With back to school time right around the corner, you might be taking the first steps to determine your budget for the annual school clothes (and supplies) shopping extravaganza. Before the sales circulars arrive in the mail and your child begins to beg for the latest, greatest, must-have fashions, consider the following steps for ensuring that you’re staying within budget with your back to school needs:
Create (and Stick to!) a List
This tip applies to virtually all types of shopping trips–before you set foot out of the house, have a detailed list in your hand of everything you need to purchase while you’re out. This is a very effective tool when shopping with children because when those inevitable requests of “Can I have this? Can I have that?” come rolling in, you’ll be able to explain that it’s simply not on the list and won’t be purchased this time (this is also a great response for when the questioning turns to whiny renditions of “Whhhhyyyyy?!”). To take this idea one step further, involve your child in the creation of the list so you can easily remind him/her that you’ll only buy what’s written on it from the beginning.
Decide How Much You Can Spend
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people overlook the specifics when creating their back to school shopping budget. Take some time to actually assess your budget–do you have savings set aside for these purchases or will you have to take money out of the month’s income? Do you have enough to cover at least the basics (socks, underwear, uniforms)? Decide exactly how much you can spend and set that sum in stone.
Maximize Rewards and Discounts
Whenever you’re about to embark on a shopping trip, you should try to maximize any rewards, frequent buyer programs, and coupons. I like to do this by stacking rewards on top of flash sales, and I’ve been able to save plenty on clothes at stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Nordstrom Rack. Even if your coupons have expired, chances are you’ll be able to get the manager’s permission to still use them. I politely asked this once, and I received an additional 30% off!
Try Non-Retail Options
If you’re on a super tight budget this year or want to challenge yourself to save as much as possible, don’t forget that there are non-retail options you can utilize to fulfill your back to school needs. These include clothing swaps with family and friends, sites like Freecycle, and even community groups and garage sales. Especially if you’re shopping for young children who will grow out of the clothes quickly (or destroy them even faster), you shouldn’t feel obligated to spend a boatload on new clothes each and every year.
Stick to Only What’s Truly Needed
At the end of the day, your child doesn’t need to be dressed in the latest fashions in order to attend school and be a successful student. Work to instill good values in your child by modeling proper behavior about what’s really important at school: Attendance, grades, social interaction, and learning. Take the focus off the fashion and you may be pleasantly surprised with how your child begins to excel in school.
How do you save money on back to school clothes?
This post was written by Jen, a staff writer from The Happy Homeowner
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.