Top 10 Money Saving Tips for Back-to-School Fashion

Published Friday, August 26, 2011 1:31 PM

Don't let the back-to-school buying season empty your wallet. Score the best deals for outfitting your students with our top ten tips.

1.             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.

2.             Collective, Bargaining: 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!

3.             Get Sales Savvy: Scour fliers and ads for back-to-school sales and be ready to jump on promos like 2-for-1 shoes and jeans.

4.             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 comparison shop.

5.             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 underclothes.

6.             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.

7.             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.

8.             Kiddie Contributions: 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.

9.             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.

10.          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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