We’ve all felt it when we were in school: In spite of ourselves, as the summer pushed onward and the first day of school was quickly approaching, we could feel the growing excitement for school. A large part of the excitement was just knowing that we’d be seeing our friends again, but the opportunity to go shopping for brand new clothes and supplies added a lot to the feeling. Below are a few tips to consider before you head out shopping for school clothes:
As with most things within a budget, it’s always best to only buy what you need. Take a look through your kid’s closet and dresser to see what they already own. See what has been either worn, worn out or not worn at all. You can donate or discard the items that no longer fit or are damaged (but don’t forget the opportunity for hand-me-downs!) Consider the remaining clothes when deciding what your needs will be for the coming school year.
School may be just around the corner, but the lessons can start now. Why not take the opportunity to teach your child about working within a budget? If you child is old enough, work out a budget with them so they understand the limits of what they can work with. Once they know how much you have budgeted for their clothes, they can begin to make choices based on their needs and wants. This can help teach a valuable lesson in responsibility and may help them to be understanding when they have to make sacrifices.
Keep them separated
If you’re shopping for more than one child, it can become a real issue keeping up with the multiple socks and underwear combinations. One strategy is to choose different colors and patterns for each child. Let them choose the color or pattern and you’ll have a lot less trouble when time for sorting comes. Simply buying a different brand for each child may be your best solution. Another option would be to use a laundry marker to put each child’s initials on.
Do you know the code?
Make sure you are aware of the current dress code before you begin shopping. Many schools won’t allow shorts, skirts and shirts that aren’t long enough. Be aware of what types of writing or logos on apparel are considered appropriate for your school.
The shopping list
Make a checklist of your child’s needs for the coming school year. You should consider the items you took stock of earlier that can be used for the new school year. Sit down and discuss what items are on the “gotta have it” and “I need it” lists. A good strategy would be to allocate a fixed portion of the budget to the needed items and let them decide with the remaining available funds what they can afford on the “gotta have it” list. Some additional things to keep in mind when preparing your shopping list are:
• Try to select items that are durable enough to weather multiple washings and don’t have complicated cleaning requirements.
• Don’t forget gym clothes!
• Remember to budget in shoes and accessories.
• Try to have your list complete and agreed upon before leaving the house. It will avoid a lot of stressful “discussion” at the store.
If all goes well, at the end of the day you will have gotten a lot of bargains, your kids will have learned about making smart decisions and the school year will have started off in a positive way.