let the back-to-school buying season empty your wallet. Score the best deals for
outfitting your students with our top ten tips.
Need vs. Want: Use back-to-school
shopping as a chance to educate your kids about budgets. Explain that money
only goes so far and that "needs" (new sneakers and a winter coat) have to
trump "wants" such as designer jeans. Setting realistic expectations can help
derail impulse buys and prevent emotional melt-downs at the cash register.
Try group buying, a phenomenon where items don't have a fixed price, instead the
more people who opt in to buy, the lower the item price. Major group buying
site Groupon popularized the concept, but clothing retailers such as Uniqlo's
Lucky Counter offer their own version. Check out Google for additional clothing
brands. The more the merrier!
Get Sales Savvy: Scour fliers and
ads for back-to-school sales and be ready to jump on promos like 2-for-1 shoes
Go Kidless: Leaving the kids
at home can make it easier to stick to a list and avoid impulse buys. For items
where the kids need to weigh in, try online shopping which makes it easier to
Off-Brand: Steep savings can
be had by buying off-brand. If your fashionista protests, strike a balance by
offsetting pricey designer jeans with cheaper off-brand cotton tees and
Second Act: Resale shops such
as eBay or kids' consignment stores offer gently used clothing at a fraction of
the price of new. Teach your kids that buying second-hand saves money and is a
sound environmental choice.
Swap Meet: Arrange a clothing
swap with friends and relatives. Kids often outgrow their clothes before they
wear them out. Swapping is a great way to replace outgrown items for free.
Encourage older teens and college-aged kids to dip into their summer job money
to help with the costs of back-to-school clothes. For expensive, designer
items, agree to meet half way, with parents pitching in the cost of an
off-brand item and students making up the difference for the pricier option.
Shop Your Closet: Who says you need
all new? Take time to review the clothing in your children's current wardrobe.
Many items can transition into fall; just add bright tights and a fitted shrug,
and a sundress can be worn through a warm fall. Ditto for tees which can be layered
under cardigans or hoodies.
One's Still Fun: Often back-to-school
doesn't truly necessitate a major wardrobe overhaul, many items still fit from
last season unless there's been major growth spurt. Offer to buy one special
outfit to kick start the first day back and then encourage your kids to wear
what they own until sales drive prices down in the colder months.
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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.