Do’s and Don’ts for School Shopping


  1. Make a list
  2. Discuss with your child your budget and give him/her one or two things he/she can pick out on his/her own. This will give them a sense of independence and allow you to stay within your budget. A budget is very different than complaining about money!
  3. It is ok to take this time to teach a little bit about money. If your child is young, break it down for him to understand or give a simple math problem, i.e. “If mommy has $1 and this cost 79 cents, how much change would mommy get back?” If you have an older child, you can talk to your child about allowance or a part time job and start the conversation by saying,” You can see how expensive things are, if you need some extra money, do you think you can handle a part time job and still do well with school?”
  4. Be rested and as pleasant as possible. This should be a bonding experience for you and your child, not hard labor or some form of punishment you feel has been handed to you in the form of a school list.
  5. Use this time to have a conversation with your child to find out his/her anticipated joys and/or fears for the upcoming school year. Don’t dismiss either one. This is your chance to LISTEN. Set the mood for the rest of the school year so your child feels safe to come to you.


1. If money is an issue, do not make it your child’s issue in a negative way. Your child should not be made to feel guilty he/she needs school supplies, so don’t make him/her feel that way. Encourage learning, not guilt.

2. This is not time for “Ask your mother, ask your father” crap. It is never the time to do that stuff in front of your child. If you’re not mature enough to ask your ex spouse yourself, please don’t ask your child to do your dirty work:

Q “Mom, why can’t I have those markers?”

A:”Ask your father, that cheap bastard” –

What the hec does one thing have to do with another??? Get the point!!! Plus, they’re your children. You chose to have them. You are responsible to nurture them when you have them, no matter what the other spouse is or isn’t doing. Don’t turn your children into receivers of your anger.

3. If you are cranky, stay home. Go another day. If you have nine children and two have colds, with snot all over their face, and one has diarrhea, three are whining, and they are all under the age of nine, the others are pissed off teens – THIS IS NOT THE DAY TO GO! WAIT!! First, no one in the store wants to witness or listen to you and your group screaming at each other.  Second, by the time you get to that poor cashier, she is going to wish she stayed home that day; and third you will inevitably forget at least half a dozen things on your list because you will be in such a rush to get in and out of there as quickly as you can.

4. Don’t go on an empty stomach or when the kids are tired. If everyone had something to eat and is well rested, you have a much better chance of cooperation. Give each child one thing to find. It will make them feel responsible.

5. Don’t fall for the “But I Neeeeeeeeeeed it” scam. If you do, you’ll be walking out of there with $300 worth of junk they will never use!

Good luck!!!!!



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