Back to School: The Next Big Holiday Season?

By Crystal McLeod

It is most definitely that time of year: Back to School!  The evidence is everywhere – on TV, the radio, in stores, newspapers, flyers, magazines … It’s as though the kids’ return to class has become the next holiday! LOL

All the coverage got me thinking about just that. Back-to-school time is hyped as another “season of giving!” After Canada Day (or Independence Day in the US) they were rolling out the school supplies and putting up the back-to-school promotional décor in stores.  You’ve seen the stuff: rows and rows of supplies – 20 different boxes of crayons, 15 different types of scissors, a plethora of duotangs, binders, rulers, glue sticks….The list goes on!

Stores are vying for you to shop with them, offering 30 percent off here, 25 percent off there. You’ll find a bundle of paper for a dollar at one retailer and at the next it’s just 25 cents. The commercials on TV show kids dancing and smiling, allenthusiastic, colourfully dressed and ready to rock out the first day of school! The message is clear: have fun and be excited to go back to school. (I hope most kids are thrilled, although I don’t remember feeling that way as a kid :P)

One way or the other, all the back-to-school media hype can be taxing on the wallets of parents. Kids want EVERYTHING and most of the time, they want the top-of-the-line, glitziest, priciest items.

My daughter is going into Grade 1 and, fortunately, this year her school is providing all the necessities, such as crayons and markers. The only items we needed to shop for were new shoes, a backpack and a couple of new outfits.

So how can parents deal with kids’ back-to-school wish lists when there are items the youngsters really need? At Christmas, at least there are other family members who shop for your children. Then, you can also dole out the standard line: “Well maybe Santa will bring it for you!” But at back-to-school shopping time, there is no Santa. There are parents, period, and some families have a number of children to outfit for the return to school.

To save on back-to-school costs in this household, we chose to buy only a couple of new clothing items. My daughter outgrew her pants last spring, so she needed pants as well as new indoor running shoes. She didn’t really need a new backpack, but since she had no other supplies to purchase, we got her a new one. The shoes and backpack were on sale, too, which was nice.

To save, we are using her indoor shoes from last year for her outdoor shoes and we’re also using the same lunch bag; it worked really well and is still in amazing condition.

It’s also worth remembering that as the kids go back to class, it will still be nice outside, so they can wear shorts and their summer clothes for a while.  Although my daughter will need new sweaters and some long sleeved shirts, I am going to wait until after the huge shopping rush, and then get the items on sale!

What do you do to try to save money at this time of year when going back-to- school shopping?


Crystal is a work-at-home-mom to two beautiful little children and a wife to one! Together with her family, Crystal resides just outside of the nation’s capital in the Ottawa Valley. Not that moms get a lot of spare time, but when she does, Crystal is busy as a co-founder of Ottawa Valley Moms and you can find her corresponding daily with their followers via social media outlets.

Never a dull moment doing the most important job there is – raising your family!

Visit Ottawa Valley Moms at  and follow Crystal on Twitter at

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