How to Simplify Back to School Shopping


Can I first say that I dislike shopping?  Like, a lot.  I shop because we can’t go naked.

My close friends and family know this about me.  They never call me to go shopping with them.  And I’m totally okay with that.  Amazon Prime Days do not even excite me.   (BTW, there are no affiliate links or ads here.  I don’t really roll like that, sis.  They annoy me. I only share or link things that I truly love.)

I have to work through a lot of overwhelm and a bit of anxiety while I shop.  Online, I have things that have been in my Amazon cart for over a year now. In the store, I will put things in my cart and walk all around the store only to put them back before I check out.   This frustrates my husband beyond belief.

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I could go into the deeper issues about money and shopping, but I talked a little about those in  How to Live in Abundance While You’re Flat Broke.

My perspective on shopping has changed slightly in the past few years.  It now comes with the question: What do we truly need to live intentionally?  

This question alone has helped me release a lot of “pressure” when I enter a store.


However, there are several times each year that I cannot get out of actually shopping.  It’s like a motherhood requirement for my children’s survival.   I accept that.  I can rise to a challenge and do hard things, right?  Those two times are:

1.| Back to School Shopping

2.| Christmas Shopping (another post + all those tips will be happening, I promise you.)

There’s so much to do and buy with back to school shopping that putting it all together in one place can help simplify the process.   I also want to encourage you to think about simplifying all the stuff and focus on the essentials.   Back to School Basics is a guide to help you do just this.


Copy of Back to School Basics Cover


I want to ensure that I’m setting my children up for battling materialism and focusing on our true purpose here in this life.  Our goal as parents is to train them in the way that they should go.  

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

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So, when we go back to school shopping, we go back to the question: 

What do we truly need to live intentionally?

At the time of this post, my children are 12, 10, and 8.  I know that most of the time when we (as mommas) go back to school shopping we’re thinking: clothes, supplies, lunch boxes, snacks, etc.  But, I want to challenge you to think beyond that for just a minute and consider training your children for success later in life.

To train our children while shopping, we can use the questions:

1.| What does my child truly need to be successful this year?

2.| What will help build confidence in my child?

3.| How can I help my child choose and learn decision-making skills while shopping?



1.| School Supplies.  I’m not including a list of supplies in the shopping plan.  Most schools have a list of school supplies.  Use it.  Determine what you actually need to purchase or if you have it on hand at home.

2.| Determine what needs to be done + purchased.  In How to Bring Peace and Simplicity to the Back to School SeasonI shared how to create a simple “countdown plan” to ease the transition from summer to school.

3.| Inventory your family’s clothes.  Determine what you need.  I have a simple shopping guide in Back to School Basics that you can print out to determine what you actually need to buy.   (see below)

4.| Don’t Overbuy.  Momma friend, implement a Laundry Routine now to minimize the amount of clothes you actually need to purchase for your family.

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Back to school shopping can get expensive quickly.  So, let’s take a few minutes to “brain dump” how we can simplify our budget behind the scenes.


1.| Use what you already have on hand. Not everything we start the year with is new.  If last year’s things are still working and in good shape, use them again. We bought good backpacks and my children used them for 2 years.  

2.| Purchase only what you need to start the year and save the rest for as the need arises.  For example, we don’t need new coats, jeans, or boots in August when we start school, we wait to purchase these when the weather begins to cool.  *Use the guide I give you to help you plan.

3.| Set aside money in the summer months to purchase what you need.  This may mean $50-$100 in June, July and August to prepare for the beginning of the school year.

4.| Use local tax-free shopping days to pick up supplies.

5.| Do an exchange with friends. Clothing, supplies, locker decorations, lunchboxes.  This could be a fun set-up with local friends, family, or organizations.

6.| Repurpose.  What do you have on-hand that could be made new with a little bit of creativity?


Online or in the store shopping? It doesn’t really matter.  Do what works for your family.  

I order almost all of our supplies through Amazon and our clothes online with places that offer free shipping and returns.  As my children are a little older, we have Pinterest boards for their favorite “styles” to help guide us.   We browse Amazon + other stores online together.  *Most of the time, I pick out a few things I think they would love and just get their feedback.  

Remember, talk with your kids.  Find out what kind of clothes they would like to have.  “Browse online” together or create a Pinterest board to create a few “outfits” before you shop.

I suggest 3 things for shopping online:

1.| Order early enough that you can exchange items before the school year begins.

2.| Choose stores in which the shopping policy will allow you to return items if they do not fit.

3.| Seek out free shipping or discount codes from your favorite retailer to save money.

I suggest 3 things for shopping in stores.

1.| Create a plan. Bring your list.  Mark off as you go. Plan out the stores you want to shop to save you time + gas money from “store hopping” all over the city.

2.| Allow your kids some “freedom” to browse + help choose their clothes.

3.| Bring healthy snacks +water.  There is nothing worse than tired, hungry, and cranky kids unless it’s a tired, hungry, and cranky family.


Sis, let me leave you with these words of encouragement.  Do what works for your family.  Forget what the world says you need or must-have to buy during this season.

Determine what you need.  Create a plan.  Stick with it.  The End.


If you’re looking for more than just these tips + checklists to get it together, sister, then I’ve got you covered.  

Since I was creating a game plan for myself during this season I had to share it with other mommas who needed this tool too.  After a LOT of prayer over you, I put together a simple guide to help you simplify this transition with Spirit-led strategies.  

Copy of Back to School Basics Cover

Back to School Basics is a 22 page comprehensive PDF to get all the basic tools you need in one place:

  • Checklists + Budget Tips
  • Shopping guides
  • Menu plans + Food Lists
  • Chore charts
  • Setting Routines + Rhythms



I created an action-packed download to help you create momentum to simplify your space and get you results.  I’m sharing what I’ve learned through years of moving (thanks, Army) reading, trial and error, and listening to the “experts” to craft a single document so that you can put your energy + effort where it needs to go:  YOUR SPACE.

I share my story here in The Beautiful Truth Behind Simplifying My Space because this part of the journey can be super challenging!




If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with life right now, know that you are NOT ALONE.  I know when I first began listening to this calling the Lord place on me, I was a little overwhelmed as to where to start.  As I’ve worked through this process, I’ve created tools to help women simplify their lives with a Spirit-led approach.


In each of these blog posts, I share the parts of my journey in which I followed the lead of the Creator as He guided me to simplify my life.

1.|Sitting at the feet of Jesus to claim my identity as a Daughter of the King.

2.|Setting fierce boundaries around Christ-centered priorities.

3.|Reclaiming my mornings + creating a morning power hour to fill my cup.

4.| Getting my home together with rhythms + routines.

5.|Simplifying my Space to throw off all that’s hindering me to live as His handiwork.

Find more tools to encourage and help you here!start here

I know when I first began this part of my simplifying journey, I felt alone.  So, friend, I want to encourage you to share this on your favorite social media platform to encourage other women in their journey to seek simplicity in their homes and their lives, and in turn, know the peace and joy the Creator provides.
With💛 from my toolbox to yours,
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Daughter of the King.
Veteran's Wife. Mother of Three Blessings.
Lover of Lemons, Salad, Coffee & the Simple Life
Learning to use the Mess to make His Message.

Binge Read for more blessings

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