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How to Save Money on Back-to-School Clothes

Updated on July 12, 2014

Every July parents begin shopping for their children's new school clothes but in today's economy, parents may not have as much money to spend as they did in the past. There are a few ways that can alleviate the stress of shopping with limit amount of money.

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Thrift Stores

Many people donate their gently used clothes to a variety of charities. Most charities in turn have a store in which they sell the used items to raise money to help needy families. Many times you will find clothes that look brand new and sometimes even find brand name clothes such as Gap, Hollister, Baby Phat, Abercrombie, Ralph Lauren, along with many others. Although used, you can buy clothes for a fraction of the cost of buying brand new. Most people won't know the difference.

Consignment Shops

Consignment shops are a great way to find gently used clothes at a price that won't break the bank. You could even take in clothes that no longer fit your children to have the shop sale. If you items sale, you will receive a percentage. The percentage varies from shop to shop. Many times you can use your earnings there as a shop credit to purchase clothing. Some parents like this idea because during back to school time they may not have to spend any money at all.

Yard Sales

Yard sales are another great way to save money on back to school clothes. Many times you find clothes cheaper than thrift stores or consignment shops. Most people choose to place outgrown clothing in their yard sales before donating to charity. Many times they are just trying to reduce the clutter therefore you generally can find clothing for $1.00 or less.

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Freecycle.org

The purpose to Freecycle.org is to eliminate sending items that still have use to the local dump. You can place a free ad for wanted items and if anyone has it, they will respond. People can also list items that they no longer need where people who want them can pick them up. The great thing about this group is it isn't just clothing. You can find exercise equipment, furniture, electronics, and much more. The main rule with this group is everything must be free and free is always good.

Clothing Swaps

Some parents have started clothing swap circles. This could be as simple as friends with different age children who pass down out grown clothes to each other. There are a few ways you can start your own swap groups if there aren't any that you know of locally. It may take some advance planning, but once planned each year back to school clothing swap will be a breeze.

First idea is to talk with other parents in the school or your church. Organize a list of parents with children's ages and sizes. Perhaps decide who will pass down outgrown clothes to whom or just create a master list and when parents have outgrown clothes they can call parents from the list to see if they want the clothes. If not, go to the next parent on the list.

Another idea is to create swap meets. First you need to find a venue to hold them. You can use the list previously suggested to rotate holding them at parents' houses. Of course you could also look to see if your local library has a meeting room you can reserve to hold the swap.

You can run the swap a variety of ways. One idea is trading one item for another. Another way is to just lay out the clothes and everyone take only what they need. If there is a problem with fairness, perhaps have the parents draw numbers on who will go first and limit one outfit per turn.

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Clothing Sales

Clothing sales are great. There are several "back-to-school" sales that occur right before school starts. However, many of these sales are deceiving. Stores may mark up items and put them on "sale"; still selling them at the intended price. Shopping for back to school clothes may take some advanced planning outside the back to school season in order to really save and pinch pennies.

When fall and winter approaches, many stores must make room for fall and winter apparel. So they tend to mark down summer clothes incredibly low to make room for the new items. For some stores, it is more expensive to send the out of season items back to the distributor so they will mark them down so low just to get rid of them.

Same goes for when spring and summer approaches. This is the time to buy items for the following season. If you are shopping for children, try to buy clothes and shoes in the next size up to allow for growth.

Ebay

You will be amazed at how much money you can actually save by shopping through Ebay. Again, this may take some advanced planning due to shipping. Although many times you can find great deals shipped within the United States, sometimes the best money savers is when you order items from China, Japan, or other countries overseas.

Keep in mind that if you order from a seller overseas, that chances are the sizing is different. Learn what you can about the difference in sizing before you order. For example, clothing from China tend to be 2-3 sizes smaller than USA sizes and clothing from, say Egypt, tend to be a size larger than USA sizes.

Etsy

Etsy.com has grown since its inception. You can find a large variety of handmade clothing, without sacrificing quality. Many moms enjoy buying children's clothing from other moms. There are many options and clothing items available for teens and college students as well.

Sammydress

If you are looking to save money on your teen's wardrobe this year or you are a college student looking to update your wardrobe, consider checking out Sammydress.com. There is even a small section for the younger kids as well. These items do come from overseas but are a fraction of the cost of buying them within the United States. In fact, Sammydress boasts wholesale prices without having to buy in bulk. The shipping charges are reasonable as well.

Nomorerack

Nomorerack.com probably isn't the first stop on the list for getting back-to-school clothes. However, sometimes you can find some good deals listed here. There isn't much of a kids' section so this may be a good place to look for teens and college students. They typically have pretty good deals on clothing accessories and the shipping is only $2 per item.


As you can see, sometimes advanced planning is required to save money on back to school clothes, but it will be well worth it. Although some of the clothes are used, it will still be new to you and your child. Wearing used clothes actually helps the environment as well. It will be less items at the local dump therefore reducing your local carbon footprint.

© 2014 L Sarhan

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