How I Kept My Sanity for Back-to-School with Teens?

Can I get a WOOT WOOT to all the Mother’s with teens (especially girls)…this blog's specifically for you!

As a mother of three young women, 24, 17 and 16, it can get quite emotionally atomic in the house.  (Insert prayer for the hubster here please).  Honestly, between the hormones, high school drama, activities and the dollar bills coming out of your wallet like an old leaky faucet - nerves are always on high alert. 

But you wanna know what the most stressful part of the year for me is (or should I say was)? Age 12 and July rolled along for Back-to-School prep.  UGH! That first year I was in tears after it was all over.  I promise you not of joy seeing my girls growing up so fast before my eyes and definitely not of sadness.  It was sheer frustration leaking out of my face!  Between the loud, dark, creepy, over-perfumed, over-priced, inappropriate scraps of clothing in every store and the fact, we could not agree on any one item.  I wanted to run out of the mall with my arms flailing over top my head screaming!  For the first time in my life I wanted to go back to changing diapers and late night breastfeeding.  (I KNOW RIGHT?!?!? CRAY CRAY).  That was then…

Now, I have to say each year has gotten easier.  Not perfect but peaceful.  Here are a few things I do starting in July to keep my sanity and budget in-line:

RESEARCH:  Since they are always on the phone.  I have them start saving and sending me pictures of outfits they like from their favorite stores.  And make sure they have following in mind:

  1. Where can I purchase?

  2. Have I shopped there before?

  3. Do the clothes fit well?

  4. How much does it cost?

  5. Can I find a similar item for less?

P.S.  This includes shoes and hairstyles for a fresh new back-to-school-cut.  Make sure you schedule that appointment at least two weeks before the first day of school.  In case there are any “nuclear meltdowns" with color or cut.

BUDGET:  I’ve always set a line item in the budget for “Back-School” beginning in July.  I also make sure my daughters know the dollar limit.  Listen carefully…There is no room for busting the budget in the Walter home.  (I’m prior military, so I’m pretty “militant” about sticking to budgets!).  Here are a few things I do pertaining to budget:

DISCLAIMER:  We are a no credit household.  We have committed as a family to follow the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps ® and follow a monthly budget
  1. SET ONE: make it reasonable, fair and stick to it!

  2. PAY CASH: Yes you heard me.  We take the whole amount out of the ATM/Bank and hand my daughters the money.  When the money runs out – the shopping is finished.  I know sounds cruel but it will help your precious babies learn “real” life.  Trust me when they start spending their own money, spending a portion of their rent money on a pair of shoes is unacceptable!  This not only provides self control but a healthy relationship with money.  Studies show swiping that card (even if it’s a debit card) makes it easier to bust a budget because most people don’t pay attention.  It does something to your brain when you see those dollars leaving your wallet for good.

  3. LET THEM HANDLE THE MONEY:  I did this for the first time last year and will definitely be doing it again!  When it was all over, there was satisfaction on both sides.  My daughters felt satisfied with their purchases, empowered and responsible.  I was relieved that I was not wasting $100 for a pair of jeans they were never going to wear.  Oh and the satisfaction after witnessing the agony on their faces at the cash register saying good-bye to those Jacksons and Benjamins leaving their wallets.  PRICELESS!!!

I think that last one is my favorite. Confession…I chuckled on the inside because it’s how we as adults feel working so hard and not getting any appreciation for it. Am I right?  You know what I'm talking about, “can I have?” “Can I do?” with such privilege and no regard for “How much?”  After this experience, I noticed a change of heart.  Now, they look for ways to contribute before they ask for money.  They have babysat kids and pets, walked dogs and looked for ways to volunteer before they ask for money.  My girls now preface asking for money with, “mom/dad, I have X amount from doing ____ can you help me with the “rest” of the balance for _____?”

Let’s face it, having kids is the most sacrificial, selfless and thankless job at times.  However, nothing will change the love you have for them.  Despite the growing pains, watching your kids learning their way through life has some anxiety of the unknown but can be full of expectation because of the limitless potential they have on the inside.

I hope I was able to provide some relief in navigating through Back-to-school. Remember to subscribe to my page to get the latest updates and deals.  Connect with me and let me know how this helped you.  Please comment, like and share with your friends.  You never know who will need it.

Stay Sewcial…Stay Inspired…

XO, Sebrina

P.S. don't forget your handy download to keep you on track!

If you want to learn more about Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps ® I discussed please visit