Back to school shopping can get very pricey, especially when it comes to buying new clothes. There’s more to saving money on school clothing than just shopping the sales, though.
The following 8 tips will help you save money and stay within your budget throughout the school year.
1. Do a Clothes Inventory
Know what you already have before you go shopping. Check to see what fits and what doesn’t. Check for clothing that is ripped or stained. If they still fit, those can become “play” clothes. See how many pairs of pants and shirts you have, determine how many you feel your child will need and make a list of what’s needed.
Figure out ways to up-cycle what you have that fits. If the pants from an outfit fits, but not the shirt, then find a new shirt to go with the pants. Or just turn an old pair of jeans into something that looks new by adding patches or sequins. Just be creative to make those old fashions new again.
3. Shop Off Season
At the end of each season the current styles go on sale to make room for the next season’s look. If you plan ahead, shopping for clothing at the end of each season usually means big discounts. However, timing is everything. You must catch these sales in the beginning or you may not find the styles and sizes you’re looking for.
4. Visit Discount Stores
Goodwill stores and thrift stores are great places to shop for vintage clothing. Many teenagers are into that these days. Instead of buying nouveau vintage at high prices from fashion stores, buy the real thing for a fraction of the cost at discount outlets. Many people donate clothing that they have never worn. Even if you get a $200 blouse for $20 from the thrift store, you have come out way ahead.
Consignment shops are another great place to shop. Here you can sell them your clothing that the kids can no longer wear to make extra money to shop for more clothing this season. Check with local consignment shops to see what types of clothing they accept for payment.
5. Give Kids a Limit
There is nothing wrong with setting limits. When the kids were younger they probably accepted what you bought them. Their input was appreciated but you still had the final decision. Now that they are a bit older, they can have a dollar amount tied to their wardrobe where they can make the decision to buy what they want within that limit.
For teens who have jobs, set a limit for them too. Standard clothing like underclothing, socks and uniforms if needed for gym class or sports will likely be your responsibility, but name brand items are on them since they are making an income. In fact, the chance to buy their clothing could be a motivation for getting a job in the first place.
6. Clothing swaps
Clothing swaps are a great way to get rid of some clutter and to get new and exciting clothes into your child’s wardrobe. Just because your child is tired of his or her same old fashions doesn’t mean someone else will be too. And your child might find a new look for herself by taking someone else’s unwanted wardrobe. This is a huge money savings since you’re spending NOTHING
You can find just about everything on eBay including back-to-school clothing. For higher-priced items, like sneakers and jeans, bid in auctions or shop in the marketplace. You may be able to get a sweeter deal on them here than in an athletic store. Look around for sellers with high reputations and good feedback.
8. Shop for the basics
Pants and shirts you must have, but you might not need that cardigan sweater. So get the basics, but add an extra stylish and trendy item or two to help put some flair in your child’s wardrobe.
All in all it’s very important that you remember to avoid impulse buys. Getting what you need and nothing more when you shop for back to school clothes is essential to saving money. So take your time to get to know what you have and then shop around to fill in what you need.