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Prime Days Are Upon Us

This year, in my endeavor to be ahead of the game when it comes to back-to-school shopping, I’m using the power of Amazon Prime Day to set myself up for success. The mega-retailer scheduled this year’s shopping event on July 16th-17th for Amazon Prime members to shop and save. Online shopping can be overwhelming, with so many choices and the lack of tactile connection to truly know if the item you are viewing, rather than holding, will serve your needs. Here are a few tactics for getting the best deal with the least amount of anguish.

First, are you an Amazon Prime member? If not, these deals will not be available to you. Second, even though I have the Amazon app on my phone, I make it a rule never to check out from my phone. Sure, I’ll load up my cart via the app, but I only purchase from my laptop. It’s a check and balance I’ve set up for myself to not go overboard on ordering. I highly recommend reviewing your cart and proceeding to checkout from a computer or laptop rather than a phone or tablet.

If your school sends out a supply list, that can be your starting checklist. If not, Amazon has “Back to School” categories to search and help you organize your list. They are broken down by “School Supplies” with subsections of “Writing Essentials,” “Notebooks & Folders,” and “Accessories.” A section for “Backpacks” is broken up into preschool, elementary, middle, and high school. Next are “Lunch Essentials,” then “Electronics,” and categories for “Fashion,” “Personal Care,” and “Sports & Activities”. You can also shop by grade from Pre-K to Grades 9-12. So, if you’re not sure where to start on back-to-school, these groupings can help you get going.

These categories are geared toward the under-18 crowd. If you have college-bound folks you’re shopping for, it gets a bit tricky in terms of having them make their own choices while making sure they are prepared. Part of me wants to advise that you have them be responsible for their own list, then give them a budget and have them go shopping either online or in person for themselves. But my 9-to-5 job is on a college campus, so I’ve seen firsthand how dumb smart students can be. You know your kid and how much guidance or oversight they need. Whatever your level of management, have them make their own selections and be aware of costs.

For school-aged kiddos, you’ll also want their input. They’ll want a say in the color and design of their backpack, lunchbox, etc. You can also work with them on the list of supplies and clothes. Sit at the laptop together to browse the Amazon. This year, I want to see if I can start teaching my littles about reusing some of last year’s gear and talk about when you truly need replacements or new things. We’ll see how that one goes.

However, I’m not going to let a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old have total access to my Amazon account to click willfully. Instead, I’ve been creating individual shopping lists for them and adding choices to narrow the selection. When July 16th hits, we’ll go online together; they can review their lists and add to the cart. I don’t expect Prime Days to fulfill all our back-to-school needs, especially for younger children who keep growing. Most of the clothing and shoe shopping will have to be in person closer to the start of school. But I hope to get at least their bookbags, lunchboxes, and art supplies from Amazon, along with a few fun things like the first-day-of-school chalkboards and bejeweled headbands.

Prime days are a great source for teachers to pick up classroom supplies and decorations. Welcome back banners, 50 packs of pencils, 30 packs of glue sticks, etc., are all available. For those with little-littles not yet in a school setting, there are skill-building sets to help teach numbers, letters, shapes, and colors. For those who are fans of 80’s comedy, Amazon has the DVD of Rodney Dangerfield’s movie “Back to School”. So, something for everyone with back-to-school themed shopping.

Prime Days also has fashion and beauty deals for grown-ups, so once you get the kids sorted, feel free to treat yourself to one or two wardrobe updates to see you through the summer. Amazon Prime Days end on July 17th at midnight PST, which is good news for us here in EST: we can shop into the wee hours for last-minute deals. Happy Prime!