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I'm sure that stores lick their chops when it's back to school season.  After all, every parent gets the same list with the same items to buy.  It definitely has to give a boost for the summer season, which have traditionally lower sales.

But, what items are really needed?  I've wrote in the past about how some parents barely bother with the list.  That I don't agree with.  Even so, are there some items that you can skip or delay and save some money?  Absolutely.

Here are three items we aren't buying (right now).

Clothes and Shoes

I'll start off by saying that we have bought some clothes.  But, we don't buy an entirely new set of clothes.  If the clothes from last year fit and don't have holes, they get worn.  So, if you figure that your child needs four pairs of jeans, buy only what you need.

Besides, we've found that many stores will mark down kids clothes once school starts.  So, even if your child went through a massive growth spurt and you need all new stuff, you can save some big bucks by getting by with what you have for the first couple of weeks, and then scouring the stores for deals.


Image from Morguefile courtesy of Alvimann

We have always purchased more expensive backpacks, which stand up to our kids abuse.  This means that they can use them for multiple years.  We've found that their change in style or taste drives the need for new backpacks.

We just washed the kids backpacks from last year, and they look almost as good as new.

Lunch Box

We apply the same principle to lunch boxes as with backpacks.  The lunchboxes definitely take on more dirt and smells, but they can be used.  One trick is to really work on cleaning them throughout the year.

So, in short, skipping some back to school items doesn't mean that the kids go without.  They simply use what they had.  Doesn't that make sense?

Parents, how did back to school shopping go?  Have you found any items along the way that you skip or delay?  Let me know your tricks and tips in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.