The days are growing shorter, store aisles are overflowing with binders, pencils, crayons and sale ads are claiming the best deals on back to school deals.
Two area moms offer advice on the best ways to send kids off to school dressed to the nines and with backpacks brimming with notebooks and pencils. The moms offer insightful advice on ways to prevent breaking the bank while keeping both kids and teachers happy.
Dawn Elliott of Greenville oversees a family of six and does so on a budget. She provides several suggestions on ways for parents to purchase clothing and supplies without racking up debt or having to live paycheck to paycheck.
Check end of season clearance racks
“What I do is start shopping right after the Fourth of July and get the summer clearance,” Elliott said.
She purchases clothes at a deeply-discounted rate and hangs them in the closet until school begins. One of her recent purchases included a pair of designer jeans from Target for the mere cost of $7.
Shop at discount stores
“I look at places like Big Lots and the dollar stores to find the best deals,” Elliott added.
One school year Elliott discovered she had purchased approximately 40 notebooks kept in a closet so there was no need to purchase any for two years. She also buys plain white binders so her children can decorate them with their own artwork and save substantially over the binders with designs.
Make use of social media
“I signed up with Old Navy, American Eagle and Aeropostle and they email me their headliners for upcoming sales,” Elliott added
Every year Aeropostle has a $5 shirt sale and it is then Elliott purchases six shirts for a total cost of $30. She also locates Mom-to-Mom sales through Facebook and has developed a rapport with other parents through the social networking site.
Check circular ads and clip coupons
“Every year after Father’s Day, I buy those pre-packaged gift kits that have shower gel and deodorant when they are on sale,” Elliott remarked.
She reserves coupon clipping for toiletries and when items are also on sale. She not only uses her shopping savvy for her own family, but for families in the area who are in need, donating to school supply drives.
Claire Benedict of Belding is a veteran at thrift shopping. Benedict was a stay-at-home mom to six children and she fed and clothed all six children on one income and a very tight budget. She practices many of the same tactics as Elliott, but also offered some additional ways to save.
“I shop at Goodwill, but you have to go often because sometimes the stuff can be grungy, but jeans are good to get there unless there are really big holes,” Benedict stated.
Perseverance is key to finding good bargains at thrift stores as the merchandise turns over quickly and a person has to dig deep to find what they are searching for, especially for boys who are particularly hard on clothing.
“Oh yeah, I buy clothes at garage sales, sometimes you run across something that is brand new and only costs $.25,” Benedict added.
Like thrift stores, it is important to check different sales and go frequently to find quality items in good condition.
Sew clothes or make alterations to purchased clothing
“I made a lot of clothes, and when my kids got older, I would take the name brand tag out of worn out clothes and sewed it into their plain clothes and they thought it was the real thing,” she said.
Benedict, like Elliott, thinks it wise to check sale ads and shop at discount stores such as Family Dollar and Dollar General. Benedict added while clothing for younger children can be purchased at a very low cost at such places, parents of teenagers can purchase clothing at Max 10 where as its name suggests, the maximum price for items is $10.