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Best time of year to buy school clothes

Back-to-school time is upon us, and so is back-to-school clothing shopping. Waiting until the last minute can be both costly and time-consuming, but with a little planning ahead, you can score a new wardrobe for your child without breaking the bank.

Three children in front of school

Back-to-school time is quickly approaching, and with new supplies and new clothes on the horizon, many parents are looking for ways to spread their dollar a little further. Many parents wait until the beginning of the school year to purchase new school clothes, and while that can be fun, it can also be the most expensive time to buy. Stores know that demand is high, so a good sale price may be hard to come by. However, with a little planning and foresight, you can provide your children with an excellent school wardrobe by knowing when is the best time of year to buy school clothes.

Buy a season ahead

One of the best ways to save money on school clothes is to shop a season ahead. For example, when winter coats go on sale at the end of the season, buy your child’s coat for the following year. It takes one item off your list, and you can often find those big-ticket items at a fraction of the cost. Stores reduce prices after a season is over to prepare their inventory for the upcoming season, so knowing when those sales occur is the key to saving serious dollars.

Here’s a handy guide to when those sales happen:

  • December/January: Winter clothes
  • January/early spring: School uniforms
  • May/June: Athletic clothes/shoes
  • August: Summer clothes
  • October: Denim

Other ways to save money

If your child goes to a school that requires uniforms, keep an eye out for school uniform sales. Parents donate gently used uniforms that are in good condition, and the school uses the proceeds as a fundraiser. Shopping at these sales is a great way to fill in some gaps without breaking the bank.

Another option is to get a group of moms together and do a clothing swap where each mom brings gently used clothes in different sizes to swap with other moms.

Click here to see how to hold a successful clothing swap >>

You can also sign up for coupons from your favorite store. Stores periodically send out great coupons. Matching these coupons with items already on sale is a great way to save. Shopping through online sites like also lets you get a percentage of your purchase back.

Finally, if shopping ahead isn’t an option, set a clothing budget for each child. Make an inventory list of what they have and what they need most, and go from there. As children get older, this a great way to teach them money management and budgeting while doing a fun activity like school clothes shopping.

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