It seems like that time of year has come again. Always before I feel like I’m ready and always before I feel like I’ve had a full summer: Back to School. As much as I enjoy having my kids home with me, I can sense that they are ready to go back to school. Too many days bored or ornery in a row… time for school to start. With back to school comes the inevitable back to school shopping. I think it’s an official kid rite of passage… the annual pick out new stuff for the new school year shopping trip.
Each year we hit the stores to get that perfect “first day of school” outfit. When they were little this was a pretty easy task, they had little to no opinion on the matter and they actually NEEDED new school clothes as they had grown an insane amount over the summer. Now that they are getting older clothes shopping for back to school is getting a bit harder. They aren’t growing as fast so they don’t need as many new clothes and they are getting very specific ideas of what they want to wear (code word “expensive”).
My oldest is now 19 and a few years ago we found a system that works very well for us when it comes to back to school shopping. After fighting with her numerous times over what she can and can’t get for school clothes, one year I just told her how much she had to spend and let her figure it out on her own. It’s amazing how much less kids will spend when they are conscious of a budget. Not wanting her to blow her entire budget on useless things we started talking about WANTS vs. NEEDS. She wants a new pair of jeans… she NEEDS a new pair of shoes since her feet grew over the summer– get the idea?
Now we use this system for back to school shopping. They make a list of their wants and needs. They have to fill in their needs first, then they can move onto the wants. I kept the wants on the list because I want them to know it’s okay to want to buy certain things, but that it’s only okay after you’ve meet your needs first.
I’ve even included a FREE PRINTABLE for you if you’d like to try out this system on your kids. (Just a note, this doesn’t apply to school supplies, as those are dictated by the school district here, no dividing up wants/needs for that). Click here to download it. The system has worked well for us, it makes the kids look for deals on what they want and involves a little bit of budgeting and math – always a good thing, in my opinion.
If you’re looking for ways to save money on your back to school shopping I thought I’d let you know about the American Express Car Member Benefit Amex Offers. It’s really simple: you login to AmexOffers.com with your American Express ID and check out the Offers available to you. Click “Save Offer” then shop with that merchant while the offer is active and pay using your American Express card. American Express then automatically applies the special offer to your statement as a credit. No carrying around extra coupons or trying to explain things to less than informed store employees.
If you don’t already have one, you need to create an account at AmexOffers.com to get the offers. It doesn’t apply to all card members, so click through and see if your Amex card offers the benefit. You can also connect it securely to your Facebook, Twitter or FourSquare to find offers from places that you normally shop. There are LOTS of offers to choose from, so I can’t list them all- but here’s a heads up of some coming up for the back to school shopping season.
|Merchant Name||Offer||Offer Start Date (mm/dd/yr)||Offer End Date (mm/dd/yr)|
|America Eats Tavern||Spend $75, get $25 back||7/21/2014||9/8/2014|
|Dollar Tree||Spend $101, get $20 back||7/21/2014||9/2/2014|
|Gelson’s||Spend $50, get $10 back||7/21/2014||9/21/2014|
|JCPenney||Spend $50, get $10 back||7/21/2014||9/2/2014|
|Whole Foods||Spend $75, get $10 back||7/21/2014||9/30/2014|
|Bed Bath & Beyond||Spend $25, get $5 back||7/28/2014||9/2/2014|
|Ebags||Spend $50, get $10 back||7/28/2014||8/31/2014|
|RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen||Spend $50, get $15 back||7/28/2014||9/15/2014|
|Sports Authority||Spend $50, get $10 back||7/28/2014||8/31/2014|
|Crazy 8||Spend $25, get $5 back||7/29/2014||9/9/2014|
|Cheesecake Factory||Spend $75, get $10 back||7/30/2014||8/31/2014|
|Lowe’s||Spend $200, get $50 back||7/30/2014||10/29/2014|
|Marriott Courtyard||Spend $100, get $20 back||7/31/2014||9/30/2014|
|Big Daddy’s||Spend $50, get $10 back||8/1/2014||11/30/2014|
|Henri Bendel||Spend $200, get $50 back||8/1/2014||8/31/2014|
|Lucille’s BBQ||Spend $50, get $10 back||8/1/2014||10/31/2014|
|Brooklyn Industries||Spend $75, get $15 back||8/4/2014||9/30/2014|
|Four Seasons Restaurant||Spend $100, get $20 back||8/4/2014||11/4/2014|
How much would a $100 American Express Gift card help with all of that back to school shopping??? Quite a bit I’m guessing. Just tell me your favorite Back to School shopping tip and you’ll be entered to win.
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