Simple Tips for More Affordable Back-to-School Shopping

back to school shopping

Just about three weeks from now my two oldest kids will be back in school. That means I’ll have one in kindergarten and one in third grade, and 2-year-old twins at home. Ask me if I’ve back to school shopped yet. No; no I have not. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did order the girls their back packs and lunch boxes two weeks ago when I received an email from Pottery Barn Kids letting me know that I would save 20% on my order that day if I ordered anything. I took advantage since we all know that the personalization for two back packs and two lunch boxes was $36 alone. That’s all I’ve got though.

I know some moms and dads like to shop early and pick up a few things here and there. I don’t like to do that because I can never remember what I’ve picked up, what I have left, what’s still on the list; probably because I don’t make a list. Anyway, I have too much on my plate to bother back-to-school shopping all summer long. My husband and I like to make a day of it with our big girls. We take them to Tampa or Orlando, we have brunch, we shop, we pick up everything on one day. It’s easier for me, and the girls love it.

However, I’m just like everyone else in that I know it’s not an inexpensive process to go back-to-school shopping. Kids are expensive in every manner possible, and it costs a lot of money to make them look good for the school year. Sadly, that doesn’t even include their actual school supplies, which always cost a few hundred additional dollars – and I’m always compelled to buy more than my kids’ need so that I can help out their teachers (it’s the curse of being the daughter of a teacher, the niece of a teacher, and the best friend of a teacher). On that note, I thought we might all need a few lessons on how to save money on back-to-school shopping this year.

Take Advantage of Annual Sales

So, if you have a Nordstrom card, you can start picking up adorable clothes and shoes for the kids at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It began last week and runs a few more weeks. Fear not, though; if you don’t have a Nordstrom card, you can shop the sale when it hits stores and online for the general public beginning July 22. It’s just one amazing example of how you can save money shopping for your kids’ school clothes.

Make A List

What do your kids really need? I am a huge fan of new dresses and tops, but I don’t bother much with new shorts or pants if they have a bunch that fit and are still in amazing condition. Jeans I only buy when they outgrow their former jeans. No matter how hard they try, they cannot destroy jeans. The same goes for leggings for under dresses. I’m not buying new leggings when they have dozens of pairs in their drawers that are clean, not faded, not stained and still fit. That might eliminate a little spending when you note that they don’t need new things of that nature.

Check School Policy

The first year our oldest daughter began school, we ended up spending a ton of money on things that she didn’t need. I think I bought her a half dozen pair of shoes, including some adorable Hunter Wellingtons for rainy days, only to find out she can only wear tennis shoes to school. They don’t allow sandals or boots – the kids cannot participate in physical education or recess with either. That was a deal-breaker for us, so we decided that we’d overspent on shoes. Check your kids’ policies and see what you can save on if it’s on a no-no list.

Shop Smart

I know that one day our kids will be older and want certain things, but while they are still young I shop inexpensively. For one, I still shop places like Old Navy and Gap for the kids. It’s well-made enough that it’s durable and cute, but it’s cheap in terms of price. The Nordstrom anniversary sale is another favorite of mine, and we even love Super Target. I also love TJ Maxx and Marshalls, and our local Dillards always has Under Armour clothes for P.E. and cheer practice and my son (even though he’s only two) on sale for next to nothing.

Back-to-school shopping isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t have to be more expensive than it needs to be, either. It is something we can save on when we put our minds to it, and it’s a good idea to just put a little bit of time and effort into the entire situation.

Photo by Getty Images


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