With fall approaching, the kids are (finally!) headed back to school. As parents, our emotions are running the gamut. They’re growing up too fast — but we’re also excited to see them charting their course for a new year, gathering supplies and planning their schedules. (We’re also very much looking forward to a little bit of extra time, am I right?)
The one thing that shouldn’t be on our minds is the worry of getting all the kids outfitted in the trendiest duds and spending a fortune on new clothes they’re just going to grow out of in no time. Here are a few tips to stay within your family’s clothes shopping budget, just in time for back to school season.
1. Pick Up Versatile Basics
This should be nothing new to the savvy household manager, but finding the very versatile basic pieces like jeans, solid tees and hoodies is the best way to start a solid school wardrobe. Even if your child, tween or teen wants the trendiest new thing, it’s a good idea to instill the idea that clothes can be fun but must also be functional.
For example, it’s okay to invest in a good fitting pair of jeans that will last the entire year because you know that these will serve them much better than other more frivolous buys. Grabbing a few solid hoodies or sweaters that match everything and anything will be an easy option for kids to wear. Looking at it as a “mini capsule collection” is a great start and can get them thinking about the “less is more” approach early on. You can always supplement their capsule wardrobe with a few trendier pieces here and there.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Secondhand
For parents in the know, secondhand and consignment shopping is the way to go when searching for clothes, especially for the kids going through growth spurts. It can be hard to keep up with not only the growth piece but also the money flying out of your pocket. There are so many great options for folks looking to save some money but get great quality clothes that their kids will actually wear.
And it’s not just young kids who can benefit from secondhand clothes. Thrifting has recently picked up in popularity as a trend among teenagers. Take your tween or teen shopping at regular adult section of a consignment or thrift store to help them find trendy, unique styles at wallet-friendly prices.
From online consignment boutiques to brick and mortar stores specializing in secondhand children’s wear, you can find the best fit for you, your family, your budget and your schedule. Just think of how many like-new kid’s clothes you’ve donated in the past– it’s simply smart family management to look for those deals on your end.
3. Encourage Your Kids to Be Mindful Shoppers
We only want the best for our kids. We want them to feel their best, study hard, have fun and enjoy these years and the experiences that come with them. It can be difficult to help them navigate the important aspects of school when they are also concerned with having the newest sneakers or sparkly tee. It’s our job as parents to help provide guidance in life, obviously, but also bring balance when it comes to things like shopping and fitting in.
We can help our kids make good decisions about what would be best for their wardrobe, discuss what will make them happy, what they’ll be able to wear multiple times and in different ways, helping them see the value in what we are planning to purchase. Of course, there’s always room for that fun and frivolous top, but by teaching them that piece is special—and should be cared for rather than taken for granted—you’ll help them appreciate it that much more. Starting the conversation early on creates a valuable outlook on conscious consumerism that will benefit the family for years to come.
Ultimately, our kids have to wear clothes and we are the ones buying them, so we make the rules. We recommend doing your best to find that sweet spot where the kids are happy with their new duds but you’re not crying because they broke the bank. With a little work and a few conversations along the way, you may be surprised to find them making the best shopping decisions on their own!
As a mom with two kids, Amanda Light shares some great tips on providing your teen with an awesome wardrobe that doesn’t break the bank. Amanda writes for her own blog, Primand Propah, and for thredUP.com, an online and offline consignment store that offers a great selection of dresses, accessories, handbags and kids’ clothes for the back-to-school season.