OK, let’s cut to the chase. Time is already running out for summer and parents all over Madison County and North Alabama are getting ready to embark on that annual chore of back to school shopping. There are about a thousand different ways to acquire all those new notebooks, pencils, laptops, shoes, and other things kids need to start a fresh school year. Different families use different strategies to get it all together, so we’re detailing five of our favorite methods just for you.
1. If You Want to Shop Local
Here at RCM we’re all about shopping local first whenever possible. Why? It’s a win-win for our local economy and we love sending love (and customers!) to small businesses that specialize in services or products for kids and families. We recommend heading to SchoolCraft for kindergarten nap mats, basic school supplies, and gifts for that new teacher you need to win over.
2. If You’re Busy with No Time
I just discovered something life-changing when it comes to back-to-school shopping! Target.com has their School List Assist feature. You can look up your child’s school and add their supply list straight into your online shopping cart. From there you can make edits like changing a notebook color, adjust a quantity or delete an item if you already have it. You can also add other random purchases (like cereal). Then you can have ALL THE THINGS delivered to your doorstep, or – get this – you can pick it up at a Target store near you and keep that tax money local. Even better, you can also do this for tax-free weekend!
I adore this option and it saved me tons of time and even a little money. I ordered both my kids’ school supplies in less than 35 minutes with some cart edits and price checking time thrown in there. I got a text 30 minutes later saying my order was ready to pick up. When I arrived at the Customer Service desk the cashier told me some of the prices even rang up less in the store! It was magical. (P.S. – Wal-Mart does this too but I did not personally try them.)
3. If You’re on a Super Tight Budget
We all should be aware of pinching pennies, especially if you have lots of kids starting back at the same time! There are a few ways to save when going back-to-school shopping in Huntsville:
- Shop Tax Free – You can avoid paying tax on a long list of back-to-school items, compliments of the Alabama Department of revenue. Clothes, school supplies, computers, and more are covered – even diapers!
- Price Compare – Our favorite resource for coupon and price comparison is the Passionate Penny Pincher, and she always comes through when it’s time to go back to school. Check out her back-to-school deals.
- Consignment – New-to-you clothes, backpacks, and other supplies can be found at local consignment sales.
4. If You’re an Introvert
I get it. Shopping in throngs with the masses is an absolute nightmare for some people. Getting all your shopping done from the comfort of your own home with a cup of coffee can cut that stress from your life. The Early Bird Introvert Mom got a jump on us all last Spring when they ordered school supply boxes from the PTA. If you missed that opportunity and can’t stand the thought of braving the crowds, hit up Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart online. Just be sure to price compare, and research more expensive purchases thoroughly to avoid returns down the road.
5. If You LOVE School Supplies
For many families, back-to-school shopping is a happy tradition. It’s a great way to get kids excited about the new year, new friends, and new things they’ll learn. Picking out a notebook with their favorite colors, the blue ink pens that are just right, or a lunchbox with their favorite character on it brings back fond memories and makes new ones.
Truth be told, families are hardly ever one dimensional and yours fits in more than one of these categories. However you like to do back-to-school shopping, I hope these resources help you and your students get ready for a great new year!
Share Your Back-to-School Tips!
Have you got a back-to-school shopping tip to share with other local parents? Don’t keep it to yourself – let us know in the comments below!
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Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.