Online Back to School Shopping!


You guys may have noticed our schedule has been a little off this summer. I’ve discovered, especially as my kids get older, that it’s kind of hard to get into a good blogging groove (also: keep my house clean) during the summer months when all my kids are at home with me. All day. All the time. (Along with keeping my house clean, how am I supposed to take care of, and I mean that in the most Godfather-esque way possible, my daughter’s collection of cut up construction paper if she’s always there watching me?)

But the truth is that I love having them there and I know it’s not going to last forever, so sometimes we take a slower pace during the summer months. It’s meant fewer Scoop posts, but, because my kids are going back to school next Monday, I thought I’d share some of the things I bought online this year instead of braving the stores with my brood. Some things I bought because the price was so much better, some out of sheer convenience, but no matter how you cut it, for most of us, back to school shopping is way more stressful than when we were kids and had to show up on the first day with a box of tissues and a smile!online back to school shopping

1. J World Rolling Backpack ($49.49 + free shipping from Amazon). My daughter is going into third grade this year, which, at her school, means things are about to get a lot tougher. Last year, she conned me into buying her a single shoulder tote bag backpack and I warned her again and again that it would be heavy and she would hate it and that I wasn’t going to buy her another one. It was heavy and she did hate it, but I was true to my word and didn’t buy her another bag. I’m pretty mean.

This year, she had her heart set on a rolling backpack and so we agreed that I would buy her one, but it would be her backpack for a couple of years, no mind-changing. This J World Rolling Backpack comes in lots and lots of very cute patterns and prints and has great reviews, plus it’s cheaper on Amazon than other online retailers and definitely cheaper than buying it in person.

2. Cherokee Uniform Skirt ($7.49, Target). This is actually one that’s just as good of a deal in person as it is online, but if you have a Target debit or credit card, you can buy it online with 5% off and free shipping, and their shipping is lightning fast, which means you can acquire all your favorite Target goods whilst in your pajamas.

My kids have to wear uniforms at their school, and for my son it’s pretty much the same deal every day (khaki shorts/pants, polo), but we have a little more freedom with my daughter. We’ve experimented with lots of different dresses and skirts and some of them are better than others (I don’t know who irons their kids’ pleated skirts every day, but whoever you are, you’re a better mom and iron-er AND human than I am.) This is one of the best things I’ve found. It is just about perfect in every way–great length (longer than the Gap knit skirts, but not so long they look frumpy), modest (there are built-in shorts underneath), comfortable, durable, non-pilling, super flattering, and such a great price. If you have girls in uniforms, I can’t recommend this one enough.

3. BIC Yellow Highlighters ($4.99/dozen). Both of my kids had large quantities of yellow highlighters on their lists, so I just bought this box and split it between the two of them. I got them from Amazon because they were $2 cheaper there than at Target and with Prime, I got them super quickly with free shipping.

4. Ticonderoga Pencils. Buying these through Amazon was probably the most dramatic savings. One of my kids needed 96 Ticonderoga pencils and one needed 48, which meant 144 pencils. Ticonderogas aren’t cheap (which I found funny as I was sharpening the 144 pencils because I’m too cheap to buy them pre-sharpened–they’re wooden writing sticks that was the single most expensive item on my kids’ school supply lists), but 96 pencils at Target was $23.12 and at Amazon, they’re $12.99.

5. Zappos. I’m so in love with Zappos around this time of year. One of the reasons why I love online shopping for school supplies is because crowds and shopping both stress me out, so around the busiest times of the year in the busiest places, I kind of turn into a monster. I also hate shoe shopping more than just about any other thing. Every fall, I order my kids a nice pair of sneakers to last them the whole year (or until they outgrow them) from Zappos and then fill in the footwear blanks with less expensive shoes from other places. I love that I can browse reviews and that their shipping is lightning-fast–we usually get them the next day, sometimes even before I get the shipping confirmation email. Plus, their customer service and return policies are second to none. You have a year to return purchases (like that pair of Reeboks I bought my son last fall that got a hole in the toe 6 weeks later–they took them back, no questions asked), free shipping both ways (so order all three and send the shoes you don’t like or don’t fit back, no problem). Yesterday, when we were rummaging around the mall for a pair of flats for my daughter, the wrong shoes in the wrong boxes, the whole shoe area of every store a mess, finding a reasonably cute pair only to discover the store had every size EXCEPT what she needed. All the while, all three of my kids were asking if they could buy a stuffed troll or a princess nightgown or a giant Tsum-Tsum from the Disney store or $400 worth of Legos, my three-year-old screaming and pulling at my belt loops so we could go up the escalator, and I just longed to make three clicks with my computer  mouse and have the exact shoes I wanted delivered to my doorstep in a pretty box the next day. This is my love letter to Zappos.

So anyway, that’s what I’ve done to save my sanity this back-to-school season! I hope these ideas help!


  1. Not to rub it in or anything, but my youngest graduated from high school in May, After 5 kids and 21 years of back to school shopping I’m doing the happy dance right now because I don’t have to do it this year. I do, however, have three kids at Utah State University. That takes a much bigger chunk of change than the back to school shopping. :/

  2. I totally try to do a lot of my shopping online. I just CANNOT brave the crazy mobs of parents with rebellious minions all crowding around the same 1 foot section of shelf space trying to decide which pencils are the best value. Even without my 4 kids. :\ Amazon is my best friend.

  3. Those 96 pencils are cheaper at amazon than the ones I ordered from Costco, also for free shipping! I always just assume Costco is the cheapest, so I will now double check. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. We had my son registered for kindergarten at a charter school and they asked for 24 glue sticks from each child! I thought that was so crazy excessive! We decided on a different school at the time and they didn’t need quite as many. Also I was school supply shopping at Walmart yesterday and could not believe that the Ticonderoga pencils they ask for cost about 4 times as much as all of the other ones. Then I looked closely at the Dixon pencils that were on sale for $3 less than the Ticonderogas and it said they are made by Ticonderoga so I decided that’s good enough. Hopefully it is and my son’s 2nd grade teacher doesn’t hate me cause I buy cheap crap!

    1. I seriously repurposed 12 unopened glue sticks from last year for this year. I get wanting to make sure your bases are covered, but let me know in the middle of the year if you’re running low and I’ll send some ASAP!

  5. I got the pencils at Costco, 8 dozen for about $12 I think? Seems expensive for pencils, but the teachers love getting the good ones. I should try Zappos for my daughter. She’s also going into 3rd grade and shoe shopping with her is terrible. I now know better than to bring any other kids with us, but it still usually takes 3 or 4 trips. Part of her problem is she hates athletic shoes, but needs something for PE. The more glitter and rhinestones the better, meaning the ones she likes tend to be expensive. Oh, and her feet are really narrow so most don’t fit. I’m just happy we got through it and should be good until after Christmas. Did I mention she wears holes in her flats? I have no idea how!

  6. I’m really confused why your child needed 96 pencils on their school list? Are they supplying their whole class with 3 pencils each? That is a crap ton of pencils! (My daughter just started kingergarten so I’m baffled by a whole lot of this back to school stuff. It’s WAY different than in my day)

      1. They must be doing a TON of writing because that’s a new pencil every 2 days for the entire year! Or maybe they are using them as chopsticks for lunch? Or for an art project?

        When my kids have something on the list that I think is crazy I always wait and check with the teacher to see if they really need it. Or if they need a crazy amount I buy the crazy amount (because they are way cheaper now than they will be the rest of the year), but then send in what I think is a reasonable amount (like 12 pencils or 6 glue sticks instead of 48) and my kids know that if they run out we have more at home. I’m sure that makes me the most annoying parent in the classroom, but it helps me hate the school supply list a little less.

  7. I did my school shopping last month, like, right when they started putting school stuff out. This is my first year shopping for school supplies for my child and I loathed the thought of going into stores with other parents trying to find the same things my child needs. Too much stress. If I can get things out of the way as soon as possible, I’ll do it!

  8. sooo many funny things in this post that I can totally relate to 🙂 Thanks for the tip! I stopped back to school shopping (i say “stopped”, but I only have one kid in school going in to second grade 🙂 when I saw how crazed it was and now go shopping in October. I have issues with crowds, noise, blaring/screaming advertising…pretty much everything that is sensory overload 🙂

  9. My daughter was working on her collection of cut up paper bits yesterday. She’s storing them in zip top bags sealed, not with the zip part, but with ponytail holders.

    Good times.


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