Tips to Enjoy the Prep of Back-to-School Shopping (& Get Great Value Too!)

by Julie Sprankles
Aug 17, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. ET

Back-to-school shopping on a budget can seem like mission impossible when you're staring at the mile-long list of school supplies. Seriously, we feel your pain. Happily, you don't have to go broke — or sacrifice quality — during the experience. With great prices all year long, Target makes it easy to find the kinds of deals that ensure back-to-school shopping is a total breeze.

After all, the last thing anyone wants is to let anxiety ruin the pure, unadulterated joy of back-to-school shopping. You know what we’re talking about — that intoxicating and unique rush of fresh-start novelty and childhood nostalgia (oh, to be young and picking out a new backpack again!).

The good news is you can enjoy prepping for BTS shopping and get great value at the same time. And you can start by taking note of the following tips, tricks and hacks. Before you know it, you'll be a back-to-school shopping believer with an arm — not to mention shopping cart — full of deals.

This post is sponsored by Target.

1 /10: Divide & conquer

1/10 :Divide & conquer

If your approach to back-to-school shopping is "all hands on deck," you can play to individual preferences to please everyone. For example, if your partner is an office supply fanatic, send them in search of all of the standards such as No. 2 pencils and paper clips. Meanwhile, you can tackle things like clothes, lunch bags and the like. 

2 /10: Plan a surprise 'splurge'

2/10 :Plan a surprise 'splurge'

You've probably already explained to your little student that shopping for back-to-school clothes will include plenty of staples such as socks and T-shirts. Imagine the smile that will spread across their face, though, when you surprise them by tossing a statement piece like these fun patched jeans into your shopping cart. You get the dual satisfaction of giving your little one something they're psyched about and getting a lot of bang for your buck too. 

3 /10: Be brand-conscious

3/10 :Be brand-conscious

For starters, always stick to the brands outlined by your child's teacher — there is a specific reason they request those brands. Outside of that, though, you can shop quality generics for basics. By saving money on basics such as pencils, you build up a reserve for the name-brand stuff you need (or your kid wants).

4 /10: Check for educational discounts

4/10 :Check for educational discounts

Often, retailers will shave off a few bucks for education-related items. If you're doing most of your shopping at a specific store, you might be able to find promo codes for these discounts online. If not, it doesn't hurt to ask, right?

5 /10: Save your receipts

5/10 :Save your receipts

Many popular BTS retailers like Target offer price-matching, so save those receipts and you could save money. There can be stipulations regarding the type of products being price-matched, though, so do some snooping on the retailer's website to get the full scoop. Bonus? You might come across a price-matching app on the site. 

6 /10: Invite a friend

6/10 :Invite a friend

Back-to-school shopping doesn't have to (and shouldn't be) a chore. Inviting a fellow mama or two and her brood to make the trip with your family is a tangible reminder that this time of year doesn't have to be a drag. The kids will revel in having buddies there to compare picks, and you'll have backup to help you hit everything on your list. 

7 /10: Go halvsies

7/10 :Go halvsies

Your personal office supplies have probably taken a hit courtesy of your kids' sticky fingers. So go ahead and plan to pick up a few items for yourself during the BTS shopping excursion. The odds are good your child's school supply list contains a few items you need (think pencils or dry-erase markers), so you can buy the big pack and split it. 

8 /10: Mail in those rebates

8/10 :Mail in those rebates

Mail-in rebates don't do any good if they get shoved into the junk drawer and forgotten about, which is tantamount to throwing money away. As soon as you get home, stick that mail-in rebate in an envelope and slap a stamp on it. Don't wait!

9 /10: Pick a theme

9/10 :Pick a theme

If you really want to take the guesswork out of back-to-school shopping (who doesn't like making things easier?), pick a theme. You can practically find matching everything, from pencils to lunch bags and backpacks adorned with your kid's favorite character — whether it be a superhero or Frozen's Anna and Elsa

10 /10: Save the date

10/10 :Save the date

Nip any potential anxiety about back-to-school shopping in the bud by planning to make a day of it — and then hyping the day beforehand. Think about it. You get to spend half the day in Target... when is that not a win? Plus, you can spend time online in the days leading up to your special shopping day perusing the affordable array of BTS products and picking your must-haves.