Ah, back to school. Three words that fill moms with equal amounts of euphoria and dread. They're finally going back! But it's going to cost you a bundle!
Or not. All those adorable back-to-school fashions can put a hurting on your wallet if you just run out to the mall and go crazy. Trust me. My little fashionista wants EVERYTHING, and when you tell her "but it's $80," I get a "so what?" look. To her $80 is the same as $8!
But a little planning, and you can actually afford to make your kid look too cool for school. Here's how I've managed to satisfy the fashionista and my fiscally-smart side:
1. Cheap out on the basics. We hit the name brand stores for a few select pieces, and then bargain shop for the basics to fill in. No one will know, except you ... and really, is there any reason for your kid to have a $10 pair of socks?
2. Copycat the name brand stores. Let them pick out the fashions they like best in the hot stores, then go somewhere less expensive and try to re-create what they chose ... for a lot less.
3. Don't be shy -- go for hand-me-downs. I never understand the people who turn up their nose at hand-me-downs. Kids grow so fast that most of their clothes have plenty of wear left in them! And fashions may change, but not that quickly. If you don't like something, donate it to the local thrift store or pass it on to someone else. But if you've always shied away, just try it once ... you might be pleasantly surprised. And your wallet will thank you.
4. Thrift it. It's because of those people who turn up their noses at hand-me-downs that the thrift store can be a gold mine for the rest of us. When you're buying name brand jeans that would normally be $40 for $4, you can afford to actually go back to some of the bigger stores for a few special pieces. I always snag anything nice that's a few sizes up while I'm at it because you never know what you'll find when you go back.
How do you keep back-to-school shopping from destroying your bank account?
Image via Avolore/Flickr