It is a fact that as soon as you begin back to school shopping, summer ends.
As much as my kids love summer, they are usually excited to go back to school and show this by nagging.
“I need new jeans.”
“I need new sneakers.”
“I need 12 color coded binders two for each class with dividers and no I have no idea what colors. I just know that none of the 12,000 binders in the office closet will work. The teacher said.”
“Which teacher?” I finally challenge.
“I can’t remember.”
I lean back with my Sound Breeze and stare at the clouds in the blue summer sky. I hope they will forget that they each grew 3 inches over the summer and remember that all anyone needs the first day of high school is a pen, a notebook, and a cool outfit.
I am not a big proponent of “getting a jump on things.” I love shopping on Christmas Eve. I carve pumpkins on Halloween day. I know that one of the secrets no one tells about getting it all done is that if you procrastinate some Godawful task long enough, about a third of the time you get out of doing it. (And everyone knows that if you really want to do something, you never procrastinate). I certainly am not about to give up the last 2 weeks of summer after 8 months of winter for back to school shopping.
Here’s how we did it.
The kids finally gave up on me and looted the office closet themselves. This is the spot in our house where I keep all the school supplies I’ve bought in the past that were never used, because we always overbuy. Extra pencils, glue sticks, colored pencils, loose leaf paper, portfolios, and poster board go in there. Dr K, a friend of mine, once told her husband, “If I die and you have to raise the kids alone, never run out of poster board.” They found most of what they needed and then conned my husband into picking up the rest on a grocery run to Walmart.
As for clothes, I learned long ago that August is the worst time to buy school clothes. First, you pay full price. Second, the kids don’t know what’s cool, and will refuse to wear most of what they “needed” once they see what everyone else is wearing. We went out to dinner at a hibachi restaurant, and then when everyone was feeling good, we went to the mall across the street and each kid got about 1 hour before the mall closed to get the 1 or 2 things they most desperately needed to start school. In about a month, they will each get a set amount of money to spend on school clothes and an entire afternoon to shop. By then, everything is on sale and they will have a better idea what they want. By giving them the money, they also learn to budget it and can either blow the whole thing on one pair of killer boots or 3 bags of bargains. It’s their call. I stay out of it. I don’t supplement. I don’t tell them what to get. It’s amazing how far $75 or $100 can go when the kid is responsible himself. Also, because of this, we have fun. They aren’t nagging and neither am I. I’m dreaming up my fall cocktail.