Back to School Shopping Tips for DFW Locals

As August approaches and summer vacation winds down, millions of parents and caregivers know that back to school shopping is on the horizon. With a little planning and savvy shopping, parents and caregivers could save time and money.

As August approaches and summer vacation winds down, millions of parents and caregivers know that back to school shopping is on the horizon. Between busy schedules and life’s many obligations, shopping for school supplies and clothing is a daunting task, and sometimes very stressful. Following are some helpful tips for Dallas-Fort Worth locals that might help maximize time, eliminate some stress, and save a little money.

Plan in Advance

Back to school shopping can be very hectic — especially if you shop when everyone else does. There might be few things worse for parents than devoting an entire day to school shopping only to experience long lines and ransacked shelves. Worse than that, shopping unprepared can mean that you buy duplicates of some items and forget others all together. Instead, devote a couple days to back to school shopping in your schedule and plan in advance. The less rushed you feel when shopping, the better — especially if there are crowds and lines.

Make Lists

Download or pick up copies of each of your children’s school supply list from their schools and take an inventory of what they already have and then make a list of what you need to buy them. You will likely need to purchase more than just school supplies. You will probably need to buy gym shoes, clothing, backpacks, and miscellaneous items.

There are a few ways you can make lists to help maximize your time and reduce the likelihood of forgetting important items. Consider importing your children’s supply lists into a spreadsheet and combining similar items. For instance, if spiral notebooks appear on all school lists but in different quantities per child, total the number of notebooks needed and place that item on a “master shopping list.” You could also create different shopping lists for different categories of items or dedicate some lists to certain stores. Before hitting print, be sure to double check your list(s) to make sure you didn’t overlook an item or two. Organized Home offers printable checklists and budget worksheet.

Think Outside the Big Retailer Box

While big retailers like Walmart and Target certainly have a corner on the back to school shopping market, you might be able to avoid crowds and chaos if you shop in uncommon places. Sometimes you might be able to find affordable notebooks, pens, paper, and the like from discount bulk stores like Dollar General or Big Lots. There are discount and dollar stores peppered throughout the Metroplex.

Visit Outlet Malls for Savings

When it comes to buying gym shoes, backpacks, and essential clothing like socks and underwear, you can pay a visit to outlet malls. These stores typically offer savings on name-brand items. The suburb of Allen has a large outlet mall with major stores like Nike and Tommy Hilfiger. Grand Prairie and Grapevine also have outlet malls for clothing, sporting goods, and other essential items.

Take Advantage of the Tax-Free Weekend

Many Texans enjoy the Sales Tax Holiday for back to school shopping. This year, the state of Texas is designating August 7th through August 9th as a tax-free weekend. This means that school supplies and clothing at eligible stores are not taxed. The tax-free holiday offers about $8 in savings on every hundred spent. Many stores also run sales and specials during this time to entice buyers. For more information on what items are tax-free, visit the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

With a little planning and savvy shopping, parents and caregivers could save time and money as summer draws to a close.

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