A lot of moms—myself included—dread certain aspects of the back-to-school shopping season. There’s the hassle of dealing with big crowds and a frenzy of other clothes shoppers at the mall. There’s the time spent driving around from store to store, and then battling other customers for a parking spot. And who hasn’t been frustrated trying to track down that one hard-to-find item that’s out of stock practically everywhere?
To put an end to that madness, this year I took the easy way out and did my back-to-school shopping online. It was oh-so-convenient because the PTA at my kids’ schools let you put in your orders online—and voilà!—they handled the rest.
When September rolls around this year, my children’s school supplies will be waiting for them in their classrooms. It couldn’t be easier. Even if your kid’s school doesn’t offer this option, you can still hop online and make back-to-school shopping season a breeze.
Here are five good reasons to do your back-to-school shopping online.
1. You’ll save time
Have you ever added up how much time you spend driving from one store to the next, going up and down shopping aisles, and then standing in line to make your back-to-school purchases? It can easily be two to three hours or more!
And if you don’t find something you need, or if you have more than one child, those hours can grow exponentially. Reclaim your time by hopping online for your back-to-school shopping needs.
2. You’ll save money
With the typical parent expected to spend an average of $635 on apparel, school supplies and other things for their children this back-to-school season, it’s not surprising that most parents are looking for deals.
And no matter how much or how little you’re spending this back-to-school season, it’s always smart to be price conscious.
In fact, when Capital One conducted its Annual Back to School Shopping Survey for 2013, it found that price is the number one factor parents take into account when making back-to-school purchases.
Today’s savvy parents know that online shopping lets you better comparison shop to get the best price, score discounts such as web-only deals and Internet rebates, not to mention save money on gas and get free shipping.
So shopping via the Internet is often a way to significantly cut your back-to-school spending—and keep more dollars in your bank account.
3. You’ll reduce stress
Online shopping takes a lot of the stress and headaches out of the back-to-school season by letting you shop from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
You can shop in your pajamas, shop at 5 a.m. or midnight if you’d like, or make your purchases anytime at all 24/7—even when stores are closed.
And best of all: you won’t experience the mad crush of other shoppers who are all anxiously standing in line, jockeying for merchandise or searching for that last elusive spot in the parking lot.
4. You’ll be more organized
Handling your back-to-school shopping via the web also lets you become more organized. You simply create a list, or use the list provided to you from your kid’s school, and methodically check off items as you find them online.
You can easily keep tabs on your spending, get statements or invoices emailed to you, and you won’t have to worry about a fistful of receipts or other paperwork getting buried in your wallet or purse.
5. You’ll set a good example
Finally, taking your shopping online lets you set a good example for your children in several ways.
By sticking to your list, you show you kids that you’re organized and disciplined in your approach to shopping. You can talk to your children about the money-saving benefits of shopping online. And online shopping is more environmentally friendly too, since it means you don’t have to drive all over town using up gas and other resources to buy what you want. For those of you who want to further help your offspring, here are five tips to use back-to-school shopping to teach your kids money skills.
There’s no reason that the back-to-school shopping season has to be full of stress, anxiety or constant rushing around. By slowing down, being smart about your spending and doing your shopping online you can save money—and inject some sanity into the back-to-school season, too.