Ok, please don’t lynch me, but I had to buy practically nothing for my kid for back to school. Her old backpack, which lasted two years, was pretty beat up so she needed a new school bag. And she was due for a new pair of runners because her feet spurted up a size and a half over the summer, but that was pretty much it. A backpack and a pair of sneakers.
I watched as other people talked online about starting their back to school shopping at the end of July, or of how all the best deals were listed the first week of August. I watched as people debated thermos and binders and discussed the lists that the school sent them. My school didn’t send a list. They’ve never sent us anything in the mail. I’m not sure they know where I live. Ok, that’s not true. Technically I’m certain they know where I live because I did fill out a bazillion forms when my kid first started school, but they’ve yet to make practical use out of that information.
I was a tiny bit concerned. There were horror stories. People on Facebook talking about how hard it was to find everything on the school list, people talking about how it cost them upwards of $400 per kid. Maybe now that she was in Grade 2 my daughter would come home with “the list”. Maybe I too would need to go out and track down just the right coloured markers and duo-tangs. I had a sort of guilty feeling that I should be worrying about these things, as it sure looked like everyone else was.
We went out and picked up a backpack, and other then that I decided to just wait and see what the school sent home with her on the first day of school. The first day came and went, as well as the second, and there was nothing. No letter, no list, nothing. I quizzed my daughter, was she certain her teacher hadn’t given her anything? At the end of her third day back she came home with a Welcome to September Grade 2 news letter which said, “Our school provides all the school supplies needed for the year. The only thing you will need to send in is a pair of running shoes for your child to keep here at school for indoor and gym use and $2 to cover the cost of your child’s agenda.” Off. The. Hook. I was off the hook. Amazing. Wonderful. Stupendous.
So to celebrate we went shopping. Umm… that probably sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? But knowing I didn’t have anything else I would need to pick up I figured we could splurge on a little bit of new clothes and the kid did still need a pair of running shoes. So… off to the mall!
Last month I had discovered just how much I could be saving with my CAA membership card. I could seriously kick myself for the amount of cash back and CAA Dollars® earning opportunities I’ve passed over since first becoming a CAA Member. So having studied up on the list of CAA Rewards partners, I decided to head to Payless ShoeSource to check out their kids shoes selection, knowing that I would save 10% off of regularly priced merchandise by showing my CAA card.
|The kids shoe section at Payless.|
My mom and my sister were with us on this shopping trip. The little one and her super runny nose had stayed at home with Dad. After our visit to Payless we made a pitstop at Kernels, because I knew that by showing my CAA membership card we could get a large bag of popcorn for the price of a medium, giving us plenty of yummy Chicago style popcorn to share with everyone. Actually the large bag was huge, so we ended up with plenty of leftovers to take home to hubby.
|Stopping at Kernels to pick up a snack.|
Check out the size of that upgraded bag!
Technically at this point we could have headed home. We had sneakers, and bonus popcorn, that covered everything on my daughters “list”, but I had one more CAA Rewards partner I wanted to check out — Roots. We took a quick peek in the Roots store at the mall, but then we headed over to the outlet mall to visit the Roots outlet store which I knew from past experience has a much wider selection of kids clothes. We hunted through the sales racks and tried on clothes. I was in the changing room with my daughter and she was absolutely giddy with excitement over trying on a blouse. That’s when it hit me, “This is the first time you’ve ever been in a changing room, isn’t it?” “Yes!”
|The kid was EXCITED. Check out that manic grin.|
We ended up grabbing two new shirts for my Grade 2 girl, my mom and my sister each bought a new hoodie. By grouping our purchases together we spent over $75, which means I could flash my CAA membership card and save $10.
|Saving at check out time with my CAA card.|
At that point I thought our back to school shopping was over. But then as I was helping my daughter get her lunch ready for school I noticed the zipper on her lunch sack had a bad tear along the seam. Oh-oh, I guess expecting to get a third year out of the same bag was a bit much. I had also noticed that there weren’t quite as many plastic lunch containers around as there were last year. I have no clue where they went off to, but some were definitely missing. Ok, we needed a lunch bag and some more Rubbermaid LunchBlox, and I didn’t really want to head back out to the mall.
|Shopping from home, and we’re done!|
So I took a look at the CAA Rewards eStore, and I noticed Walmart.ca was listed. As of say 4 weeks ago I didn’t even know Walmart had a website where you could shop from online, let alone that they offered 4% back in CAA Dollars. I took a look on their website and discovered that many of their “back to school” items were sold out online, but by hunting around for a bit (and calling in the 7 year old for her opinion) I was able to pick out a Batman lunch bag and a set of exactly just the Rubbermaid containers I was looking for. I knew we were running low on Tide, and I decided to add that to the order to save us another trip to the store. I was happy to discover that Walmart offers free shipping, with no minimum purchase required. Nice! Click. Order sent and done. Officially done. All of our back to school shopping completed.
I felt pretty good knowing we were all set for another year. We managed to save a little, at Payless and Walmart, indulge in a snack at Kernels, and splurge a little on some new clothes at Roots, all with the help of my CAA membership.
What about you folks? I was seriously surprised this year noticing how different the back to school requirements are in schools across Canada, heck even in schools within the same city. Does your school send home a list? Or do they provide the school supplies like ours does? Did you do a lot of back to school shopping or just a little? Did you manage to snag any great deals? (And did you remember to use your CAA card?)
If you want more information on how to become a CAA member check out their website HERE. And if you’re already a member, check out the CAA Rewards website to see the complete list of partners and eStores you can save with.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by CAA. As always my words and opinions are my own.