School is almost back in session and back-to-school expenses can really drain your finances if you aren’t careful and let them creep up on you.
Back-to-school outfits are probably one of the highest expenses you’ll have during this time of year if you’re a parent but it doesn’t have to be. I actually like back-to-school clothes shopping because I know my limits and always stick to a budget which should be your first step.
Once you have a clear idea of how much you can spend, I’d encourage you to utilize these 5 tips to help you save money on much-needed back-to-school outfits.
1. Shop Used
The first thing you want to do is consider your gently used options for clothing. I almost always head to Goodwill before a new school year starts to see what they have in my son’s size. Over the summer, I found 4 pairs of shorts for him and two shirts for a steal.
I’ve also found lots of designer and durable quality clothing at Goodwill which is why I think it’s a winning option for anyone who lives near a chain location.
You can also check out the Salvation Army or any other thrift store in your area that has clothes. ThredUp is an online consignment shop that sells quality used clothing for kids and adults and they’ll actually buy your gently-used clothing.
Don’t forget about garage sales either. You can find tops and bottoms for as cheap as $0.50 each. Also, ask around to see if any of your friends or family members are giving away old clothing.
They may be going through their child’s wardrobe and realize they can’t fit certain items anymore. That’s when you can catch them before they sell or donate the clothes.
Shopping used and accepting hand-me-downs is the best way to supplement your back-to-school clothes budget and add more items to your child’s wardrobe for cheap.
2. Take Advantage of Labor Day Sales
Depending on when your child goes back to school, you might want to wait around for Labor Day retail sales to do your school clothes shopping. Around here, the kids go back during the 2nd or 3rd week of August. Labor Day is always early in September and either just a few weeks into school or in some areas, kids don’t go back until after Labor Day.
Tons of retailers will be having sales in honor of Labor Day so it’s a great time to go out and do your back-to-school clothes shopping and score some discounts.
If your kids go back to school in August and the weather is still really nice, you can send them back in their summer clothes to wear for a few weeks, then pick up fall outfits during the Labor Day sale.
3. Shop Online
If you don’t want to deal with busy stores and traffic during the back-to-school season, consider doing most of your clothes shopping online this year. This could also help you cut your expenses and better stick to your budget.
Sometimes, retailers offer exclusive deals and coupons to online shoppers, plus, you can get free shipping if you reach the minimum order requirement. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can get free two-day shipping on clothing and other items. When shopping online, I’m always much more conscious of what I spend because I always keep an eye on my subtotal.
Plus, I can shop from the comfort of my own home and don’t have to worry about my son asking for the cool new pair of expensive light up shoes.
Don’t forget, you can also check out online consignment shops like ThredUp to stretch your budget as well. They have a lot of cute options for kids. When you sign up for ThredUp using my link, you’ll get $10 to spend in the online store so you can score a free outfit for your child when they go back to school.
4. Use Coupons
Using coupons is another great way to save on back-to-school outfits and make sure your child has the clothing they need but at a discounted price. You don’t have to be a big couponer either because this time of year only comes around once and you might as well saves as much as you can since you probably won’t have to shop for school clothes again for a while.
I know stores like MandM Direct, Target and Kohls always have coupons for back-to-school clothes. Target actually has their own app called Cartwheel which allows you to pull up current coupons and apply them to your purchases. You can also check out coupon sites like The Krazy Coupon Lady or Brad’s Deals to find coupons from your favorite retailers.
If you’re shopping online, I’d highly recommend using Ebates. It’s a free website that pays you cashback for the money you spend online on popular retailer’s sites and it also alerts you to coupon offers that you can apply to your purchases.
I use Ebates all the time and they pay me via PayPal quarterly with cashback from my online shopping. I also like how Ebates automatically lets me know if there’s a coupon offer or code I can use to apply to my purchase when I’m filling up my cart. To use Ebates, all you need to do is sign up and activate Ebates whenever you go to a website and start an online order.
You can check out my full review of Ebates here.
5. Shop At Warehouse/Bulk or Outlet Stores
My final tip to save money on back-to-school clothes is to shop at warehouse stores or outlet stores. Yes, I’m talking about stores like Sam’s Club and Costco alongside factory outlet stores too.
I used to work at a warehouse club store and I was always surprised to see how much affordable clothing they had. Most people came to the store for food items and the clothing section was often overlooked.
If you have a membership to a warehouse club store, I’d encourage you to check out their clothing section to see if you can find any deals for the back-to-school season because you may be missing out.
Also, factory outlet stores are not always the cheapest but they can offer some great deals on items like shoes. My son goes through shoes pretty fast either because his feet grows or because he’s just too rough on his shoes. That’s why I like purchasing a better brand that’s more durable when it comes to shoes.
I find that by going to factory outlet stores for Nike, Adidas, etc. I can save money on his shoes vs. going to a regular shopping center or our local mall.
What are your strategies for saving money on back-to-school clothes? Do you do any of these things?
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