School girl shopping for school supplies

Frugal Shopping Tips for Back-to-School Clothes and Supplies

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Getting ready for the new school year can be exciting, but it can also be stressful, especially when you’re looking to keep costs down.

With kids needing new clothes, school supplies, and possibly even a new backpack, it’s easy to feel the pressure of back-to-school shopping.

But fear not! With a little planning and smart shopping, you can save a lot of money and still get everything your kids need.

Here are some helpful tips to make back-to-school shopping easier on your wallet. With these tips, you can confidently tackle back-to-school shopping, ensuring your kids have everything they need without straining your budget.

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School girl shopping for school supplies

General Tips

Start with a Budget

Creating a budget before shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies is important because it helps you keep track of your spending.

With a budget, you know exactly how much you have to spend and can avoid buying things you don’t really need.

By planning your spending, you can find the best deals and avoid surprises when it comes time to pay. You can get everything your kids need for school without spending too much and stay financially safe.

Make a List

It’s important to make a list before you shop because it helps you remember everything you need and stops you from buying extra stuff.

When you have a list, you can focus on getting only the items you wrote down, like pencils, notebooks, or specific clothes. Your list keeps you from being tempted to buy things you don’t really need, which saves money.

Having a list also makes shopping quicker and easier. You can check off each item as you find it, so you don’t forget anything important. It helps you stick to your budget and avoid spending too much on things you didn’t plan to buy.

Compare Prices

Comparing prices before shopping is important because it helps you find the best deals.

When you look at different stores or websites, you can see where items are cheaper, which can save you money and keep you within your budget. It also means you get more value for your money by buying the same items for less.

By knowing the prices ahead of time, you can make sure you are getting the best deal and not wasting money.

Use Layaway Plans

If you have a larger back-to-school list or a tight budget, consider using layaway plans. Layaway allows you to make smaller, more manageable payments for your purchases over time instead of paying everything all at once.

Layaway plans help you avoid financial stress and allow you to spread out the cost of buying school clothes and supplies. They also prevent impulse buying because you must make regular payments towards your purchases rather than paying in full upfront.

Shop with Cashback Apps

Another great way to save money on back-to-school shopping is by using cashback apps.

Cashback apps let you to earn money back on your purchases by scanning receipts or linking your debit/credit card.

Cashback apps like Rakuten, Ibotta, and Honey can help you get discounts, coupons, and cashback for items you are already planning to buy.

Plan for Next Year

Take advantage of post-back-to-school sales to stock up on supplies for the following year at discounted prices. It will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to pay full price for these things next year.

You can also plan ahead by creating a back-to-school budget and setting aside some money each month for future school shopping needs.

Back-to-School Clothes

Inventory Check

Before going shopping, take inventory of what you already have. We often tend to buy things we don’t need because we forget what we already have at home.

You can avoid buying duplicate items and save money on unnecessary purchases by taking inventory. You can also see if there are things that can be reused or repurposed for the new school year.

Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops

Buying brand-new clothes for the school year can get expensive, but there are other options that can help you save money. Consider looking into thrift stores and consignment shops for gently used clothing.

You can often find name-brand items at a fraction of the cost, allowing you to still dress your child in trendy clothes without breaking the bank. Plus, many thrift stores and consignment shops have sales or special deals throughout the year, so keep an eye out for those as well.

Shop Off-Season

Another way to save on back-to-school clothes is to shop off-season. It means buying winter clothing in the summer and summer clothing in the winter.

While this may require a bit of planning ahead, it can result in significant savings.

Retailers typically mark down seasonal items towards the end of each season to make room for new inventory. Take advantage of these sales and stock up for the next school year.

Focus on Versatile Pieces

When shopping for new clothes, try to focus on flexible pieces that can be mixed and matched because it will save you money and also give your child more outfit options with fewer items.

For example, a basic white t-shirt can be paired with jeans or a skirt, dressed up with a blazer, or layered under a sweater.

Versatile pieces also allow for more creativity and personal style in outfits.

Buy Basics in Bulk

For essentials like socks, underwear, and plain t-shirts, buying in bulk can reduce the per-item cost.

Look for multi-packs and deals when purchasing these items, as they will likely be cheaper in larger quantities.

Buying in bulk also means you won’t have to constantly replace these things throughout the school year, saving you time and money.

Consider Generic Brands

When it comes to school clothes, you don’t need to splurge on name-brand items. Consider purchasing generic or store-brand clothes for basics like t-shirts, socks, and jeans.

Generic brands are often just as durable as their more expensive counterparts but at a fraction of the cost. It’s worth trying out different brands to see if you can find comparable quality at a lower price.

Host a Clothing Swap

Organize a clothing swap with other parents at your child’s school or in your community. It’s a great way to get rid of clothes that no longer fit and exchange them for new-to-you items.

Not only will this save you money, but it’s also an eco-friendly option that promotes reuse and reduces waste. Plus, it can be a fun event for kids to socialize and try on different clothes together.

Utilize Coupons and Discount Codes

Before you go shopping, look for coupons and promo codes online. Websites like RetailMeNot and Honey can help find current discounts and promo codes for popular brands.

Also, be sure to sign up for email newsletters from your favorite stores. They often send out special discounts and offers to subscribers. Don’t be afraid to ask store employees if they have any current coupons or promotions available as well.

School Supplies

Shop Your Home

Before heading to the store, take a look around your house to see if you already have any school supplies that can be used.

You may find extra notebooks, pens, or markers hiding in a drawer and you’ll save money by not purchasing things you already have.

Buy in Bulk

Consider buying school supplies in bulk when possible. It’s a great option for items like pens, pencils, and paper that are used frequently throughout the school year.

Buying in bulk will ultimately save you money and also help reduce waste from using smaller packaging.

Dollar Stores

Don’t overlook dollar stores when shopping for school supplies. They often have a variety of items at unbeatable prices.

You may be surprised to find that they carry many of the same items as larger retailers but at a fraction of the cost.

Sales and Clearance Sections

Be sure to check out the sales and clearance sections of your favorite stores for discounted school supplies.

Items may be from previous seasons, but they are still functional and can save you money.

Avoid Trendy Items

While it may be tempting to buy the latest trendy school supplies, they often come with a higher price tag.

Stick to the basics and opt for functional items that will last throughout the school year.

Price Match

Many stores offer price match guarantees, meaning they’ll match their competitor’s lower price for the same item. Price matches are especially beneficial for larger purchases like backpacks or electronics.

Do some research and bring proof of the lower price when shopping. Some stores even offer additional discounts if you find a better deal elsewhere.

School Supply Swap

Consider organizing a school supply swap with friends, neighbors, or your child’s classmates. It’s a great way to exchange lightly used items that are still in good condition.

You can also set up a community swap event at a local park or community center to involve more people and make it a fun back-to-school tradition.

Final Thoughts

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. By being smart and strategic with your purchases, you can make back-to-school shopping affordable for your family.

Remember to plan ahead and be mindful of your budget and you can save money on school clothes and supplies while still getting everything your child needs for a successful school year.

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