Back to school is finally in full swing, and everyone is excited to get all of their shopping accomplished. Last week, I gave some tips on how to thrift for back to school. This week, I wanted to share a few ways to accomplish back to school clothes shopping with kids, on a budget, when looking for new clothing.
Make a list
This may seem like a given, but parents tend to forget that making a list can keep costs way down and help you zero in on what is really needed for the upcoming school year. While you’re at it, make a list of summer items in your kids’ wardrobe that are in good condition, and can be transitioned into the fall. If these items can be used for the next few months, that will significantly cut down on your budget.
Shop for the next 4 months only
I see so many parents get overwhelmed with shopping for back to school because they are trying to buy as much as possible to last the whole year. This is a big mistake. Kids will outgrow the clothing that we buy for them; it’s a given. If you focus on the first half of school, you’ll save money. Plus, by December, you’ll see lots of sales on kids’ clothing again. You will also see deep discounts on summer and fall items, which can be purchased for spring.
Stick to staples and colors
Parents know exactly how staple pieces can extend the life of any wardrobe. This rings true for kids as well. Focus on dark jeans, sturdy shoes and sneakers, and shirts with solid colors. You can throw in a pattern or two to fit the personality of your kiddo (my son has a camo obsession), but stick with the basics whenever possible. Also, stay away from white clothing. White clothing and kids never mix.
Stockpile, stockpile, stockpile
When I took my son to The Children’s Place to stock up on t-shirts and shorts, we lucked out and encountered a $5 tee sale. I used this time to teach him about stockpiling clothing and the best way to get a great deal with a small amount of money. He had a $25 gift card he received for his birthday (and $10 from Mom) so we worked on getting his set up with just that amount. Because we took advantage of that sale, he’s now stocked up on tees for the fall, and to wear under his sweatshirts and sweaters in the winter.
Pass that list onto your kids
This may seem like a bad idea, but give your kids that list you created. Let them do the shopping. This will not only help them to create an independence when it comes to their wardrobe, but they will learn how to keep within a budget and look for great deals to stretch a buck. The younger they are, the more you will have to “guide” them while they shop, but this is a great way to encourage them to shop for themselves and stick with the amount of money that is allotted to them.
I hope these tips help you shop smartly this back-to-school season. If you have any extra tips, please feel free to share with us in the comments below. Happy shopping!