Why is it that kids seem to grow faster than our budgets?
It’s not hard to spend a lot of money on clothes for school. Just visit any shopping mall and you’ll see what I mean.
Of course, being a cheapskate, I’ve learned that it’s not that hard to save a lot of money shopping for school clothes, either!
Do an inventory. Make a list of everything your kids have (and will wear) that still fits and is in decent condition. This will help you figure out what things your kids will need. Don’t forget things like shoes, jackets, and clothing for sports.
Set a budget. There’s still enough time to plan ahead for back-to-school clothes shopping. Set a budget and divide that by the number of weeks until school. Then save that dollar amount each week. With a little planning (and a lot of scrounging), you should be able to get away with shopping without plastic.
Build around one new outfit. Unless your child has had a massive growth spurt over the summer, you probably won’t need to replace the entire wardrobe. Buy one new outfit so that your child can feel special on the first day of school, and then you can always pick up more clothing in the fall clearance sales and during the holidays.
Buy the best quality you can afford. Even though it may cost you a bit more money, buying quality shoes, socks, and underwear can really save you money over the long run.
Hold a clothing swap. Get the friends’ kids together and host a clothing swap. Your kids get new clothes without spending a dime.
Give a new look to clothes you already have. Wise Bread has some great no-sew ways to update your wardrobe that don’t cost a lot of money.
Shop thrift stores and consignment shops. Chances are if the items have made it to a secondhand shop and still look great, they are built to last. These shops are great places to find deals on jeans, sweaters and tops – especially if your teen loves the retro look.
Shop all year round. File this away for next year: Shop the end-of-the-season sales all year round and save 50 to 75% off the retail price. Then store them until the next school year starts. You’ll be able to “shop” for school clothes from your stockpile.
Keep your eyes open for online deals and coupons. Places like Groupon sometimes offer great deals at popular retailers like Gap and Old Navy. Sign up for newsletters to your favorite stores to receive advanced notices of sales and get special high value coupons.
Stick to the classics. The trendiest clothes have the shortest shelf life – and the least value for your buck. Stick to classic colors and styles so that you can mix and match all year round. Sticking to classic colors is especially helpful when shopping for winter clothing.
Make your kid do the work. Consider giving your older children a clothing allowance and teach them some money-saving tricks. You may be surprised at how quickly your child figures out the value of a buck.
Wait until after school starts to shop. Retailers will start to drop prices a week or so after school starts in order to start making room for Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations. This can be a great time to fill in a few gaps in your child’s wardrobe.
With these tips, you can send your child to school knowing that they look stylish without costing you a fortune.
What ways do you save on back-to-school clothes shopping?
photo credit: Sylvie Bouchard – Fotolia.com