Published on August 13th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor

4 Back-to-school Tips from an Experienced Shopper

As I write, I’m sitting here in shorts and sandals with a bottle of SPF 60 perched on the corner of my desk. My daughters are trying on clothes they haven’t worn in months to see what fits, and at my request, they’re making a pile of outgrown clothes that we’ll pass along to others. What is it about summer that makes kids grow so fast? The relaxed pace? Sleeping in? Lake water? Camp? Family vacations? I wish I knew!

Clearly, it’s not just school supplies we need to shop for this month. Running shoes, reusable water bottles, new lunch bags, backpacks, and jeans and sweats that actually extend to the ankle, are all on our list of back-to-school needs. What began as a list of a few basic school supplies has morphed into a list a mile long. I’m guessing it’s the same for many of you.

With years of experience under my belt, I no longer dread back-to-school shopping. In fact, we’ve found ways to make it easier and keep it fun. Here’s how we do it:

Make your list

…and check it twice (actually three times would be better)!

Identify what you can shop for online

Check out CAA’s eStore partners, enter your CAA Membership number, and enjoy discounts while earning CAA Dollars! There’s plenty to be said for shopping from home, while sitting in the backyard, or while lounging on the dock.  Even your kids will be impressed with the selection of CAA’s eStore Partners — mine were thrilled to see Roots, Forever 21, Sephora, SportChek, Aldo, Body Shop, Walmart, West49, Payless Shoesource and Dell among them.

Plan your shopping trip

Now that you’ve done your online shopping, review your list and take stock of what you still need to shop for. At our house, this is where we ask: where can we do most of our shopping under one roof? This usually marks our starting point, followed by lunch out (let the kids pick the restaurant – here are a few options CAA Members might enjoy) and an afternoon spent purchasing final items.

Make a weekend of it

Some families enjoy combining a weekend getaway with back-to-school shopping – a great idea! Have you visited the new Outlet Collection at Niagara yet? Your CAA Membership also entitles you to discounts at various hotels – so why not book one with a pool so the entire family can cool off and recharge with a dip after shopping – and don’t forget to take advantage of membership discounts at local attractions throughout Southern Ontario too.

A little advance preparation can go a long way to reducing the stress many families experience as they transition from summer to the back-to-school routine. Shopping now will free you up to enjoy the last summer evenings and weekends as they were meant to be spent – outdoors!

Learn more about CAA’s Benefits and Rewards programs – it’s all part of your membership.

About Catherine Cameron
Catherine is a senior communications professional and accomplished writer with a passion for fitness, health and wellness. Her informative and inspiring work has been published in many Canadian digital and print magazines and newspapers, as well as by Tweenhood, CBC, ParticipACTION, Sun Life Financial, and Sears Great Canadian Run. To learn more, visit her website at or follow Catherine on twitter @cate_cameron.

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