sound effects because surely their teachers will appreciate how awesome it is that lunch boxes have transformed into toys. While you’re there, buy three lunch box ice packs that you don’t need because they’re shaped like a puppy, a monster, and a ladybug (so cute!). On your way to the front of the store to check out, grab a 5-pack of Lego Movie underwear and a 3-pack of super hero boxer briefs because the 999 pairs of underwear and boxer briefs at home are probably not enough. Also, give each kid a five-dollar budget in the toy department because they were so well behaved in the lunch box aisle. That, and neither of them made you take them to the bathroom. In the end, say yes to the $9.99 Lego City police motorcycle kit and the $11.99 Trashies Trash Pack because, let’s face it, it isn’t easy to find a toy that costs less than five dollars these days.

7. Miss the private “Buy One Get One 50% Off” promotion at your local mom & pop kids shoe store. When the public (and insanely crowded) “Buy One Get One 50% Off” sale begins, pay full price for one kid’s sneakers at Footlocker instead because that’s where he sees the ridiculously bright powder blue Nike high tops that he really, really, REALLY wants. Take the other kid to the mom & pop store and buy him sneakers that he doesn’t need because his current sneakers are in great shape and his shoe size hasn’t changed, but he really, really, REALLY wants new sneakers just like his older brother. Also, buy him a pair of navy blue Crocs to match the navy blue Crocs he has at home because you need to buy a second pair of shoes to get the 50% deal.

8. Purchase brand new uniform shirts for both kids because even though you have old ones that will fit your younger child, giving him hand-me-downs makes you feel guilty. You, too, were the second child and know how psychologically damaging it is to constantly get someone else’s old and used crap and be expected to amount to anything in life.

You’ll be relieved to know that I prepaid for my kids’ classroom school supplies through a PTO fundraising initiative at their school. Thank goodness because if buying pencils and glue sticks were my responsibility, we’d need a second mortgage on the house.

Stay tuned for upcoming guides on (1) how to overschedule your kids, (2) how to coordinate extracurricular activities that require you to be in two places at once every night of the week, (3) how to make everyone in the house cry over common core math homework, and (4) how to prepare a different dinner for every person in your family daily.

Parenting is hard. I’m here to help. Read other helpful guides here.


Filed under list, school, Shopaholic Mama, shopping

4 responses to “The Shopaholic Mama’s Guide to Back to School Shopping

  1. You crack me up. Thank you.


  2. Erin

    Hysterical!! Loved this!!!


  3. This is too funny (and everything you wrote pretty much sums up the reason we decided to switch to homeschooling!)


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