Five Ways to Save on School Clothes


A new school is approaching fast. If your kids grow and develop as quickly as mine, then you probably need to shop for new school clothes.

This process, however, can be hard on a budget. Here are five tips to help you save money while shopping for your kids.

Find What Fits

Go through clothes with your children as summer winds down in order to see what clothes still fit. Keep in mind that warm weather lasts through the early fall, so t-shirts and shorts can still be worn even though school has started.

From experience with my own kids, I no longer have the free reign to shop without them. I have found that they rarely wear something that they feel doesn’t fit well. Once you go through their clothes together and figure out essentials they may need, go together to pick them out and try them on to make sure the clothes fit well.

Trade Up

Gather clothes together that your children no longer wear and organize a “trading party” with family and friends with kids of various ages. Have everyone bring their gently used clothing items that no longer fit their children, laying everything out in a room organized by gender and size. Then everyone can go through and choose the clothing that will work for their growing kids, and everyone gets some “new” clothes without spending a lot of money!

Focus on Essentials

Some clothes simply can’t be handed down or traded and need to be bought new, such as underwear, socks, shirts and shoes. Take this opportunity to go through your child’s supply of underwear and socks and determine if new ones need to be purchased right now.

In our household, I’ve also found that my oldest can wear nothing but “slim” sizes in pants and my youngest wears holes in many of his clothes. These idiosyncrasies direct how we shop for school clothes, and your family probably has its own special needs. Take these into consideration when deciding what to buy now versus what can wait a month or two.

Hit the Thrift Store

Even though my oldest can wear only “slim” sized pants, thrift stores are still a valuable place to look for school clothes. Many clothing items for sale in thrift stores are in good condition and can be purchased for considerably less than new clothes. Focus on pants, sweatshirts and coats for kids in stores like these to get the most value for your money.

Labor Day Sales

Once you’ve gone through local thrift stores and have taken inventory at home, you’ll have a good idea regarding what school clothes you’ll need to buy new. Take advantage of Labor Day or additional special “Back to School” sales to save even more money while preparing your kids to go back to school.