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Don't let August get you down. Get a jump on back-to-school shopping and be happy

Don't let August get you down. Get a jump on back-to-school shopping and be happy

August 07, 2007|By BRIGITTE GREWE

School is just around the corner and summer has flown by so fast. But it's already time to think about going back to school. Got your supplies yet? How about new clothes? Do you have money saved up to get all your school needs? How should you prepare yourself to tackle this coming year without too much fuss and without breaking your budget?

Once you get your supplies list from school, don't hesitate. Start checking things off the list by collecting items you already have lying around the house, like boxes of tissues, wet wipes, leftover spiral notebooks, even pens.

For the rest, you'll need to hit the stores. Soon. Brace yourself, because by now, they might be packed with raging mothers, perplexed dads, shrieking babies, kids and teens.

My sister, Sabine Grewe, made the mistake of going late to shop for school supplies for her kindergartner last year. "I had to go to at least four different stores to find everything on the list," she said. "Everything was out of stock and the stores were completely full of people."

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So run, don't walk, to buy your school supplies. (Note to self: Shop in the middle of July next year. That's when back-to-school savings catalogs and TV commercials come out, and stores are at their best for back-to-school shoppers.)

But if you have to go shopping now, consider these great back-to-school stores in Hagerstown and Frederick, Md.

· Target, 17213 Cole Road in Halfway

Tip: Look in Target catalogs for coupons and sale items. Also check online at www.target.com for back-to-school apparel.

· Wal-Mart, 17850 Garland Groh Blvd. in Hagerstown or 7400 Guilford Drive in Frederick.

Tip: Wal-Mart is always reducing prices so you're bound to get a great deal.

· Office Max, 17664 Garland Groh Blvd., Hagerstown; Office Depot, 1580 Wesel Blvd., Suite C, Hagerstown; Staples, 1631 Wesel Blvd., Hagerstown; or Staples, 1305 W. Seventh St., Frederick.

Tip: These office supply stores are a great place to find school supplies easily. But they do tend to be more expensive than most other stores. So check attentively for sales and coupons. Also look online for coupons.

· Circuit City, 17766 Garland Groh Blvd., Hagerstown.

Tip: Find all your electronic and computer needs here. Check Circuit City catalogs for coupons and savings

· Dollar Tree and Dollar General stores (several in Hagerstown).

Tip: Dollar stores always have great prices. You can find almost all your school supplies at a local dollar store.

As for clothes shopping, shop at wherever your favorite clothes store is. But once again, check the store's sales and clearances on their Web site or catalog. Also, when you shop, shop for the year. Disregard summer clothing, because hot weather only lasts one more month. Buy fall and winter clothes, and, sure, buy a few summery clothes, if you want. But not too many.

Think layers. Layers are in style now and it's a sensible fashion approach for the weather. Also, you can never predict what your school's inside temperature will be. My school's classrooms are insane. Social studies can be burning up, and then algebra might be freezing. So, wear zip-ups, hoodies and sweaters.

Go ahead and buy your winter coat. During the summer, winter coats will sometimes go on sale, especially online.

Organize

This year, try to keep organized. Get a planner. If your school provides one to students, use it. Keep track of important dates and homework deadlines. And pay attention when your teacher assigns it.

I know you will hear this from your teachers all the time: "Write your homework down" and blah blah blah. But it's true. Some teachers can and will zero you for not writing your homework down.

Also, have a place for everything and keep stock of your things. Toward the middle of the year, your supplies will run low. If you run out of say a pencil, get a new pencil. Teachers will get prickly if you keep borrowing stuff from them.

Review

Sometimes, during the summer, we will forget absolutely everything we learned last year. Then, upon starting the next year, it's a complete shock. So between now and the day school starts, review a few math problems, read a bit. Get your brain into gear again.

Relax

During the first week of school, things can be crazy. Of course, do what needs to be done, but, also, relax and take breaks. Hang out with some friends. It's like therapy.

And remember, it's a new school year, but you'll catch on.

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