We don’t really buy a ton of clothing when it’s time to head back to school.
We focus most of our shopping efforts in two main areas: shoes and possibly shorts. Especially for Dude 1.
He’s the one that has no one older than him to gift him clothing and since he is in the growing-while-sleeping-years, he sometimes wakes up longer than he was when he went to bed. This often results in a shameful phenomenon I like to call Shorty Short Syndrome. For those unfamiliar, SSS is when your shorts hit about mid thigh and, for middle school boys, it is the social suicide NOT owning a pair of British Knights was when I was Dude 1’s age. Which means, at all costs, it is to be avoided.
Generally we are a huge hand-me-down family (all of our kids are the same gender, it’s simple) but, in addition to the shorty shorts replacement program, we do buy a few new things for the other two to start the school year. We want them to all of have an unstained, holey-knee-free first week of school.
But, all told, I’d say, shoes included, we spend about $400 on back to school clothing for all three of my kids.
Not bad, right? Three pairs of sneakers, a few pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts, a backpack here or there, and socks all around for under $400 is winning in my book.
So, how do we pull it off?
It’s a process you guys. A process…
Here’s how we tackle back-to-school shopping: 5 Money Saving Back to School Shopping Tips.
1. Get your clean on. Before I buy a single thread of anything for school, I clean out their drawers to get a good inventory of what they have, what they need to hand down, what needs to be donated, and what they need replaced. I also look behind their dressers, in their closets, in the trunk of my car, and under their beds. They shove clothing there too.
2. Make a list. We always need new shoes, but they aren’t the only necessities for first day of school awesome. To ensure I don’t fall victim to the cute backpacks and the insulated Bento boxes I will never fill up, I make a list and vow to stick to it. It also helps me focus my time and not spend too much of it unnecessarily roaming from store to store. Time is money, and I do not have time to be stuck at some mall with my surly kids punching each other in the butt and driving me nuts while I try to run down gear they don’t even care about owning. This is the benefit of being a Dude mom. As long as I stick to the script (shorts, sports shirts, only one pair of jeans for emergency purposes) they are largely a-ok with me handling school shopping without their input.
3. Bargain shop. We ALWAYS start online. ALWAYS. I love to use ebates because they offer cash back shopping at many of my preferred stores. Cash back=more clothes, so yeah, duh. Then we head to the in-store sales. And try to get a lot of our needs during Tax Free Shopping Week (ours just ended).
4. Wait a little. If you’re not stunting your children’s growth by jamming their feet into way too small shoes, or ruining their social status by making them rock shorty shorts, possibly you can hold off on school shopping for a few weeks. The sales may actually be better if you wait a bit. Maybe.
5. Try FabKids.
As many of you know, Dude 3 and I work with this brand a ton and I do that because I love their model. You sign up, do a style quiz, and then enjoy a new outfit for your kid every month. I love how easy they are to use and you really can’t beat the price. Outfits start at $29.95 and shoes start at under $15, and their gear is cute, well made, and on trend. (Dude 3 is rocking the shirts above.)
Dude 3 made a back to school style video for you and your little student to help plan your back to school outfit. Take his advice, or just watch him dance. Either way, prepare to be entertained. Also, order your kid a pair of suspenders, instant street cred.