Summer is well on its way and soon the kids are going to be back on the bus and off for a good seven hours of education each day. Some areas start earlier than others (I think we are among the latest start in Chicago – after Labor Day), but your back to school clothes shopping should start now. Your kids can’t possibly be seen in many of the same clothes that they wore last year (according to them) and there are handfuls of items that they’ve likely grown out of. Worry not! Here are some tips for where you can go find back to school outfits on a budget so that you don’t break the bank.
Amazon – This is an obvious choice since they have such a huge selection at awesome prices all year round. You can find a wide variety of brands in a wide variety of sizes on Amazon. This is especially helpful when you find that the brick and mortar stores have already moved on to the next season. So go be super mom or super dad and do some online shopping with your kids while wearing your pajamas! The only drawback is that clothes bought online may not fit right, so be sure to check the sizing guides on most of the clothes’ listing pages. They also allow for returns.
Walmart and Target – Classic store options with great deals. Pay attention to the basics at these stores. Solid color bottoms, fun tops, socks, underwear and anything else that you don’t really need to spend a ton of money on. What’s better, you can order online and pick up your order in the store. Save on your time and your money!
Ross, TJ Maxx or Marshall’s – These are great stores! If you have one near you and you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend them. You can find designer items for a fraction of the cost at these stores. Some people have their preference between the three, but they all bring the same kinds of savings and variety. You can shop both in-stores and online at your convenience. Each is a step up from thrift shops because you do have to hunt, but these clothes aren’t secondhand. They’re just overstock.
Kohl’s – Don’t count out Kohl’s. Almost no department store is matched in their back to school deals. If you go at the right time, usually towards the end of August, you can find upwards of 30% off clothing. Plus, you can receive Kohl’s Cash (which gives you savings later) and additional savings online. What’s more, at many locations, they can offer an additional discount if you ask for it. At some registers, they have little scratch off papers that look like lottery tickets. These can get you anywhere from 10%-30% off ON TOP of whatever deals you found! It’s a shot in the dark (you won’t know until you’re standing there), but it can’t hurt to ask!
The Children’s Place – This is one of my absolute favorite stores to shop for the younger kids. They only carry up to a size 16 for children, but while you can shop there, you can get amazing savings. They always have clothing on sale and free shipping on all orders. Watch the sales every couple of days and shop as you see them. With the free shipping option, you can order in small batches as you see sales on what you need. Have it delivered to your home, have your child try everything on, and return whatever doesn’t fit in-store with your receipt (or ship it back).
Thrift Stores – Second hand stores can be some of the best places to find back to school outfits. They have tons of sizes, tons of styles and lots of things that you won’t find anywhere else. Sometimes there is a stigma that comes with clothes from thrift stores, but I think it’s time that gets squashed. You can easily find clothes that are in great shape at half the price all over the country. Just be sure to wash before you wear them and you’re good to go! When I was a teenager, I preferred to do almost all of my shopping at thrift stores. Cool hats, great hoodies and flannels, fun skirts to wear with my Doc Martens… am I dating myself?
Garage Sales – You can’t go wrong scouring garage sales during the summer. We have had a garage sale every year for the last seventeen years and we sell clothing that is in great condition. Many people are looking for new homes for their new and gently used items and are hoping to make a couple of dollars in return. Look for clothing with tags still on or clothing that is clearly in great condition that a child probably grew out of. Don’t forget to read more about how to get your best bargains at garage sales.
Hand-Me-Downs – Do you have friends or family members who have children a few years older than yours? Tell them that you would love any hand-me-downs that they can provide! Everyone with children knows that kids grow out of their clothes quickly and whether you plan to donate, sell or give the clothes away, the goal is to get the items out of your house. Let those people know that you would love to be the recipient and then hand your gently used clothes down to someone else.
Where is your favorite store or method for back to school clothes shopping? I’d love to hear your input!