It’s that time of the year again when parents have to think about their kids going back to school.
With the long list of things children need these days, it’s easy to worry about how to afford back-to-school clothes.
In this article, I’ve put together a list of ways you can use to can get some back-to-school clothes on a budget for your kids.
Let’s jump in!
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How to afford back-to-school clothes
Sell your used clothes for extra cash
Before you go shopping for back-to-school clothes, go dig in your kid’s closet first. Gather up all the old clothes that they’ve outgrown so you can sell them.
There are many places where you can sell kids’ clothes for a good price. Facebook marketplace is a popular option. You can also sell them in online kids’ consignment stores like Thredup, Poshmark, Kidizen, etc.
The money you make can then be used to buy new clothes for back to school.
You may also like: 21+ To Save Money On Back-to-School Shopping (+ free printable)
Do some gig or freelance work
Another way to afford back-to-school clothes is to find a way to make extra cash. You can do this by doing some side gigs.
I like driving for Uber, Delivering for DoorDash, and Selling used stuff online as a simple side gig.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom though, these gigs can be hard to do with your kids in tow. That’s why I’ve created an article listing 17 unique ways to make money that’ll be perfect for SAHMs.
You may also like: 12 Best Side Jobs For Stay-at-Home Moms
Get The Complete Back-to-School Shopping Planner Now!
Learn to live on a budget
If you’re having trouble affording back-to-school clothes, then you should consider creating a family budget.
It’s common for those who live paycheck to paycheck to wonder where their money is going each month.
That used to be me. I would pay some bills, buy a few things, and before I knew it, my paycheck was gone. I was always just living paycheck to paycheck.
I’ve also created an expense tracker to help you track your weekly spending. This will allow you to see the areas you’re overspending each month.
When you cut back on these areas, you’ll have enough money to help you take care of your family.
Get The Weekly Expense Tracker
Sign up for store rewards and loyalty programs
Every retail store I know of offers some type of store reward program. Macy’s offers Star Rewards, JCPenny uses JCP rewards, Kohl’s uses Kohl’s Cash, and so on.
If you use store rewards to shop in-store, it’ll save you money on back-to-school clothes.
I try to save my Kohl’s Cash until I have at least $30 worth. This way, I get a huge discount whenever I go shopping.
Using store rewards might not seem like much, but every little thing adds up when you’re living on a budget.
Pick up extra shifts
If you have the time and energy, you can pick up some extra shifts at work.
My husband often works overtime to help balance our income since we live on one paycheck. I in turn do side gigs as I take care of the kids as a stay-at-home mom.
Sometimes, all it takes to afford back-to-school clothes is an extra 8-hour shift.
Plan your shopping ahead of time
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone shopping and ended up buying a bunch of things I didn’t plan for.
The truth is, if you don’t plan your shopping ahead of time, you won’t be able to afford back-to-school shopping.
You need to research the stores offering sales when making your plans.
You also need a list of all the clothes your kids need, their sizes, how many items you need to buy, and the number of points/rewards you have to use.
To make things easier, I’ve created a FREE back-to-school shopping list to help you with your shopping to-do list.
You can also get my back-to-school shopping planner which contains everything you’ll need to get your back-to-school shopping done on a budget. You’ll get this shopping list plus a clothing inventory tracker (with space to track the size and number of clothing items needed).
You’ll also get a planner to help keep track of the places with deals and a tracker to organize all your points and store rewards. Get the complete Back-to-School Shopping Planner here.
Get This Beautiful Back-to-School Shopping List For FREE
Attend a local stop-n-swap event
Stop n’ Swaps are local events where parents bring their kids used items to give in exchange for other items they need.
My neighborhood hosts Stop n’ Swap events every month. You may have something like that in your area too.
You can bring your kids old toys, clothes, and other items they have outgrown to exchange for items they need. This will help you save a lot of money on back-to-school clothes.
The best part about these events is that they’re usually free.
Don’t impulse buy
As I’ve mentioned before, impulse buying is usually the result of not planning your shopping ahead of time.
If you have a limited budget, you need to make a priority list of every item you need. Then find coupons and deals to help you save money.
Impulse buying will make it hard to follow a budget effectively.
Use credit cards that offer rewards
Credit card rewards programs acts just like store rewards programs.
Some credit cards offer cashback on every purchase while others give you points whenever you shop. We use Chase in our home and they give rewards points on all purchases.
Their point system is so good that we use our points to buy airline tickets, book hotels, and pay for various attractions each year.
So using credit cards that offer rewards really goes a long way to helping you save money on back-to-school shopping.
Shop during the off seasons
Off seasons are the best times to shop for back-to-school clothes.
During the middle of the school year or right at the end of the school year (but before summer break) is when you need to go back-to-school shopping.
No one is thinking of buying school items at the end of the school year. They’re more concerned about summer vacations.
You’ll find that a lot of companies mark down their items to get the merchandise to move off the shelf. So they can have space for items that are in season.
So make sure you shop during off seasons to save money on back-to-school clothes.
Shop at consignment stores
There are online and in-person consignment stores you can shop at to get cheap back-to-school clothes.
You can also check out stores like Salvation Army and Goodwill to see what you find.
I’ve personally used those stores to shop for myself and my kids. It helps us save money on back-to-school clothes and other things.
I like giving old clothes new life so I can help the environment as well.
Use cash-back apps like Rakuten and fetch rewards
If you haven’t signed up for a cashback app already, then you’re leaving money on the table.
My husband and I both have a separate Rakuten account and we earn cash back on every online purchase we make.
We get a check every month ranging anywhere between $10 – $150 dollars individually.
Fetch rewards work similarly to Rakuten but it gives you points instead of money. You can then redeem your points for items when you reach a certain amount.
I know a lot of people are skeptical about these cashback apps but it’s really nothing to be afraid of. They’re not a scam. We’ve been using them for years.
If you’re on a budget and looking to save money on back it’s school clothes, then you should definitely sign up for Rakuten or Fetch.
Check your local buy-nothing group
I’m a huge fan of buy-nothing groups. They’re Facebook groups in a neighborhood made up of members who share items they no longer need.
You can also request items. Anyone who has it and wants to gift it or lend it to you can do so.
Joining your local buy-nothing group is a great way to save money on back-to-school clothes.
To join, simply search Facebook groups for buy-nothing in your area. For example; if you live in Rosedale NY, you’d type “Buy-nothing Rosedale NY” to see what comes up.
After you join, you can request all the back-to-school clothes you want in the sizes you want.
I do this all the time to get my kids new toys, clothes, and shoes. I don’t think I ever went shopping for kids’ items until my second child was 3 years old. Everything came from the group or from family members.
Look for clothing drives in your area
Some neighborhoods host clothing drives for low-income families. If you’re of low-income you can check out clothing drives in your area.
You may find them in churches or other non-profit organizations.
Clothing drives for back-to-school usually happen in the late summer months so keep an eye out for them.
If you’re lucky to find one going on in your area, it’ll help you save money on back-to-school clothes.
Learn to sew
Sewing is something I’ve always loved to do. If you’re crafty like me, then you can learn to make your own clothes.
You can take classes on Skillshare or watch Tutorials on YouTube.
It’s definitely not an easy thing to do but it’ll help you save a ton of money on school clothes if you can make some of them yourself.
Ask for hand-me-downs from family and friends
If your kids have older cousins, friends, and family members, then ask for their hand-me-downs.
Most of my kids’ clothes come from their older cousins.
I don’t see a need to spend money buying new clothes when they get used ones that are perfectly fine.
Believe me, your kids won’t mind that they’re used because it’s “new” clothes they’ve never seen before.
This will help you save a lot of money on back-to-school shopping.
Use the clothes you already have
Who says that we have to buy new clothes every year for back to school?
If the clothes your kids have aren’t damaged and they haven’t outgrown them, then don’t buy new ones.
Let them learn to love what they have instead of comparing themselves to others. The best way to save money on back-to-school shopping is not to go shopping at all.
Final thoughts on saving money on back-to-school clothes
Back-to-school shopping for clothes and other supplies can be stressful for parents. You shouldn’t have to worry about how shopping for these essentials will affect your budget.
There are so many ways to save money on school supplies and clothes.
I hope the lists above will help you as you plan for back to school.