Parents shopped for back-to-school clothes and items like crazy this past weekend and stood in line for their kids' haircuts.
I heard comments like, "Why do parents always wait until the last minute to shop and get all this done?"
With four children of my own, I can answer that question. Money. Getting kids ready for school costs a bundle, and it's an expense we put off until we absolutely have to. Then, often we can't afford it all and have to cut into our monthly budgets to pay for it.
Many parents have to cut corners and buy school clothes at thrift stores and get grandma to cut their kids' hair. Nothing wrong with this. Besides, there are plenty of miles left in most used clothing.
And few can afford the name-brand athletic shoes out there that kids want. Parents are still in charge and should say to their children that the cheap brand of athletic shoe is all the child is getting.
Many parents must tell their children to get another school year of wear out of their backpacks instead of getting a new one each year. Children need to learn these lessons – that they don't get everything they want.
I got my girls one new outfit of their choice, one outfit of my choosing from the clearance racks, and the rest from the thrift store. I found a nice leather pair of sandals for $1 at a thrift store, although she will only be able to wear them for a month or so. Anyway, they'll save until next spring.
I did take advantage of sales on school supplies over the last month or so. And I will buy boxes of tissue and snacks to send to the teachers who request it from parents.
As far as coats and other warm clothing items, Chino Valley parents can take advantage of Birdie's Warm Clothing Giveway in the fall and get some nice used things. Watch for the dates and times in the Review.
At the stores, I saw parents buying shopping carts full of clothes. That seemed like too many clothes for a couple of kids, but maybe they had more children at home. But, too often, school becomes a fashion show of the latest trends. Kids get pulled into this and just have to have the latest. That's peer pressure and children of every generation experience it. For me in the 1960s, the trends included white go-go boots, bell-bottom pants and later embroidered denim work shirts. My mom usually waited until well into the trend to buy me some of them and found the cheapest copycats she could. For example, when thick-soled canvas casual shoes (like today's Van's shoes) were all the rage, she got me a cheap pair at the grocery store. The soles weren't as thick as the originals, but they were still cool and they satisfied me.
School supplies also can cost a fortune if you get all the newest, coolest items for your kids. Some binders have secret compartments for everything and of course, you are paying for some celebrity's picture to be on the cover. Give me a plain, old pencil so the kid can do his school work.
Sometimes I get sick of all the marketing that goes into just sending kids to school. Us consumers fall for it everytime and think we have to have what they sell. Sigh.