Something traumatic happened when we took our youngest son, Joshua, to West Point and suddenly, we were empty Joshua Plebe - Chapel July 14nesters. We stood proud as our third military-academy child walked out the double doors with his game-face on, and chin held high. Uncle Sam is now responsible for providing his back-to-school clothing. Unless you, too, have an Uncle that buys your child’s back to school clothing or they wear uniforms, you’re going to need to shop smart. The middle of the summer is the time to think Back to School because the sales start earlier and earlier every year.

 Remember that you don’t have to buy an entire semester’s worth of clothing in one shopping trip. Here are a few tips for you to save on clothing as we once again enter a new school year.

  1. Summer Vacation: The next time you head to the store, go to the sales racks first thing. It is wise to peruse the end-of-season sales to stock up for this season, and next season as well. Remember that some warmer weather clothing can be converted to accommodate the colder months. For instance, a tank top can be worn over a long sleeve shirt, and skirts can be worn with leggings. Some of the items sold year round that will be on sale now can be worn anytime. Look for items such as T-shirts and Polos. Check out overstock and even deals on Groupon.
  2. Get Extra Credit: If you want to save money on clothes, sign up to receive emails from  Zulily and Totsy. If you share your favorite deals via social media and people click through the links to make a purchase, you can receive credit to use on the items you need most. This can even result in free or nearly free clothes for your family.
  3. Do the Math: If you are shopping for clothing online, visit and sign up for a chance to earn cash back for purchases from thousands of retailers. It will also list discount codes, much like RetailMeNot for extra savings.
  4. Field Trip: Sell some of your children’s clothing to a consignment store and ask for store credit. Store credit is often more than they would give you in cash and generally speaking, consignment clothing stores sell branded articles that are excellent quality. If you are a fan of consignment stores, check out ThredUp . ThredUp is an online consignment store where you can buy and sell your favorite kids brands.
  5. Science Experiment: Don’t snub thrift store shopping. You can find many good quality and brand name used clothing at thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army. Some brands I have seen are Old Navy, Gap, Children’s Place, and Gymboree. Also don’t forget to check out stores like Tj Maxx, Ross, and Marshall’s for name-brand clothing at Wal-Mart prices.
  6. Share and Tell: Hold a clothing swap at your church, with friends or a mom’s group. Agree that clothes must be in good condition; no holes, stains or rips. You could even make it bigger and opt to trade toys and more!
  7. Arts and Crafts: Make something old something new again. Turn a pair of jeans that are “so last season” into something in style by adding patches and stitching, or even cutting them into shorts. Turn a dark solid T-shirt into a new top by using a bleach pen to draw designs on it. Check out all the different clothing tutorials on Pinterest for more great ideas.

What are some ways YOU save on back to school clothes?

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)


©2016-2020 Ellie Kay


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