Back to School: A Parents Guide

Back to School - A Parents GuidePlease welcome a new guest author to My Happy Crazy Life, Wade Trace! Wade is a finance guru by weekday and marathon runner by weekend. He’s currently training for his first NYC Marathon experience, but will be sharing some great Back to School tips with us today. I don’t know about you, but even though our kids have been in school 3 weeks already I’m still not back in the swing of things. As always, the only benefit I receive from guest articles is a little more time to play catch-up. Take it away, Wade!


Where did the summer go? The back to school commercials are in full-force and lists of “must-have” items are arriving in the mail or emails from schools. If shopping for the new school year has been a hassle before, do yourself a favor: invest some time in creating an outline and detailed plan. This will help you avoid frenetic last-minute shopping and forgotten items. Take stock of the necessities and move forward confidently to avoid the harried rush everyone else will be taking part in.

Wi-Fi Ready & Able

With technology continuously evolving, more classrooms are seeing laptops on desks and books as obsolete items. For the college kid or the studious high school student, carrying around an web-ready notebook is a growing need. This is the perfect time of year to purchase top of the line laptops as well as Internet packages for  students. Adding the safety and peace of mind of protecting their personal information, such as through a company like Lifelock, is just as important as purchasing the latest webcam or carry-all. These companies will monitor your personal information and notify you if any attempts at compromising your credit and well-being pop up. Fully equipping your student for the Internet demands of the new age classroom will help them achieve ultimate study time. Let’s just hope they stay off Facebook during lecture.


A new wardrobe for the new school year has become an expectation. It pays to make a list of clothing items and categorize them into needs and wants. Stock up on socks, underwear, and basic t-shirts. Peruse the sales flyers and stay on top of ‘weekend only” back-to-school deals. As for the would-like-to-haves, clothing like the latest fall fashion trends in jeans, sweaters and footwear, tend to not hit the sale racks until around Christmas time. Decide on how much the clothing finances will be and then stick to it, only getting the unnecessary clothing that fits in the budget.


Pencils, notebooks, crayons…there is year-round need for these classroom items. There will always be a fall-time sale at the local office supply on these things, but keep an eye out for sales at the stationary and even grocery and drug stores. And since your kids will need an endless supply of these things, continue to buy them throughout the year. Whenever you see a good price on something consumable like paper and pens, grab a few to keep on hand.

Timing is Everything

Time your purchases to coincide with incentives that will help you make the most of your back to school dollars. Sales are bound to start in early to mid-August, even though many states have tax holidays during back to school season. These “holidays” mean suspended sales tax on clothing items and in some cases even computers under a certain price point. Go to your state’s revenue department’s web site to see if there will be a tax holiday in your area and schedule your shopping accordingly.

Formulate your plan and stick to it. It’s no guarantee that there won’t be a forgotten item or task here or there, but having everything else taken care of will reduce the stress when one or two things are overlooked. Your resulting sense of calm will make it possible for your kids to get back to school in a composed and peaceful manner. And if not? Well, there’s always next year.

Thanks Wade! Someday I hope to do something – anything – in a composed and peaceful manner. Controlled chaos is my SOP, but maybe your tips will help tame Back to School next year.

Amy Sue

One Comment

  1. Christine Rose Miller

    Hey! I was reading through your website and loved the design and content. Is there any way I could help contribute?


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