When back to school season comes around, so does all the stress. There are about a million things to worry about. Who is their new teacher? What time is the bus coming? Why do my kids look like it’s the end of the world? Will my son eat something other than a salami sandwich this year?
Most importantly what new clothes do they need? Most likely your kids will either whine about being dragged out to shop, or eagerly fight through the crowds– pushing almost everything into the cart.
Take a deep breath and remember that there are ways to keep your money, time and sanity in check when shopping for school clothes.
1) Your kids are constantly growing and while you think their clothes from last year might still fit, they might not. In early August, have your kids do a fashion show for you to see what in their closet still fits and what can be given away. (Tip: Let your little girl wear make-up while she is doing it and she’ll be at it for hours.) Boys might need a little more bribery for this and you might need to spread “the fitting” out over several nights. However, now you can make your list of what clothes, shoes, backpacks, and other accessories you need so you don’t over buy.
2) While shopping for Back-to-School clothes, take advantage of the summer sales and stock up on some basics for next summer, especially for bathing suits or shorts. Retail sales for summer clothes usually starts at the end of July so look for cute summer clothes that are a size or two larger for your child to fit into a year from now.
3) Only buy one or two new school outfits now. It was always a tradition in our house that you wore a new outfit on the first day of school. Mom took photos as we were heading for the bus and wanted us to look our best. New clothes to me signified a brand new year full of possibilities. However, don’t buy clothes for the whole year in July or August. Every year it amazes me that right after I buy jeans for my son in August, he grows an inch. There’s nothing worse than having a bag full of new clothes that your kids suddenly can’t wear. Tip: Make sure you keep the receipts, so you can exchange what doesn’t fit. I’ve learned to shop for his jeans in late September or October. There are usually better sales and hopefully he’ll have done his sprouting for the year.
4) Also, remember to write your kid’s name on the tag of their coat/jacket, backpack, lunch bag, etc. Stuff always gets lost but you might have a better chance of reclaiming it from the school Lost and Found box if you label it. Then you won’t have to spend more money replacing items.
5) If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids or a lot of friends with kids all different ages, host a clothes swap. Have all the Moms over for some chocolate cake. Tell them to bring their kids gently used clothes and see if you can swap. Even if there’s no one the right size to switch with, you had some fun with the neighbors. Set up a Yahoo Group and have your friends and neighbors list their sizes before the swap meet.
6) Considering how active kids are, they’ll most likely need new shoes. Their feet can swell up to half a size more during the day, so trying on shoes during the evening or early morning can save you another trip back to the store.
So relax, take a deep breath and bring on the Back-to-School Season!
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