Guest post by Jennifer of Spend Less, Shop More
It’s that time of year again – when kids are getting ready to go back to school, and when you’re trying to figure out how they outgrew all of their clothes at the exact same time.
Back to school shopping doesn’t have to be stressful and expensive, though. The trick is to streamline your clothes shopping with a little bit of advance planning.
Even an hour of prep time can save you big bucks in your budget – and also help avoid tense conversations with your kids in a mall dressing room.
Here are three simple ways to save on back to school shopping, even in stores that never offer coupons:
1. Create a prioritized shopping list with your kids.
Getting buy-in from your kids on which pieces are most important helps the whole family stick to a budget. For example, your teenager who really wants a new trendy pair of sneakers, might be completely cool with shopping for the rest of his or her school wardrobe at a thrift store.
You can also agree on individual dollar amounts with each child – with the understanding that if they come in under budget, they can use the extra money towards a favorite activity.
2. Cross-reference your list online.
I like sites like Plastic Jungle, which offers up to 25% off on mall stores fit for the whole family – think Old Navy, JCPenney, or Macy’s. Gift Card Granny is another great site. Once you have your gift cards in hand, you’ll be much less likely to veer off-track and impulse shop at another store.
3. On shopping day, have your kids wear their favorite (school-appropriate) outfit to the mall.
This is a tried and true tactic for cutting down on impulse buys that seem like a good deal but never actually get worn. If your child doesn’t like the new top, pants, or shoes as much as what they wore into the store, you know it’s not worth spending your cash on.
Remember, even clothes on clearance for 90% off aren’t a good deal if they just sit at the back of the closet all year!
These three easy steps help you take control of your money and time during back to school season, and can turn shopping into an enjoyable family activity!
How do you save on back-to-school shopping?
Jennifer King is a frugal shopper who loves to get something for nothing when at all possible. She blogs her latest finds at Spend Less, Shop More.