Back To School - Which pricey items are worth your buck?

4 min read
Back To School - Which pricey items are worth your buck?

My take is that Back to School deals come second to none other than the Black Friday sale. Every brand and shop, even the grocery stores advertise products for this event. So while making a list and budgeting your expenditure, you must be eyeing all the discounts and offers on school supplies. So let us talk about a few items which you shouldn’t decide solely based on price or the size of the discount.


Every major departmental store comes out with a range of backpacks for an attractive and unbeatable $10 price tag. Not only are they a steal but also come in styles and patterns that your kids will love. Like any other parent, we took the bait and bought one for our son. But we soon realized the following issues - poor quality material and zip, it had only two pockets, there was hardly any space for the lunch bag and water bottle. We then visited all the stores selling backpacks and concluded that even at a discount, we should purchase a backpack for not less than $20.

A few things to consider while making the choice are:

  • Multiple pockets and ample room to comfortably house the lunch bag, a binder, and library books.
  • Mesh side pockets for easy access to the water bottle.
  • Zippers and flaps should be kid-friendly.
  • Good material preferably water repellant if your child sees a lot of rain or snow on the way to and back from school.

We are currently using a backpack by the Crocodile Creek brand and it is in good enough condition for me to save it for our younger son. This year we are planning to go for Herschel or Jansport.


Last year, we bought two pairs of running shoes for our son from Walmart. One pair, which served as the indoor shoes at school lasted the year. But the one for outdoors did not. We then bought a pair of shoes of a popular brand (Nike) being sold at a discounted price from one of the shoe stores. They beautifully outlived the wear subjected by our very active six-year-old. He is also one of those kids who likes to drag his feet unless told not to. So based on our experience, we would like to recommend buying branded footwear for your child at a discount as they will give you more mileage.

A few things to consider while making the choice are:

  • Good soles as these will determine the longevity of the pair.
  • Sturdy heels that would support the back of the foot.
  • Shoelaces or velcro straps depending on the stage your child is at in tackling shoes.
  • Soft cushioning for comfort for long-duration use.
  • A material that can be easily washed and maintained.

Luckily, if you keep an eye out you might find a perfect pair by Addidas, Saucony, or Puma at a bargain at one of the stores like The Shoe Company, Sportscheck, or Winners. that will outlast your child. For our toddler, we found a pair from Oshkosh that seems to be perfect first running shoe after buying about three not so great different pairs from Gap and Old Navy. His needs as a toddler are very different from that of our school goer, hence there is more room for trial and error.


If you too live in a region where sub-zero temperatures last for months, then you will need three types of jackets for your child. A raincoat for the spring season and few rainy days in between. These come in bright colors and making sure the hood is a little bigger than your child’s head is a winner. The one we are currently using is from H&M. A light warm jacket for fall and a heavy jacket for the winter. I find that buying jackets a year in advance at the passing of the season, like getting a winter jacket in the spring sale for the next size, could save you nearly half the printed price. The winter heavy jacket usually is the priciest item in my son’s wardrobe as it is always from a good brand and one with sound reviews on the store’s website. Since it would be very difficult for him to explain if he was too cold while playing outdoors due to his communication challenges, we have to rely on customer feedback.

Do consider these while making the choice are:

  • Hood with removable faux fur is an often overlooked fact. Being able to take the faux fur off before laundry ensures that the jacket continues to look and feel as new.
  • The fleece-lined interior of the jacket is pivotal in giving that cozy warm feeling we wish to wrap our kids with during the harsh winters.
  • Jackets with insulated pockets are great as they provide a warm place to shelter their tiny hands. Believe me, they lose and misplace their mittens every other day and at least one of their hands needs a place to hide from the biting cold.
  • Water-resistant fabric is a must for battling the snow flurries.

Our preferred brands happen to be OshKosh, Columbia, Old Navy, and GAP for protection from the Canadian winters. Not only do they last well but are excellent hand-me-downs.

There are so many items in our school year list like snow boots, snow pants, uniforms, that are not covered in this article. I chose the three most expensive items in my son’s wardrobe for this discussion. I am advocating for the choice of reputed (and expensive) brands over the relatively affordable ones as they are worth our buck.


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