Frugal Parenting Tips for Sending the Kids Back to School
School will be starting up again before you know it. And with that comes a lot of added expense for budget-burdened families. But there are ways frugal moms can save on the cost of getting the kids ready to go back to school. Here are some ideas to help you begin.
Plan what you’ll need.
Look at every piece of clothing in your child’s closet to determine what still fits and is wearable. Eliminate what she can’t wear and make a list of what’s needed. Don’t forget shoes, socks, underwear, etc. when you’re planning and write down sizes to make it easier to shop when you’re alone.
Evaluate how much “new” is really needed.
While kids would try to coerce an entire “new” wardrobe out of Mom and Dad each year, many parents are coming to realize that just isn’t necessary. As long as the clothes your children wore to school last year still fit and are in wearable condition, it’s not a law that they have to have a completely new wardrobe. A few new pieces are a nice treat, but most parents wear their clothes for more than one year and no one says kids should be different.
Get an early start.
By watching your local sales papers, shopping garage sales and thrift or consignment shops and knowing what you need in advance, you can save considerably in outfitting your children for school. This will also give you time to get everything washed and ready to wear, and make any minor repairs you may need. Shopping for back to school things will cost, but you can minimize the damage to your family’s budget with preparation and planning, and a decent amount of leg work.
Ask the school for a supply list, if possible.
Many teachers or school secretaries can provide this early, if not, use one from the previous year to at least get started on the basics such as pens, pencils, rulers, etc. Some things you’ll be able to use from the previous year, but you’ll typically have to purchase some supplies. Often you can find excellent sales on school supplies by shopping early, so knowing what each child will need will be a tremendous help.
Swap with other frugal moms.
Read Save Money by Hosting a Swap and learn how to set up a kid’s clothing swap with friends and neighbors who have school age children. For the best results find families with kids both younger and older, or smaller and larger, as the case may be. That way you’ll all be able to share the clothing you have on hand while finding things to fit your own kids in return.
Check your local dollar stores.
Everything is a dollar stores always have great deals on school supplies and are usually the first place to look for such items. But know your prices! Sometimes you can find the same items in larger packages or better quality brands on sale somewhere else. Just stay alert to what the going prices are by watching sales papers and weekly ads.
Shop garage sales, consignment stores and thrift shops.
Good used kids clothes are a common commodity. The trick is to know what sizes you need before you go since you obviously won’ be able to t return what doesn’t fit. Be sure to check each item thoroughly for stains or damage before purchasing. And if you have a picky child, it’s best to take her along, especially if you’re concerned about something she may not wear.
Just as in shopping for your own clothes, you can save money by staying within a few basic colors, you can do the same for your children. Choose a few coordinating colors based on what they like best and search for a variety of pieces that can be mixed and matched. This will stretch your wardrobe budget and still provide your child with everything he needs to wear.
There are ways to send your kids to school without breaking the bank. Use your creativity and look for viable options that fit your family’s budget.