The Definitive “DON'T Buy This” List for Back to School

…so Buy THIS, Instead!

Joe Fresh Back to School
Embrace the waning days of summer, when the air is still soft, and the pool remains open! But sure enough the fall is creeping in steadily; present in the cooling edges of the still-long days. Soon the streets will be full of buses and carpool minivans and not scooters and roving gangs of 11 year-old kids with ice cream money burning holes in their pockets. These are the back-to-school-days, and this year, you are so ready.

But is your wallet prepared? It can take a fairly substantial hit this time of year, and it’s not just money wasted when you buy the wrong items – there’s lost time, too. There are lots of things you don’t actually need, things you need less of, things you need way, way more of, and things that should be lit on fire and the ashes buried in a deep hole.

Let’s break this down, shall we?

Don’t Buy: Huge, heavy binder systems

Buy This Instead: Small individual binders 

Some of these massive binder systems weighs upwards of the average toddler. Plus, a heavy binder will take a beating faster because it needs to be crammed into backpacks against their bulky will. Buy several small subject binders or duo-tangs to cart around instead, or split the day into morning and afternoon and divide notes into two smaller sets. Add some file tabs and you’re set!


Don’t Buy: Complicated locker storage  

Buy This Instead: A simple magnetic mirror and some hooks

Ask yourself: Do you want your child to have a locker that’s fancier and better furnished than your first home, or do you want money to retire one day? We thought so. You’d need a second mortgage for all the fiddly storage options now available for lockers but give them the NOPE stamp. (Your kid will forgive you when Stacey’s plastic locker tower breaks into 1000 pieces by October.) Spend a few bucks on a mirror and some magnetic hooks if you must, but anything beyond that is all flash.

Don’t Buy: Designer jeans and pricey tops 

Buy This Instead: Mix and match, affordable separates that work well together or apart!  

Okay sure, you could spend $80 on a pair of jeans that are going to fit Mr. Grows-Like-a-Weed for all of 6 weeks, but why? It won’t win you points in any contest that matters and the money could be better spent on clothes that look just as fabulous, are just as fashionable, and just as durable. Joe Fresh has bold, colourful, fun separates for every kid in your household and at prices that hit the mark! From jeans and leggings to skirts and blouses and colourful graphic tees and active wear, Joe Fresh Back to School has the clothes your kids want – and you can shop in store or online. (Tip: Have your kids create their own shopping cart for you to review online and let them control their look.)

Don’t Buy: A bargain haircut

Buy This Instead: An as-good-as-you-afford haircut

Just trust me on this one. (Picture day comes quick, is what I’m saying.)

Don’t Buy: Expensive or Complicated Lunch Systems

Buy This Instead: Individual lunch containers and washable lunch bags        

I bought a $120 fancy-pants insulated bento-box style lunch system once. ONCE.
You know why? Because it was left on a field trip school bus before it was even cold enough outside to warrant packing a hot lunch. Save yourself the heartbreak and buy a drawer full of mix and match individual containers of various sizes and a decent thermos. Add a few cloth napkins and dedicated “school use only” utensils and you are now the smartest cookie in carpool.

Don’t Buy: A new pair of running shoes

Buy This Instead: TWO new pairs of running shoes

Yes, we mean it - TWO. Buy two pairs of shoes instead of one because it is 110% guaranteed that you’ll get a letter from school the first week saying that kids need an outdoor pair AND an indoor pair. Do this now, and save yourself the return trip to the shoe store where throngs of unprepared parents will be crying in the clearance sandal aisle.

Joe Fresh has all sort of great footwear for kids at prices that make two pairs totally doable, even for homes with a bunch of back-to-schoolers. And two pairs are actually cost effective, because each will wear longer when you rotate!

Don’t Buy: Expensive fall jackets

Buy This Instead: Lots of layers – hoodies, vests, light wear rain gear

Fall is unpredictable, and it is often as hot as summer. Don’t risk missing that window of opportunity where A and B coincide, wherein A = “kid the right size,” and B = “a coat appropriate for the weather.” That’s called Clothing Algebra and outerwear is the hardest branch of the mathematical department. Pair cozy Joe Fresh hoodies and vests and warm but light coats that will see you into “snow flies” season.

Bonus Buy! Stock up on lots and lots (and then more!) of socks and underwear 

Buy a metric tonne (or reasonable estimate) of socks and undies. It’ll help you cut down on laundry – and if you buy multiple pairs of each style of sock, you’ll never have a morning matching crisis again.
Now sit back and light a backyard bonfire to mark the end of vacation season and a return to the glorious routine of fall and school. Tip: Use your old, 100 bullet-point back to school shopping list as kindling fuel.