(BPT) - The hustle and bustle of the back-to-school season is in full swing and parents everywhere are scrambling to get everything their kids need for a successful year. This not only can get expensive, but running around town without a plan can be stressful and time consuming.
Fortunately, with a few tips and tricks, you can save time and money so you can enjoy the last days of summer and start the school year on a positive note.
School supply shopping tricks:
1. Forget hitting up multiple stores and head to a one-stop shop with everything you need. Staples has a vast assortment of learning essentials that students need to excel all year long, at a price moms love.
2. Buy bigger when possible. If one kid needs two glue sticks and the other needs four, buy a jumbo pack and split the supplies up as needed. Buying a larger pack will typically save you money.
3. Shop where there's price matching. For example, Staples' 110% Price Match Guarantee matches competitors' prices and offers an extra 10 percent discount so moms are assured they've maximized their savings potential.
4. If you're extra busy, shop online and choose to pick up items in stores. Alternatively, look for free shipping options and always use customer rewards programs to save even more.
5. Look for freebies like bonus buys and added features on products. For example, purchase a PC laptop, desktop, all-in-one or Microsoft Surface at Staples and get free tech support for 60 days to troubleshoot any problems.
Clothing shopping tricks:
1. Follow ads and shop the sales. Most retailers run back-to-school specials, so it's wise to shop around to save big on items you need. Keep an eye on coupons and flyers in the mail, too.
2. Shop online to save time, but make sure items will ship for free so you're not paying additional costs. Plus, ensure there's an easy return program so that you don't have to fret should clothing not fit.
3. If your child attends a school that requires uniforms, look into used uniform sales, often sponsored by the PTA. These offer deep discounts on gently used uniforms. Alternatively, ask fellow parents of older kids if they have any gear they can hand down.
4. Before you hit the stores, assess what you have first. Your child may have a ton of tops that still fit but pants are getting worn. That means you can focus your shopping efforts where it counts and not buy too many unnecessary items.
5. Buy a size bigger so that clothing lasts longer. You never know when kids are going to hit a growth spurt.
6. It is tempting for kids to wear their new clothing right away. Don't allow it! Wash and put away new clothes until school starts so you don't have stains on the first day.
Grocery shopping tricks:
1. Grocery stores run lots of sales during back-to-school periods. Now is the time to stock up on pantry staples. Place in cupboards and you have food ready to go for packing lunches or quick afterschool snacks.
2. Prepackaged foods are a fun treat from time to time, but if you can, buy larger packages and divide them yourself to save money. So instead of purchasing the individual bags of crackers, buy the big box and then pack in a reusable container.
3. Shop in-season produce and save. Kids should get five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, so to create a balanced lunch while staying on budget, look for in-season produce that costs less.
4. Make a list to stay focused. It can be easy to add unnecessary items to the cart, and this adds up fast. Having a list serves as a guide. Bonus: Don't go shopping hungry! Eat before you shop and you'll be less tempted to add in extras.
5. When you're extra busy, shop online for groceries and have orders shipped. Often for a small fee you can eliminate the hassle of navigating the store and get the groceries sent directly to your home. It can open up some last-minute time to spend with your kids before busy school days commence.