If you have children in school, back-to-school time usually means big bucks. In addition to supplies and books, you’ll likely spend some money on new clothing. This article highlights some money-saving tips for back-to-school clothes shopping.
Timing is everything
Don’t go clothes shopping right before school begins, because this is usually when prices are the highest. Depending on where you live, the weather will probably be warm when the school year begins, so kids can wear classroom-appropriate summer clothing when school first starts back up. Then go shopping after Labor Day, when most stores have big sales—often bigger and better than back-to-school sales. And when buying clothes for the next season, do your shopping at the end of the previous season. This method is ideal for staples, such as sweaters and basic t-shirts.
Be a frugal shopper
Large department stores frequently offer major savings coupons, such as $10 off a $25 transaction. Use these coupons in conjunction with store sales and clearance items (when possible, restrictions sometimes apply) for maximum savings. If you shop at the same store often, consider applying for a store credit card if they offer one. Store credit cards can provide certain benefits for frequent shoppers, such as special coupons and exclusive discounts and sale prices. Also, check online stores for your favorite shops, where you may discover the same clothes being sold in stores for less on their website. However, be sure to verify return policies, because shipping charges to return clothing can add up. (Some stores will allow you to return items ordered online in-store, making it easier than ever to take advantage of great deals online.)
Make each purchase really count
Purchase as many clothing items as possible that aren’t just exclusive to one season—for instance, a summer dress may be able to get extra use when the weather cools down with a light sweater and leggings. Mix-and-match separates are a great way to turn just one or two outfits into 10 outfits. Additionally, try to buy clothes with durability that will stand the test of the time and not easily fall apart. It may be a bit of an investment, but in the end will save you money because you won’t have to replace as many things.
Explore alternative shopping venues
The mall isn’t the only place to look for back-to-school clothing. You can score some big bargains by checking out garage sales, thrift stores, or online auctions. Even when shopping at the mall, be sure to explore those clearance racks that are often tucked away in the back of the store.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.