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6 Back-to-school shopping tips

Summer is ending, and the new school year is approaching. It’s time to start the back-to-school shopping and organize yourself and your kids for their first day.   

Did you know that in Ontario, just over 2 million students are enrolled in elementary and secondary schools? Plus, just under 2.2 million Canadian students enroll in post-secondary studies every year. That’s a lot of students and parents preparing for the upcoming year.   

School shopping can be stressful, and with rising prices, stocking up on supplies, tech, and clothes can be expensive. Luckily, we’re here to help. With CAA, the back-to-school season doesn’t have to be stressful. With rising living costs, it is no surprise that parents are looking to save now more than ever.  

We have tips and tricks to prepare your kids for fall, regardless of grade or age. We’ll even tell you how to rack up the savings while you cross things off your lists.   

We have your back whether you’re sending your kids off to university, high school, or elementary school. Here are six back-to-school shopping tips to help you take the stress out of the new year.   

Make a plan

Stocking up for the school year can be overwhelming. The malls and stores are busy, kids and parents are anxious about the upcoming year, and those supply lists can feel kilometres long. Taking time to plan your shopping can make a world of difference.   

Start with a shopping list. Most elementary schools will send a list of what supplies students need for the year. Now is the time to check the shape of backpacks, lunch boxes and any technology your children already have, and make sure it is in good condition. It is better to replace now than run into an emergency a few weeks after the year has started.  

The top items on back-to-school lists are usually lunch bags, containers, and a reusable water bottle for litterless lunches.  

They will also need pencils, pens, and a good eraser for taking notes and homework. Don’t forget to pick up some labels. Kids are bound to misplace things throughout the year; having name labels can help things find their way back to your kids.   

Consider a laptop or Chrome book for your kids in high school, as most of their homework will be done online. Buying an agenda or planner is a great way to help your high school student keep tests and assignments organized.

Smiling schoolgirl choosing products at school supplies section in supermarket.
Drazen Zigic | iStock

Make a budget

The back-to-school season can be expensive for parents. Once your list is ready, it is time to set a budget. Factoring in supplies, tech, new clothes, and shoes, figure out a budget to stick to. Get your kids to help with the planning stage, and let them pick out some of the styles on your list. Keeping kids involved makes them feel like they have a role and can help stop them from asking for everything that catches their eye.   

To stick to your budget, take some time to shop around. You’ll want to check out multiple stores and brands to find the best supplies at the best prices. Pay attention to flyer deals and coupons to rack up the savings while you stock up.   

Shop online

Another great way to stay on budget is to shop online. By shopping online, you can escape the crowds and lineups. With online back-to-school shopping, you can cross things off your list from the comfort of your home. And everything is delivered right to your door, or you can pick it up at a selected time. Plus, with the CAA eStore, you’ll ease the stress and rack up savings and CAA Dollars. Find everything you need, from Staples for tech gear to Old Navy for the new school wardrobe and so much more

Take advantage of your CAA Membership

A CAA Membership unlocks many rewards and rebate partners that can make your shopping easier and more rewarding. Shop Staples for all your school supplies or help your university student get all their dorm essentials through the CAA eStore and get three per cent back in CAA Dollars. For an all-new wardrobe, shop great stores like Old Navy, the Gap, Simons, and Joe Fresh with your Membership and rack up the CAA Dollars. Of course, you can’t forget about the new shoes. Find styles the whole family will love at ALDO, Foot Locker, and The Shoe Company. 

College students texting moving into college dorm
Hero Images | iStock

Getting university ready

Preparing to send a kid to college or university can be a stressful experience. Not only is your kid moving away from you, but you have to stock up on school supplies and dorm essentials for them. Just like shopping for elementary or high school students, you’ll want to curate a list of must-haves and wants and set yourself a budget.   

When getting things for a dorm room, shop at home first. You probably have blankets and bedding that you can spare and a few extra dishes and mugs. Ask family and friends if they have things to spare before hitting the stores.  

Take advantage of student and Membership discounts. Head to Simons to get everything your university student needs. Find outfits perfect for a late-night study session, for a confidence boost during their first presentation, and everything in between. Plus, Simons has great decor to make their dorm feel more like home. CAA Members save four per cent when they show at Simons through the CAA eStore.   

Moving away is a big step. As you send your child to university or college in a new city, anxieties are high. A CAA Membership can help students adjust to their new home and make it eas  ier to check out the sights of their new city. 

Give your kid the gift of a CAA Membership before they head back to school. For those without a car, the Everyday Membership is the perfect choice. For just $30 a year, you get exclusive rewards and discounts, plus Bike Assist and much more. With a Membership, they can save big on Ottawa Senators and Ottawa REDBLACKS and home game tickets. 

Soak up what's left of summer

Ease everyone’s nerves by spending time together as a family. With homework, sports and extracurriculars, the school year is a busy time for families. Enjoy what is left of the summer and spend more time with your family. Whether planning a quick day trip, heading to a local festival, or grabbing some ice cream, time with family is what summer is all about.   

A bit of retail therapy can help soothe nerves. With your list and budget in place, blow off a bit of steam at the malls. Consider treating yourself, too. It’s not all about the kids. Freshen up your fall wardrobe at RW&CO and save with your CAA Membership.   

Celebrate the new school year by taking your family out to dinner. Use your CAA Membership when you dine-in at Kelseys Original Roadhouse or Montana’s to save 10% or share a free appetizer or dessert with the family at Swiss Chalet.   

Hop back into school

Members earn up to 2x in CAA Dollars when you shop online with select partners until August 31, 2023. 

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