Tips and Tricks for Finding the Best Back to School Deals {FREE Back to School Supply List Price Point Guide}

Back to School Time!

Believe it or not, summer is almost over and it’s time to head back to school! Summer always flies by so quickly. I enjoy my time with my kiddos, but I love sending them back to school and getting a routine going! {Although our house becomes SUPER crazy with all the activities!!}

At the same time, sending kids back to school can be stressful. Depending on the ages of your kids, you’ve got to get physical exams, new clothes, shoes, school supplies, and sign them up for all their activities (and many of those activities start before school even does!). Seriously… one payment after another.

There is NO need to pay full price for anything. Starting right after the 4th of July, those Back to School sales hit and it’s SOOO easy to find the sale priced items each week and stock up for the year! It will take a little effort and keeping your eye open for the sale items, but it will pay off in the long run!

Just like we have every year, we’ve put together a price point guide of the most common school supplies with the “good, better, best” prices listed out to give you an idea of what price you should pay for these supplies.

Topics Covered in This Post:

Back to School Supply List Price Point Guide:

See all the deals on our Back to School Deals page.

If you start early, and are diligent each week, you WILL find these low prices in the months of July and August! We post all of our favorite Back to School deals here on our deals page. Just click on “Back to School Deals” up in the navigation to go right there! I also love to stock up for the entire year… by January they seem to need a new binder or new markers or SOMETHING new. Plus it’s awesome to have enough extras of a few items to donate to the classroom.

Back to School Shopping Tips and Tricks

Sometimes we overthink back to school shopping. I know that our kids can grow like weeds during the summer and that does require us to get them new clothes but here is a step by step guide to help you as you prep for back to school.

Go through your closets

Set aside one day near the end of the summer (don’t do this in June because they will likely be grown out of a lot of the items come September) and go through the closets and  do a little “summer cleaning!” Have your kids try on all their clothes and they make a pile of everything that does not fit any more. We also go through toys, games, and last years school supplies as well. Each child will basically make an inventory of what they need. Here is a checklist to help them determine what they need. Adjust it to work with your family/lifestyle… but this is a good guideline to get you started:

Back to School Checklist

  • 10-12 pair of underwear
  • 3-4 bras (if needed)
  • 10 pair of socks
  • 3-4 pairs of tights/leggings (girls)
  • 1 pair of black or khaki pants (if you’ve got kids in uniforms, bump this up to 3-4)
  • 2-3 pairs of jeans (my kids will usually wear a pair twice in the week)
  • 2 belts (black and brown)
  • 1-3 Dresses/Skirts (girls)
  • 2-3 button down dress shirts (boys)
  • 7-10 Everyday Shirts
  • 3 Sweaters
  • 3-4 Long sleeved shirts
  • 1 coat
  • 1 jackets
  • Active wear (as needed)
  • 1 pair of tennis shoes
  • 1 pair of dress up shoes

Have the kids go through their closets and determine which items of the checklist they are lacking. After they see which items they need, make a list with only the necessities. This way you won’t be going out and buying loads and loads of new clothes that they really don’t need. Sometimes I wait and don’t even buy their jeans until it gets colder (October) just in case they are still growing! PLUS that will help lighten the budget strain in August a little bit (although there are usually great sales on denim in Aug).

I do make sure that my kids get at least ONE complete new outfit so they have something to be excited about on the first day of school (interestingly enough, some of my boys could CARE LESS about having new clothes the first day of school). It does make the first day of school a little extra special because they get to wear (FOR THE FIRST TIME) the new outfit. I think it also helps kids feel a little more confident wearing a new outfit that they love.

Donate/Sell the Old

Once they have all their piles, combine them and decide which items you want to donate/sell. Turn all of their individual piles into 3 main piles and go from there. You can have a garage sale, or you can find consignment stores and turn in your clothes OR you can individually sell things on facebook/instagram/ebay/ etc. The goal here would be to sell enough things to earn enough money to use on the new clothing for  school clothes! Even if you can’t hit that goal, every little it will help. If you don’t want to mess with selling clothes, then donate the clothes to a local youth ranch, Deseret Industries or goodwill. OR if you know someone that could use some help and they have younger children, offer some of the good clothes to them.

One fun activity to consider is called SIBLING SWAPPING. While they clean things out, the older kids can think of clothing that one of their younger siblings would love. If it’ll fit their younger sibling, they can go give it to them. It is a very simple step, but I have seen them get so excited about getting hand-me-downs from their siblings. (And hey, what mom does not love hand-me-downs! They are free!!)

Stick to Your List

Our next step is the shopping! Be sure that while you are looking at all the items that need to be purchased that you set a budget! The key to this step is STICKING TO THE LIST. Do not go over the budget! There are plenty of ways to get all the school clothes that you need without going over your budget. Some of my top favorite ways to shop are:

  • Online! (see our online Back to School deals here)
  • Consignment stores
  • Outlet stores
  • Shop at any store, but head straight to the clearance rack!

You can get awesome clothes that will last for a great price! I tend to have a hard time spending a lot of money on clothes that my kids will fit in for a year, maybe two! My kids just grow so fast and it is hard to drop $30 on a pair of jeans that they will only be able to wear a handful of times. SO, might as well pay less so that you will get all your moneys worth before they outgrow everything!

How I Stay Within My Budget with Back to School Shopping:

  • Give each child a budget for all school supplies/clothes (like I actually give them CASH to use to do their supply shopping).
  • Help them shop the deals for supplies (print out our Back to School Shopping Price Point Guide for them to use as a reference)
  • Motivate kids to spend smart. They may decide they can use last year’s backpack instead of getting a new one because guess what… they get to keep whatever money is left!

YOUR Back to School Shopping Hacks:

I posted on our social media a few days ago to ask what your best tips were when it comes to Back to School Shopping and I loved the responses and messages that I received!

Fabulessly Frugal Readers said: 

  • “We love consignment sales! We have a few that we go to twice a year every year. We also shop one day sales! Oh, and don’t forget outlet stores.”
  • “Our family does our back to school shopping a few weeks after school has started! That way all the stores are desperate for sales and have everything on clearance!”
  • “My go to consignment sale store is Plato’s Closet. I always can find BRAND NAME, barely used clothes and pay such a good price for them. I want to dress my kids in the best and by going to consignment stores, I can do that and stay in my budget.”
  • “I love shopping on Facebook Marketplace. Many times you can find moms selling batches of clothes for super cheap and you only have to drive around the corner to pick it up!”
  • “Shop ahead before the season starts! Buy all of their back to school clothes when all the fall/winter/spring clothes are on clearance and just add it to your stockpile. Stores know that parents have to buy BTS clothes so they hike up the prices. Beat the system.”

My final word for you is: PREPARE. If you wait until the last minute, you will have to pay high prices. Buy when things are on clearance or marked down. Many of the stores will have an item or two that is priced SUPER LOW to get you in to their store. Go get those items, but don’t overspend on other things. Make your list of needs early and keep your eyes open and stay ahead of the game.

SO, I have a challenge! As we start the month of August, prepare and DO NOT pay full price for ONE back to school item! Can you do it? Comment below to let me know if your in!

Good luck with all your BTS madness! You can do it! And you can stay within your budget!

 

See all the deals on our Back to School Deals page.

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