Showing posts with label Tips and Tricks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tips and Tricks. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

8 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid with Back to School Shopping

The idea to start this site was hatched as a Mom of a Kindergartner trying to figure out the what, where, & when of school shopping for a kid required to wear uniforms to school.  Since then, I've learned quite a bit about the brands, the retailers, and the trends.  Here is my list of Rookie Mistakes to Avoid for Back to School Shopping so you can avoid these errors and enjoy a stress free school shopping season.

Waiting Until Last Minute

The shopping season for school uniforms at major retailers begins at the beginning of July.  While that seems early, it's not.  If you try to wait until closer to the start of the school year, you will find that the styles and sizes are picked over, or worse, out of stock.  For the best selection, shop in July. More retailers carry school uniform clothing items at this time of year, even if they don't offer them year-round, which gives you more options.  At many retailers, I've seen the best prices of the season during July. The Uniform Mom Best Bets series recommends the target price that you can realistically expect to find quality uniform clothing items. During peak Back to School shopping season, you can find items at bargain basement prices at discount retailers and even the retailers known for the highest quality are known to discount their uniform items 40% or more.

Overlooking the Uniform Exchange Program

I bet your school has a uniform exchange program or uniform locker where you can get school uniform basics secondhand for a fraction of the retail cost, or even for free.  Ask the other Moms in the neighborhood or post a question on the school message board.  As fast as kids grow, you will be surprised to find quality items like new, or even some new with tags.  Be sure to check out Uniform Mom's tips for shopping uniform consignment events.  You can also check out the online consignment stores, such as  You won't find uniform items tagged or sorted easily, but filter down by brands, color and size to find options available.  

Failing to Know the Tax Free Holiday in your State

Many states offer break from sales tax for a weekend or even for a full week on items needed for school such as clothing, shoes and school supplies. According to the 2017 National Retail Federation's Annual Back to School Survey, families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average $687.72 each.  Shopping during this holiday can save you an extra few percent on your Back to School haul.  Each summer, Uniform Mom publishes a list of tax free holidays in each state.

Waiting until Fall to Shop for Long Sleeve Polo Tops

When it is the middle of July, it is easy to overlook the long sleeve polo shirts hanging on the back to school display.  However, long sleeve polos are harder to find the longer you wait in the school year. (you can read about my hunt for the long sleeve polo here). By October, the retailers that don't carry uniforms year round are running out certain colors and sizes. Just save yourself the headache, and pick up at least 2 long sleeve polos during the peak Back to School shopping season.

Buying School Shoes too Early

One year, I picked up a pair of Mary Janes early in the Back to School season.  When my daughter put them on for the first day of school, she had already outgrown them.  I sent her to school wearing her PE shoes instead while I had to scramble that day to return them and find her hew ones that fit. ( I'd recommend you plan to hit the show stores about 2 weeks before school starts. You need to take the kids with you so they can get a proper measurement for sizing.

Buying the Cheap Shoes

Once.  Only once did I get my daughter a pair of school shoes at a discount retailer.  Basically, they lasted a week and I was out shopping again.  Shoes are probably the most expensive item on your back to school shopping list (okay at least while they are young), but spend the extra money to buy a pair of school shoes made with leather uppers.  Most shoe stores recommend you buy kids new shoes in a half size larger than the child's actual shoe size.  If they are over due for a growth spurt, you may be able to go up a full size with thicker socks, as long as the shoes aren't sliding around on their heels.  Once you find a quality shoe, it should last until the end of the school year or until they outgrow them.

Forgetting the Basics and the Accessories

Because of all of the Back To School clothing sales, it is a great time to stock up on basics like new underwear, undershirts, or bras.  But don't forget that your child might also need a new belt, tights, undershorts, or hair accessories.

Failing to Subscribe to the Uniform Mom Report Card

Each week, Uniform Mom lists the latest sales and coupon codes on schools clothing at major uniform retailers in the US.  If you're not already a subscriber, sign up so you always know what's on sale at each retailer and have a coupon code handy.

Photo Credit: For really #Big #Mistakes ...  Nadia Santoya. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0.

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back to School Advice from WyzAnt

Affiliate Links in Use
Thanks for Supporting Uniform Mom is a website that lists thousands of tutors and private instructors in all academic subjects, musical instruments, foreign languages, computers, etc. Students come to WyzAnt to find local tutors by searching the listings, reviewing tutor profiles and communicating directly with the tutor. Sign up for a free account today!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Join me at the Lands' End Back to School Twitter Party

You're Invited!

What: Land's End Back to School Twitter Party

When: August 5, 2014 12-1 EDT

Hashtag: #FirstDayFaves 

Moderator: @NavyPlaid

Sponsor: @LandsEnd

About the party:
Lands' End has the same classic, high quality items that you know and love as well as many new items offered as the kids get ready to head back to school this year. Come chat about what's new in School Uniforms and learn what features to look for as you shop this season. Bring your questions:  I'll be online live along with several experts from Lands' End to answer your questions about Back to School shopping.

Follow along and join in the conversation by:

While its certainly not required, please RSVP below to let us know you're planning to attend and find others to follow. Click Add Your Link button.  Enter the information as shown below:

  1. Title: Enter your Twitter username
    such as @NavyPlaid
  2. URL: Enter the URL (including the http://) to your twitter profile
    such as
  3. Name: Enter your name here such as Uniform Mom.
    Note - this information will not display on the form.

(Image Source)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to School Shopping Tips with Lands' End

I had the pleasure of contributing Back to School Shopping Tips to Lands' End.  I will be working with them during this Back to School season as a Brand Ambassador.  The tips are featured on their Back to School Shopping page

The Uniform Mom Tip Sheet includes information on the following topics:
  • Preparing for Back to School Shopping
    -including ideas on how to stretch your budget with advice on when to shop and how to give back to your school while you shop.
  • Discover Back-to-School Wardrobe Essentials
    -classics like award-winning Iron Knee® Chinos, School Uniform Polos and items from the
    Lands’ End Phys Ed collection.
  • Answers to some Uniform Dress Code challenges
    -such as helping your uniform kid find ways to display his or her individualism, finding uniforms to fit kids that are tough to fit, and how to prepare for the non-uniform day.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

A few months ago, I came across a post by Jillie on How to Clean your Washing Machine. Huh? Yeah, I thought the same thing, but I clicked the link because I was intrigued.  I have a really old (she's a teenager) top loading washing machine.  I had been noticing what appeared to be clothing lint under the rim of the wash basin after each load. So I read Jillie's instructions and added bleach and vinegar to my shopping list for the weekend.

That weekend with my supplies in hand, I tried unsuccessfully to open the top of the agitator.  I was sure it came off because I had seem a repairmen do it previously, so I solicited assistance from my husband.  He got it off.


We found black mold growing inside there.  Yes, I was totally grossed out.  I've been washing my clothes in there. Ick! 

So I put on some cleaning gloves and wiped the mold and detergent buildup out the agitator.  I then followed her instructions by running a cycle with bleach then a cycle with vinegar. 

WOW, what a huge difference.  It looked and smelled like a new washing machine again.  This resolved the issue with the lint at the end of each load too.  

Jillie has some great household tips on her blog, One Good Thing. Here are links to her posts for top loaders as well as front loaders:
Think of all the good money you spend on clothing for you and the family.  I'd highly recommend you spend a few bucks for bleach and vinegar and give your washer a little TLC this weekend.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where is Your Child's Lunch Box?

Girl eating a peanut butter sandwich MP900422681
I recently came across a n article which shares tips for how to remove that funky smell from your child's lunch box.  Since the school year just ended, I thought it might be a good time to ask "Do you know where your child's lunch box is?"  If not, find it and clean it out and store it away for use again next fall.

If you find it on the floor in the hall closet with what appears to be a half eaten sandwich and a baggie of mush that might have been grapes at some point in the recent past, then you should check out Leah Dossey's Quick Tip of the Day post from her blog Code Red Hat - Survival Skills for the Modern Mom on How to De-Funk a Smelly Lunch Box.

Good Luck!

(photo used with permission from Microsoft)

Waste-Free Lunchware by