It’s not just teenagers anymore – kids of all ages seem to be brand conscious and aware of the current clothing styles and trends. How do you survive back to school shopping without breaking the bank? Here are nine places where you can purchase the brand name clothes your kids want to wear – for pennies!
Before you start shopping, keep your expectations in check. You may or may not be successful. In fact, you will probably walk away empty handed more times than you will score the item you want. You have to be on the lookout all of the time and be open to purchasing gently used clothing items. In the end, is it worth it? That’s between you, your child, and your wallet.
1. Who is in your line?
Look no further than to your Mommy friends. Who has the kids who are about 2-3 sizes bigger AND who has the kids who are 2-3 sizes smaller than your kids? Hand-me-downs are awesome (AND FREE) as long as they are in good shape. Receive from one mom. Give to another. Karma makes the world a better place.
2. Neighborhood resources
Most neighborhoods have some kind of email list serve, online community forum, FB group or the like. These are great places to find gently used clothing and purge your outgrown items.
From one single item to entire bags of clothing, freecycle.org is made up of people who want to get rid of their unwanted items… for free. Be sure to check your forum once or twice a day as clothing items tend to go quickly. Most freecycle traders will leave their items on the porch, since you do not need to meet in person to exchange money. (Always practice common sense and safety when exchanging items with a complete stranger!)
The beauty of eBay? You can search on EXACTLY what you want, and see pictures of the condition of the item. You will either bid on an item or “buy it now.” Our eBay store is having a huge back to school sale with many designer brand items – including designer jeans like 7 for all mankind, Lucky Brand, Abercrombie & Fitch, Paige, and Citizens of Humanity – all at affordable prices.
Similar to freecycle but having to pay for the items, be sure to practice safe trading. Meet in a public place, tell someone where you are going and who you are meeting. (Always practice common sense and safety when exchanging items with a complete stranger!)
6. Yard Sales
We are fortunate to live in a community which hosts yard sales almost year-round. Check your local community email list-serves, or newspapers to find ones close to you. Negotiate!
7. Thrift Stores
Not all thrift stores are charity based, but they will all offer pre-loved items at decent prices. Especially around back to school time, you may need to scour the racks a few times a week, but there are always some hidden gems in our thrift store.
8. Consignment Stores
Consignment stores may charge a little more than the first seven options, but they will also give you an opportunity to sell back and consign some of your out-grown items as well.
9. Work it off.
When I was a teenager, I wanted the brand names. My parents paid for my clothing necessities on their JC Penney budget. Any designer items I wanted above and beyond, I had to work (babysit) and earn my own money to pay for the difference. Awesome life lesson, and win-win for everyone.
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What about you? How do you handle back to school shopping?
Love, hugs, and a penny saved is a penny earned.