Back-to-school shopping was always such a special time for my mom and I, after a busy summer we’d peruse Gurnee Mills while grabbing shoes, a few outfits and lunch. As an overwhelmed mom with kids still in strollers, I’ve grown accustomed to grabbing a few bits here and there for wardrobes when we do grocery shopping. Setting aside a special day full of bargain hunting at Gurnee Mills was just what we needed to round out the summer and not break the budget. With entertainment options and delicious food, a full day was not only doable, but fun! Gurnee Mills invited us to takeover their Instagram tomorrow, Friday, August 18! Take a peek here, and follow us on Gurnee Mills’ Instagram tomorrow to see the awesome options at the mall!
List of Needs (and a few wants)
Before we headed out, I took inventory of what we had and needed for the year. I sorted clothes into styles (t-shirt, long sleeve shirts, shorts, pants) and sizes, tried on items that I felt were getting too small and made a list of what we really needed to be sure we weren’t buying items that wouldn’t be used.
We always need pants because of rough recess play and shirts for my little guy who thinks that napkins aren’t important. I filled a few donation bags with items we couldn’t use anymore to make space for our new purchases. We wrote up a list of needs — with a few “wish” items as well and were off to the mall with a few stores in mind. I knew I’d find great deals at Gurnee Mills between the outlet stores and Back-to-School sales.
Setting a reasonable budget before we hit the Back-to-School shopping season is really important as well. School supplies, shoes and clothes take up the majority of the budget, but they are also items we simply need. Back-to-school prices at Gurnee Mills made my $500 budget stretch a bit further than I had expected! I also took advantage of signing up for rewards programs saving me between 15-20% at Gymboree Outlet, OshKosh B’gosh, The Children’s Place Outlet, abercrombie Kids and Crazy 8. I also found coupons on Gurnee Mills’ website to use in store!
My kids aren’t stuck on any particular brands yet, but I knew that I wanted quality shoes that will last the whole year. I made the mistake last year of buying shoes where I buy my toilet paper and the soles ripped off before October. This year, I started looking online and chose a few name brand shoes that I was surprised to find at Shoeprint, Journeys Kidz and Skechers Outlet for much lower prices! Converse were $34.99 online and only $17.99 at Shoeprint!
As we were shopping, my seven-year-old found a few full price dresses she fell in love with. Although dresses were on her need list, we skipped those items and found other, less expensive dresses at The Children’s Place Outlet. The mall has so many retailers, you’re sure to find just the right item at a killer price.
Take Breaks for Food and Entertainment
There is no denying that Gurnee Mills has the best set up for quick entertainment in the area. During our shopping day, we swung through the LEGO Store to build, play and stretch our legs, Build-A-Bear Workshop where there were $10 friends to snuggle and the Disney Outlet which had great backpacks and lunch bags at reasonable prices, the kids also enjoyed loving on some stuffed animals and adding to their Christmas Wish Lists. We grabbed an early dinner at Chicago Woodfire Pizza Co. which was a beautiful atmosphere including quick service and delicious food!
Stores you may see featured tomorrow:
- abercrombie Kids
- Build-A-Bear Workshop
- Chicago Woodfire Pizza Co.
- The Children’s Place Outlet
- Crazy 8
- Disney Outlet
- Gymboree Outlet
- Journeys Kidz
- LEGO Store
- OshKosh B’gosh
- Skechers Outlet
Be sure to follow Gurnee Mill’s Instagram account to see our outfits, shoes, and entertainment that can be found this Back-to-School season!
But wait! Gurnee Mills is giving one lucky reader a $200 gift card to make their back-to-school shopping even better! Head over to our Facebook page and comment on the Gurnee Mills picture for a chance to win. But do it quickly, the giveaway ends on Friday August 18 at 8:00 p.m.
Disclosure: we received a $500 gift card to use at Gurnee Mills A Simon Center in order to produce images for an Instagram takeover and this story. All thoughts and opinions are the writer’s own. No purchase necessary for gift card giveaway, comments must be left on the Facebook page and winner must respond in 24 hours or a new winner will be chosen.