The Solo, Smart, Busy, Efficient, Lazy, Tired Mom’s Guide to Back to School Shopping

I love my kids dearly. They are the light and joys of my life. At the same time, I absolutely hate taking them to a store by myself (Can I get an, “Amen?”). I don’t care if it’s grocery shopping or looking for furniture, I LOATHE IT. Maybe it’s because they’re so young and quick to run away, touch everything, whine for something, ask for what they know they can’t have, touch what can break, and so much more. Whatever it is, even the thought of going for a “quick stop” into a store with all my kids makes my body tense up and I can feel myself get a little fiery. (Again, I love my goobers, but we’ve had some issues shopping.)

With the summer ending that means one big thing that involves a store: back to school shopping. They need binders, pencils, erasers, paper, glue sticks, shoes, shirts, food for lunches, and bags (Does anyone else picture the Grinch naming off all the terrible things of Christmas?). The list is a long one, and personally, I have zero desire to go to the store to get it all (and no, hubby can’t watch the kids or go get it all, he’s deployed). You know the drill.

So whether you want to call me smart, busy, efficient, lazy, or tired, one of my favorite modern day inventions is online shopping! I prefer the trio of Target, Amazon, and Walmart Pickup, but just about every store has online options that can make your back to school shopping a breeze. But you already knew all this, right? Maybe I’m just preaching to the choir but before you check out of this article or your online shopping I want to share a few tips that can ease your experience and save you some money.

Shopping for Clothes Online

Make sure you shop at places with free returns (one reason I love Target RedCard and Amazon Prime so much if because of this feature). This way you can buy multiple sizes of things and then do your try-on runway walk sessions at home. I really prefer my kids try on clothes at home because it allows the others to play while I focus on one kid. (a seemingly impossible feat in a store) Also, if you’ve had that sad, frustrating experience of something not fitting, the sorrow seems to be reduced when at home. Just imagine it: you didn’t take 20-30 minutes to load up, drive somewhere, unload, walk, pick out a few things, and then try them on just so you can be disappointed. I will say there is one catch to this method: you need to initially spend more to get more to try on, but the beauty is you’ll get all the money back for what you return. So maybe this can’t always be an option for you, but if you budget out a little more and stick to a plan, the money all works out the same and is well worth it.

Shopping for School Supplies

The deals of what’s cheapest and where to buy it is constantly changing, but one fact is new and exciting: School supplies can be included in a Walmart Grocery Pick Up Order! The Walmart pick up option started as a “foods only” benefit, but Walmart is continuously adding things to the list of allowable pick up items, and right now school supplies are one of them (I advise you verify with your local Walmart , it’s so worth it). Now you can just click away on the app and pick up your pencils and the PB&J supplies all at once. This was a glorious win for us. (Side-note: If you haven’t tried Walmart pick up before you should ask for a friend’s code and save $10 on your first order. If you don’t have a friend who uses it you can use mine: Don’t miss out on the free money, ever.)

Saving Money

Speaking of free money, I’ve recently been introduced to one of the easiest ways to get some: Rakuten. Don’t ever shop online without going through Rakuten. Through their free site/app YOU GET CASH BACK. If it’s purchases you are already going to make, why not get money for it, right? You can check out Rakuten and get a free $10 here:

There you have it. It’s a little untraditional, not going to the store with your kids and all for back to school shopping. But these tricks have saved my family a lot of time, money, and grief, so I call it a huge win! Again, call me Smart, Busy, Efficient, Lazy, Tired, but I prefer the term Genius 😉

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 Army wife of 11+ years, mom for 4 girls and a boy in heaven, and hardcore believer that it’s possible to have a thriving marriage, family, and military life.