This season, the average family will end up spending more than $670 on all of the supplies, clothing and other items needed for sending their kid(s) back to school.
You may already know how to save on school supplies, but what can you do to save on kids’ clothes? Here are some easy tips to help you get the most from your school clothing budget.
1. Shop At Home
Before you head out, take a look at your child’s closet and drawers. Have him or her try those clothes on to see if they still fit or not. You might find that shorts and tees will work for a while, however, the tennis shoes may be completely worn out.
Make a list of what you need, including sizes, so you know what to buy. There is nothing worse than picking up a pair of jeans only to realize you got the wrong size.
If your child doesn’t need any new clothes, you might be able to put off shopping for a month or so, which may help your budget. This free back-to-school shopping list provides some ideas, just print it out.
2. Shop Thrift Stores
Sometimes you can find amazing items at secondhand (thrift) stores, especially if you need something for only a few months.
3. Stay Home
You can find online coupon codes to help you save on your purchase. If you are lucky enough, you may even score free shipping. It can also be great to order items for your kids to try on at home. If they do not fit, you can return them to your local store instead of mailing them back (just check return policies beforehand). This way, you can get in and out very quickly. I’m all about spending as little time in a store as possible (which helps me avoid impulse buys).
4. Put Your Phone to Work
There are many great apps you can download to help you find coupons and discounts. One of my favorites is CouponSherpa. They have retail coupons you can pull up right at the checkout. The cashier will scan your phone, and you can save without having to clip a thing before leaving home.
5. Shop the Sales Tax Holiday
Many states offer a sale’s tax holiday to help reduce the financial burden on families. We pay nearly 9% for sales tax where I live, so that can add up to significant savings when we shop over that weekend. You can find out if your state is participating by reviewing the 2016 Tax Free Holiday Shopping Schedule here.
6. Swap Clothing
Find friends with kids who might be a size larger or smaller than yours, and host a clothing swap. You can ask each person to bring no more than 10 to 12 items. Then you can start taking turns and “shop” what one another brings to the party. You’ll get rid of clothes that don’t fit, and can go home with some that do! You can donate the leftover articles to a thrift store or charity.
7. Learn to Layer
Just because you have a short-sleeved shirt doesn’t mean you can’t wear it in winter. Add a long-sleeved tee underneath, and you’ve got something new for fall and winter. It’s a simple way to extend the life of any kid’s favorite shirt.
8. Hit the Clearance Sales
Believe it or not, you can find clearance deals on shorts and tees, which is what your kids will wear in fall anyway. This is a great way to pick up a few items to start off the school year and gives you time to view discounts and deals on other items they may need later on.
9. Shop Off-Season
You might not be able to do this right now, but when you shop ahead for the next season, you can save. For example, winter items are always put on clearance in January (which never makes any sense to me). If you can find jeans, coats or other items, pick them up one or two sizes larger for your kids and hold onto them for the following winter.
10. Keep Your Budget in Check
Your kids might want the $150 sneakers, but if your budget is set at $50, stick to it. You need to make sure you don’t overspend. (You can see how your spending habits are affecting your credit by viewing a credit report card for free each month on Credit.com.) If your child wants something at a higher price than what you are willing to pay, you can always let them cover the difference. They might just learn they don’t want the item as much as they thought.
What tips do you have for saving on back-to-school clothes? Let us know in the comments.
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Image: Sasa Dinic