Parents can spend hundreds of dollars each year preparing one child for school with clothes and other supplies they need. Back-to-school shopping can be overwhelming, especially if you have more than one child. These costs can be cut in half with a back-to-school savings strategy and proactive wardrobe recycling. Follow our tips to create your plan:
- Budget: Keep track of what you spend each year so you can look back at this information to challenge yourself to find more bargains the next year. Set a budget this way for the following year. Sign up for email alerts to receive coupons or information on sales from different stores.
- Take inventory: Take a day to have your children try on all of their clothing to see what still fits. Create a spreadsheet with columns for each item of clothing, how many they already have of each item, and how many need to be purchased.
- Stick to the basics: When creating a list from your inventory, add staple items and some basic, low-cost t-shirts and long-sleeved shirts in a variety of colors. Try to purchase clothing that can be used in a variety of ways like a dress for the warmer months that can be worn with leggings and a sweater/cardigan in the colder months.
- Buy in bulk: Purchasing classroom supplies in bulk is another way you might save some dollars on back-to-school shopping. You can let items such as paper, pens and markers roll into the next school year if you have some left over. Buying snacks for lunches in bulk might also help you save dollars.
- Clothing swap: Hold a clothing swap with friends who have children similar in age. Set a minimum amount of items in good condition that each person has to bring.
- Garage sales: Stop at garage sales and thrift stores throughout the year. You’ll be surprised at what you can find in good condition for cheap! Garage sales are also good places to find dorm room items if you have a child going to college.
Purchasing children’s clothing and supplies for school without creating a plan first can quickly add up and there’s a chance you’ll buy things that aren’t needed. Stick to a budget that works for you after evaluating everything you already have. Have a fun and safe school year!