Recently, I went on Michael’s website (http://www.michaels.com) and signed up to receive their newsletter via email. As a thank you gift, they emailed me a 50% discount coupon on any regularly priced item. This is a great way to purchase a higher ticket item at a great price! In addition to the first coupon, they just sent me other coupon for 20%. This is great for back-to-school shopping or to simply nurture the artist within. I hope it’s helpful for those of you who didn’t know about it!
Borders also has a wonderful rewards program: when you spend $50, you receive a $5 gift certificate. We also get 40% coupons for birthdays and other holidays like Father’s Day. This is an awesome way to save on “in-store” books. Of course we want to support small, independent book stores such as Charis (http://charis.booksense.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp) but when money gets tight, a rewards program such as this one may be a good alternative. On another hand, Charis Books offers awesome mini-workshops, authors signings, talks and you can always give them a donation while you’re there. They also have a wonderful selection of children’s books and an awesome bargain cart.
Don’t fall into advertisers hype on back-to-school shopping. The ads lead children and parents to believe that they need SO MUCH more stuff and therefore it only feels like your ready (or satisfied) when you’ve spent $$ and time at stores in preparation for the first day of school. First shop at home, go through your closet and take inventory of what you actually have, most students don’t need new backpacks or lunch boxes because nowadays these can last years (and still be in good shape). These are teachable moments for our children, where they can feel empowered to recycle and consume less. Instead of feeling embarrassed because they have the same backpack from last year, they should feel wise and great about the fact that they use what they have and are conscious of how much they consume. They can add buttons w/ positive messages about the environment or patches to be creative and help raise awareness.
Also, many of the summer clothes that you just bought a few months ago are still relatively new. They work just fine for the first few weeks of school so don’t disregard your recent investment. Sweatshirts and long sleeve t-shirts can extend the use of summer t-shirts by layering during the cooler fall evenings. Right now, Old Navy has jeans for $10 bucks and tops 2 for $10 plus tons of shorts on their sale rack. This is a great way to build your child’s basic wardrobe w/o spending tons of $$$-add to this a couple of thrift shop items and if you have a picky teen a couple of higher tag items that provide a unique touch to their wardrobe. Some of these items can be found for considerably less, check online, TJMAX, Filene’s Basement or Plato’s Closet. I would definitely limit those items to 2-3 key things that can be worn frequently such as a jacket, hats, shoes, etc. Talking about Plato’s Closet, this unique thrift shop provides teens cash for gently worn designer/trendy clothes that may no longer fit or isn’t getting used. In return, teens can shop for clothes and find some really good deals. Here’s their website: http://www.platosclosetatlanta.com. Save your money and in the process be good to the environment by producing less trash and raising strong and intelligent children.