There’s something magically nostalgic about back-to-school shopping – for parents and kiddos alike. That unmistakable smell from a new box of crayons. Clean, untouched notebooks patiently waiting for doodles. Picking out that new bookbag that perfectly represents your individuality.

The start of a new year, with infinite possibilities. But then you get that back-to-school shopping list…

Gone are the days of pencils and glue sticks. Well, those are on there, too. But these days, classrooms require watercolor paint, Ziploc bags, antibacterial soap, pocket folders, construction paper, washable markers – and that’s just for kindergarten!

Inflation being what it is, back-to-school shopping can be overwhelming and stressful. But we think we can help. We connected with our friends at Virtua Health, South Jersey’s largest health system, for some surefire ways to save money this upcoming school season.

Take Inventory
Before you head out to the store and check items off that shopping list, make sure you take stock of what you have at home. Be sure to check out what your kiddos used or didn’t use last year. Binders, bookbags, pencil boxes, and even barely used markers and writing utensils could be good shape.

Research and Compare
One of the biggest mistakes you can avoid is doing all your back-to-school shopping at one location. And look, we love Target as much as the next person – but Walmart, Amazon, office supply shops, and local dollar stores all have competing sales. Make a list and discover who’s having the best deal and who price matches.

Bring the Kids
Make your kids an active part of back-to-school shopping. There’s nothing worse than buying something they dislike – this is big, especially when it comes to the clothes department.

Quality Matters
If you can, try splurging for products known for their durability. Like L.L. Bean for backpacks and lunchboxes, Five Star for notebooks, or Palomino for pencils. These items will save you in the long run.

Ask Questions
Reach out to your kid’s teachers and ask what items are essential for day one. For example, maybe you can hold off on that fancy scientific calculator because your kid won’t be learning about polynomials until the spring.

Do Good

If you can, buy extra supplies and donate to local school drives in your community. You can even hand off items to teachers so they have extra on hand for students in need. It’s such a small gesture, but it can make a huge difference in people’s lives!

Virtua Health is on a mission to help you be well, get well, and stay well – both mentally and physically. Check out some more articles below that could help you feel your best, inside and out!