September is a big month! With school starting and many other activities connected to the school season, things can get a little stressful. New clothes or school uniforms, classroom materials, backpacks, fall gear, and any other odds and ends you know you will need for the coming semester can feel overwhelming and expensive. Is there a way to mitigate all this pressure? Yes! There are definitely things you can do to reduce stress and make back-to-school shopping easier. Here are seven ways to ease the strain and make your back-to-school shopping (almost) stress-free!
There is nothing worse than having to make choices under a looming deadline. If you can begin to plan earlier in the summer—perhaps a few minutes or an hour on a few Saturdays—you can circumvent much of the typical September shopping stress. When you are out and about anyway for your summer shopping, peruse some of the other aisles and keep an eye open for some of the little things you can get so you don't have to try and track it all down in a week. When you have plenty of time, shopping can be a delightful activity instead of a white-knuckled race against the calendar. Go easy on yourself by getting a head start.
It's hard to buy what you need if you don't know what you are looking for. This is an easy exercise to complete on one of those slower weekends. After you have enjoyed your summer freedom, grab a pencil and a piece of paper and start making a list of what you need. Again, starting this process early gives you the time to remember everything you may have forgotten to write the first time so that you don't have to rush back to the store for that lunch box that slipped your mind in the heat of the moment. When you see what you are missing and have that list in the back of your mind as you go through your summer, you'll be surprised at how much you can find now. And what you can find now, you won't have to worry about later.
Budgeting is always a wise financial decision. If you have your budget (or at least an idea), you may find that even casual shopping can cause you to overspend. This is when having some time can really help you. There's no need to get anything immediately. See what your options are. Check into upcoming sales or discount stores. See if there are others in your neighborhood or other communities who are getting rid of kids' clothes or school supplies anyway that you might be able to use. Give yourself choices so you can make the best decisions you can.
As September gets closer, you will have to get more focused. It may not be enough to sashay through a few extra aisles on a regular grocery run. First, take your list and figure out how to get what you need. Next, grab your calendar and find a few days that will work for you. Finally, use your research to determine the stores you will want to visit. Once you have a plan in place to go where you need to go to get what you need with enough time to make it all happen, you alleviate the shopping pressure. You might even enjoy it!
Location matters. Zig-zagging all over town is what happens when you have last-minute things you missed. Plus, it's stressful. Keep the traveling to a minimum by organizing your back-to-school shopping by area. Are you going to be near a particular mall anyway? Stopping for a moment to grab what you need on your way home could be an easy addition to a trip you already intended to take. Are certain stores clustered together? Set aside more time when you go there so you can visit all the places you need to and get everything from that area.
You have days in your calendar you are free, and you have the places you will visit anyway. Pull it together by double-checking the hours of the stores you want to visit. Some places will even tell you how busy a store is on average at a certain time. See if you can move things around and miss the rush. It's also helpful to make sure the store you want to go to is open on the day and time you intend to go. You definitely don't want to do all this work only to arrive at a closed store. Choose your time wisely.
The last thing is to go! Nothing gets done if you don't take action. When you have time, a list, a plan, a route, and a time, you have everything you need to get started now.
Take these tips and relieve that shopping stress so you can enjoy the fall season.