According to the National Retail Federation, the average family with children in grades K through 12th will spend almost $700 on back-to-school apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics.
Previously, I shared 8 tips to save money on school supplies, and now I'm going to share some of my favorite tips for saving money on back-to-school clothing.
Determine a Budget
Before you step foot in the mall (or online shopping), decide what your budget for back-to-school clothing will be. Be sure to include shoes and accessories in your budget. Then, plan your shopping and stick to the budget.
Take Inventory and Create a List
First have your child try on all their existing clothing so you can see what they can still wear. Then, create a list of items that you'll need to buy for school (as well as sizes) and check off items as you buy them so you don't accidentally buy too much.
Also, if your school has a clothing policy, make sure you are familiar with the limitations before you go shopping.
Shop Consignment or Thrift Stores
Check out your local consignment or thrift store first to see if you can find any items at used prices. Sometimes you'll even find an item with the tags still attached! Consignment stores tend to be selective about their clothing, so that might be the best choice for an older child that may be resistant to buying used.
You can also trade in clothing that your child has outgrown for credit to help you save even more.
Buy the Basics
If you stick to basic, classic pieces of clothing you can mix and match them into multiple outfits. Basic pieces include jeans, sold color bottoms in neutral colors, sport shorts, and more. Pair the basic pieces with some fun items to create cute outfits.
However, you might allow your child one name-brand splurge items that they feel like they “need”.
Shop the Sales
Each weekend, check the sales flyers in your local paper for the best deals at your favorite stores. You can also sign up for the e-mail newsletters for your favorite stores to get sent coupons and sales announcements.
If you plan to shop online (my favorite), you can check my coupon database for online coupon codes and online sales.
Shop the Clearance/Sale Racks
The first place I check in my favorite stores is the clearance and sale racks in the back of the store. You'll have to hunt harder to find something you love, but it can worth it for the savings. Of course, don't buy something just because it's a good deal – your child is going to have to want to wear it too!
Shop During Tax-Free Days
If your state has a tax-free shopping day for back-to-school clothing, you might want to consider shopping during that weekend to save tax on your purchase. In Texas, sales tax is 8.25%, so I’d automatically save 8.25% right off the bat. However, be aware that everyone else will also be shopping during those days, so stock may get short and the stores will be busy. Last year, I shopped as early as I could on the first tax-free day for the best selection.