8 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Clothing

Clothing is one of biggest expenses we have to budget for as we prepare to send our kids back to school. Between how fast our kids grow and how they wear out their clothes playing, by the time they start a new school year they often need a whole new wardrobe! Luckily you don’t have to break your budget, you just need some creative tips like these.

1. Take an Inventory
Before you go shopping, go into your child’s closets and drawers and have them try on their clothes to see if they still fit or not. You might see that those tees and shorts will work for a while so you don’t have to purchase more. Also make a list of what you need and include the sizes, so you don’t but something you don’t need, or the wrong size of an item!

2. Set a Budget
I always recommend having a budget when you shop, so you know exactly how much you have to spend and you don’t ever overspend. Before you head out to the stores, figure out what you can afford to spend on back-to-school clothing and make sure your child knows that amount too. Make a commitment that you won’t deviate from your budget no how much pleading your child does. Setting a budget will not only help you shop stress-free, it will a good lesson in saving and spending money and will help them make better choices.

3. Update Their Wardrobe
A pair of pants that became too short but still fit around the waist can be made into shorts or Capri pants. Give old jeans a makeover by sewing patches on them. Give new life to t-shirts by using iron-on decals or making it into a fun tie-dye project with your kids.

4. Wait to Shop
Do most of your back-to-school shopping a month or two after school starts. This is when the stores place the latest fashions on their clearance racks.

5. Buy Secondhand
Check thrift stores, consignment stores and yard sales. I have found great deals on items, especially when I only needed something for a few months.

6. Have a Clothing Swap
Gather friends who have kids in the same age group and do a swap. You can ask each person to bring no more than 10 to 12 items. Everyone takes turns and “shop” from the items that each person brought. This way, you get rid of clothing that no longer fits and take home with some that do. Remember to have snacks and drinks for your guests to enjoy.

7. Trade in Last Year's Clothes
Instead of throwing clothes away, try trading them in. Online sites like ThredUp, Once Upon a Child and Plato’s Closet will take your gently-used clothing in exchange for cash or store credits.

8. Check Coupons and Sales
Before you head out to the stores, I recommend you googling coupons and rewards programs. This will help you maximize the amount you’ve budgeted. One of my favorite online sites to save money is Ebates. Other sites you can use for coupons is RetailMeNot and CouponSherpa. You can also check out daily deal sites like Groupon.

9. Profit from the Old
If you have clothing that’s still in good condition, sell them and use the profits to buy new clothing. You can sell them at eBay, Craigslist, yard sale or consignment store.

10. Shop Year-Round
Look for good clothing deals year-round, during off-peak times. You can catch great sales at the end of the season, for example, buy winter clothing in April and buy summer clothing in September. Stores usually clear out their inventory during these months to make room for the upcoming seasons.

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