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School daze: Back to school shopping doesn't have to be pure insanity

July is more than halfway over, and school doesn't start for at least another month and a half.
Try and tell that to shoppers who already have their eyes focused any and everything associated with back to school items.
From folders to finding the clothing that kids want the most for the upcoming school year, moms and dads aren't waiting for mid August to start searching physical stores and online retailers.
Instead, parents are piecing together their shopping list, and stores are obliging with plenty of sales and specials to lure consumers to their particular spots.
But as admirable as it is for parents to start planning for school early, they might be inclined to overspend or miss out on sale items the closer you get to Labor Day. Then again, waiting that long could derail your plans of being prepared and thus create havoc after school starts.

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So the debating about school supplies and shopping begs the question: when is the best time to buy these items?
One argument actually advises back to school shoppers to hold off as long as possible to take advantage of those end of summer sales that typically happen only a few days before school begins. That thinking is financially sound but you have to wonder how picked over the stock of supplies and clothing might be by that point.
As for the tangible school supplies like pencils, pens, erasers and book bags, those actually could wait until school starts. Doing so allows your son or daughter to take stock in what's trendy and see what their buddies are wearing or toting around, which affords parents the opportunity to not buy something too soon, only to have their kids bemoan the buy and want something different.
The simple supplies like tablets and writing utensils should be purchased at stores like Wal Mart, Target or Walgreens. Steer clear of large scale office supply chain stores; their pricing is going to be more since they're a specialty store. If they price match, then the call is yours.
And what's the verdict on used items from the likes of eBay, Amazon or even Craigslist?
Truthfully, parents on a budget might find these avenues quite beneficial, without sacrificing quality. Certain clothing is suitable to buy used, such as jeans or shoes, and there's certainly no shame in buying last year's model and reveling in how much you've saved as a result.
Back to school shopping could easily turn into chaos if you don't understand what you're buying but more importantly when to actually opt to make the purchase. Every penny counts when it comes to spending on school supplies so it makes sense to stay savvy and sharp and not ignore better pricing even if you don't consider pencils a major purchase.

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