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Saving Money on School Clothes

Kids want to look good and have the trendiest clothes for school. It can be hard to satisfy their needs with clothes being so expensive. This is a guide about saving money on school clothes.


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By 6 found this helpful
August 4, 2011

For back to school clothes, I have an extra dresser in my home office, each drawer (or two) with a particular size. I usually "inventory" at least 2 sizes in this dresser, sometimes 3. When I come across a SUPER Clearance Sale, I purchase clothing (clothes, underwear, pajamas) for my son in larger sizes for the following year, usually for cents on the dollar.

When summer/school season arrives, I inventory the clothes and then pick up items that he may require (usually not much, if at all). This method also comes in handy when a quick gift is needed. Brand new clothes, ready to be wrapped!

I've found that I spend less money purchasing brand new, name brand clothes than if I went to GoodWill and purchased second hand. I save anywhere from 60%-90% on my son's clothes every year by utilizing this method.


By Denise from Upstate NY

Comment Was this helpful? 6
August 4, 20110 found this helpful

I have to agree with you Denise. It takes some looking but usually you can find some terrific buys at the end of the season.

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By 6 found this helpful
October 25, 2011

We all know shopping at thrift stores is a great way to save money on things, but I have found that I save even more if I go in late in a season to look for clothes for the next season. I found my son's fall raincoat in the end of summer for under $2, and I noticed that in the middle of fall when it was rainy and chilly, coats that were very similar were priced at about $4-$5. Not a gigantic savings by itself, but save $2-$3 on just 8 items a year and you have $24 in your pocket.

I got all the items in the picture in late summer and it only cost me about $10 for all of them. I combined shopping in summer for fall stuff and a 50% off coupon for the thrift store. I still would have only paid $20 for all of those items, when at the mall, I would have probably only been able to buy one, maybe two of them for that price.

By Shannon from Lakewood, OH

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October 26, 20110 found this helpful

I have bought winter/rain clothes in the middle of summer heat for peanuts. One stylish vinyl raincoat was on the dollar rack & I landed a London Fog trench coat for under $10. Also, in the heat, I found duckshoe boots with leather tops for $7. They all will last me for years! It doesn't rain often here in S. Calif., but when it does, it's a torrent, so we have to be prepared! Also true of winter sweaters and such.

Summer clothes, conversely, are great deals when everyone else is shivering!

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August 8, 20082 found this helpful

It's back to school time again. Here are some tips and advice for saving money on school clothes.

Take Stock

Before school starts we take inventory on what clothes are needed before we even go shopping. Because we bought various shirts during the summer at garage sales and such for our son and his jeans all still (miraculously) fit him and are in good shape, we discovered that all he needed was a pair of shorts, some socks, underwear and new shoes for his ever-growing feet. I find that doing the same for school supplies (I keep a stockpile), lunch boxes and backpacks also helps us to save money.

By TxSavr

Crafty Ideas

My husband, mother and I all sew. So before school starts we collect materials and make my daughter various items we know she can wear and we don't care if they get dirty, torn or stained. We make biker shorts for under her dresses. Regular slip on shorts for the early fall and later summer days and we make skirts or dresses that can be mixed and matched.

I also take her old jeans and jackets add fabric paint and beadazzle the pockets, sides and bottoms to change the look from the previous year. You can add lace, buttons, patches and jewels to just about anything. I am fortunate to have another friend that has a girl my daughters size and we trade items from year to year so the girls wear something new and different (to them.) I also have a younger sister that is tiny and single so she gives us all her upbeat fashion clothes and I just take up the hem or tack the tops so they are age appropriate for my girl. Money saved. Fashion enhanced and good to go.


You can also put an ad in your local Craigslist, Pennysaver or other circulating paper/website and ask for clothes or offer a trade. Moms groups are great for finding deals too. =)

By Second time around

Thrift and Consignment Stores

I frequent thrift and consignment stores to keep an ever surveying eye on what comes in. Our proof that this works is my husband goes to work wearing carhart jeans and shirts, Levi's and other brand names for pants and shirts. Our son wears clothing in great shape and even brand names that we could never afford on our budget! Sometimes, as with yard sales, if you check in the more expensive places to live you may be amazed at what you find. I also shop for new clothing off season and find great deals, sometimes even cheapear than thrift or consignment prices!

By 3-4-T

Yard Sales

We also take inventory before school starts and get them sized up. I even tell the kids wear something you can slip right into at the store over your clothes you are wearing! I hate waiting for dressing rooms! If we are a yard sale I know they can slip them on and off, so my daughter wears her swimsuit and my son his shorts and it all works out!

But we do thrift stores and yard sales, we don't have many consignment shops in my part of Maine. but we do have some thrift stores, a couple that are not too high in price, otherwise we are always at a good yard sales.

By mainemom207

The Boy's Department in Cheaper

My children wore uniforms to school when they were small. Dark Blue/white shirt, khaki pants. You know the drill. Unless it was a skirt, I brought all the clothes in the boys department. It was 2-5 dollars cheaper. Nobody could tell the difference. Saved me a lot of money and headaches.

By Georgetta Ruth

Hand-Me-Downs, Birthdays, Clearance Sales and Ebay

Checking out thrift stores and yard sales is great advice! Even though this is going to be my son's first year at school (kindergarten), he's attended preschool part-time since he was a baby. Here are a few things I've always done to be frugal when it comes to his clothing: I hope some of these tips will help somebody else as much as they've helped me through the recent years! Good luck on a frugal start to the school year!

By evan's"mama"

RE: Saving Money On School Clothes

I love this one as I have always bought all these types of things on a year round basis rather than just when needed. I watch the sales! I buy when when items are on sale as opposed to just buying when needed. I also put $5.00 per week on the side to save for unexpected items.

By Denise

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August 11, 20080 found this helpful

i really love the t-shirt surgery ideas! There are many out there!here's the first one I came to : http://www.yout  ch?v=mC96UwfSdWY

& in the related videos are more!

One of my favorite DIY sites is THREADBANGER!

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By 1 found this helpful
August 1, 2011

We go through catalogs, ad flyers, and find the latest "styles". Then with favorite colors and sizes written down, we go to our local thrift store or goodwill. My kids love doing this, knowing they are helping mom save money, and it's fun!

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August 18, 20060 found this helpful

Back to School Clothes on a Budget

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Tips as suggested by our ThriftyFun community: My daughter has three children in school. She visited our local Goodwill Store, got 6 pair of boys jeans, 2 skirts, and 12 blouses for $100.


By 2 found this helpful
August 2, 2011

I'm a very big penny pincher; especially right now since we have only one person working full time. What I do is during the summer is go to garage sales, and discounted days at different thrift and consignment shops.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 11, 2008

We plan an all day trip to Reading, PA to shop at the Vanity Fair Outlets on a weekday or a Saturday. It is a beautiful scenic trip. We make a list of all the clothing, shoes, sneakers, and school needs, etc. and spend most of the day there. We'll eat there and shop.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 11, 2012

I have moved to a very small town that only has a central school, butcher shop, supermarket, pub, garage, oval, hall, caravan park, police station, and small doctor's building and a river just outside it. The nearest town is 40 km away and that only has a park, corner shop, op shop, farming gear place, the court house, and hospital. It is 4 hours to Adelade.

I am moving to get away from my ex husband and the kids love it, but where am I meant to get their clothes, when the only place nearby is the op shop? Is it wrong to get clothes that other people have worn and maybe even died in? I have never shopped at an op shop, only discount shops. I don't know what to do. I don't want my kids to get picked on at school for wearing dead people's clothes, pass me downs, or stuff that is too big or went out of fashion like 2 years ago. However, I don't want them to have to wear the same thing everyday. What do I do? Please help they're starting school in two weeks.

By mc4lifes from Sydney, NSW

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June 11, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Not sure where you are but sounds like you are not in America, said with a smile. Here in America, people thrift shop like crazy. Nobody thinks a thing having second-hand clothes and shoes, etc. In fact it is a way to own designer clothes and purses and shoes at a fraction of the cost.

My favorite shoes are Eccos, which are $130 plus shoes new, but I bought my pair (not apparently worn, either) for $6 in a thrift store. I dread the day they wear out and I am serious! My kids wore second hand clothes and clothes that I made.

My daughter's Brownie Leader asked me once where I got all the cute clothes she worn and I smiled and told her "yard sales, thrift stores, etc". She was amazed and it was a testament to the fact that you can dress well with second hand clothes. Now I don't know about these "op" shops, but anyway, I would say not to worry about "dead people's clothes"...because when you wear leather shoes or clothes you are wearing something definitely dead and besides you don't know the clothes are for certain from dead people.

You have plenty of other major things to worry about being a single than to worry about them wearing 2nd hand clothes. You / they, don't have to tell a soul where they came from, anyway! I never bought anything junky, old, too big or too little, etc. One other thing, you will be teaching your kids about economy, bargain-shopping and living humbly (so to speak). By humble, I mean, all the rest of their lives they will know that they can do whatever it takes to survive and thrive!

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June 11, 20120 found this helpful

Thrift stores are great. You can also buy clothes online. My sister lives in rural Alaska (not even a gas station) and she has to get everything - including groceries - online. often has free shipping, even to rural areas.

You can also ask other parents in town where they get their kids clothes. You may find that the Op shop is the the most popular place to shop. "Fashion" is generally a lot more laid back in rural areas.

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June 11, 20120 found this helpful

Kids' clothes in charity shops are usually just ones the children have outgrown, and usually aren't too old or damaged. Do you have eBay in Australia? There are lots of clothes available to buy new or win at auction used.

A lot of parents put their children's clothes that they've outgrown up for auction hoping to earn a little cash, and you can find some good bargains. If your kids feel funny about wearing hand-me-downs you could make a game about it, having them pick clothes they like and watching the auction to see if they've won. You will want a PayPal account though to buy on eBay.

Otherwise, is there a chance some relative could buy clothes for you and send them in the post? If they know your kids' sizes and what they might like they could pick up a few outfits for you. And since you're in a new town no one would know if they wore any last year's clothes that still fit.

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June 11, 20120 found this helpful

Edit: You don't need a PayPal account on eBay if you're only buying, you can pay with a credit or debit card. If you wanted to sell though you'd want to register. The coffee hasn't kicked in yet! :-)

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June 13, 20120 found this helpful

"Dead people's clothes"...what? Do you seriously think children drop dead left and right, and their garments are taken to second-hand stores? No sarcasm intended, I'm just honestly concerned that your mind would come up with something so bizarre. It's one thing to worry about getting athlete's foot from second-hand shoes (my aunt did once), but dead people?

Anyway...if you live that far from a major city, the other people in your town no doubt wear used clothing from that shop, as well. Your kids know what's cool and what's not, so let them choose their clothes and develop their own style. :)

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