We’ve still got a little under a week to go before back-to-school time here at our house. Who’s counting? That would be Meeeeeeee!
If you still have some back-to-school shopping to do with a big kid (‘ahem….maybe you’ve been putting it off?), I’m here to help with some handy tips. This survival guide is brought to you by our lovely sponsors at The Outlet Collection.
Step One: The list making–This will be fun, you think. My kid can learn to budget and prioritize, you think. Your energy and optimism will never be higher than it is at this point. Go ahead and ask your tween to look in his closet and figure out what he really needs. There will be a lot of eye rolling during your shopping trip, so you might as well get some of it out of the way now. He will present you with a list that says something like, “Shoes and stuff.” This is going to be about as good as it gets.
Step Two: Find friendly territory– If you can’t pick your battles, pick your battlefield. The Outlet Collection was kind enough to sponsor this post, but even if they hadn’t, I would have gone there anyway. It’s clean, it’s bright, and the aisles are wide enough that you aren’t getting run over by packs of teens. You know how some malls smell like a combination of corn dog and Axe spray? Not The Outlet Collection. If you aren’t a local reader, I suggest you drive past the nearest mall and go to the next town over. This makes it less likely your tween will see someone he knows and be humiliated by having this person know he has a mother.
Step Three: Just hand it over and no one gets hurt–Your wallet, that is. Since I knew shoes would be our big ticket item, we decided to just head straight to Sports Authority. My kid’s feet are now adult sized,which is weird, since the law says I have to feed and shelter this kid for six more years (I checked). Happily, Sports Authority had the stylish, fancy shoes he wanted on sale. Success! Seriously, once you get your priority out of the way, it’s all gravy! At least that’s what I told myself.
Step Four: Replenish Your Reserves– And by reserves, I mean suck down some calories and caffeine now. I really cannot overstate the importance of keeping your energy up. This is the stage where moms have collapsed and just surrendered their credit cards. You got this! Hit the food court and find your 2nd wind.
Step Five: Go towards the light-The one at the cash register, that is…. At some point, after circling through The Nike Outlet and Old Navy and gazing wistfully at Carter’s (Just me), I said something to the kid like, “Here is what you have left to spend. Go buy something.” We ended up back at The Nordstrom Rack, where he found two pairs of khaki shorts and three blue shirts to try on. Did the shirts and the shorts all look the same? I’ll let you be the judge…Nonetheless, I was impressed that he managed to stick to the budget, and I might have gotten a little tear in my eye when he went to the clearance rack first.
Step Six: Victory! For now.….I was actually really proud that my tween emerged with sensible, good looking outfits that I know he’ll wear. Is he going to freeze to death in November? Quite possibly. It’s o.k. because we’ll need to go back for bigger shoes by then anyway…..
If you still have some shopping to do, The Outlet Collection has all kinds of trendy, affordable shops for you and your big (or little) kids to check out all year round. It’s also a great place for grown-ups to do a little shopping. Think about having a little celebration trip after that first day, maybe?
They’re also running their awesome Earning for Learning promotion until October 1st. You just take your receipts to guest services to earn points, and potentially dollars, for your school! So much easier than selling wrapping paper.
My clever friend, Jen, always takes her kids back to school shopping after the first week, when they’ve had a chance to see what’s really cool.
I’m not quite that smart yet, but I’m learning !
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The opinions and the kid described are my own. This site comes to you thanks to the generosity of our sponsors. We appreciate you patronizing them and thanking them when you have a chance!