Master Back-to-School Shopping: The Clothes Edition

Master Back-to-School Shopping: The Clothes Edition

Meieli Sawyer

Meieli SawyerAug 14, 20173 min read

Without plenty of planning, back-to-school shopping can be trying. You have a hard deadline, a lot of stuff to get, and a ton of input from the peanut gallery. What’s a back-to-school shopper to do? Read these tips, of course!


I know, this is quite a counterintuitive move, but I also know how well you can do if you sit back and get ready to take stock. Those cool things that your kids must have can take a chunk out of the budget (on top of everything else), so it’s worth scaling back and then saving some pin money for the “must haves” that inevitably come after school starts.

Shop Secondhand for Uniforms

Do your kids wear a certain color polo shirt every day to school, or a pair of khakis? If that’s so, then consider getting a few filler items secondhand. Polos, tees, vests, leggings, you name it are so much cheaper when you buy them secondhand. Don’t forget that you can even get them new with tags.

Make a List

This is far more obvious when you are shopping in person, as opposed to when you are shopping in a brick-and-mortar. When you’re shopping online, it’s much easier to browse casually and start filling up your cart, especially when you consider all those promotional emails that come rolling in (despite the attempts to cancel them).

Involve Your Kids

Some shopping habits are learned from family members. Some of us struggle because our parents didn’t shop responsibly, or simply didn’t teach us about shopping at all. Have your kids set a small budget for one thing, like school supplies, sports gear, or uniforms, and then do the math. Not only will they learn how things add up, but they can figure out ways to maximize their money.

Shop Early

As in -- shop now! You can get much better deals when you buy the basics online and take advantage of free shipping or free in-store pickup. If you’re crunched for time (and usually suffer on account of it), you can always stick to the department stores and make a home-and-garden, cleaning supplies, or pantry stock-up do double-duty with a school clothes run.


If you see a sale at a store you normally don’t frequent, don’t be afraid to switch it up. You may always buy stuff at Kohl’s, for example, but there’s no reason why you can’t augment your finds with items from other, similar shops. Don’t be rigid!

Plan Ahead

At, we recommend you browse some of the these back-to-school browsing shops online:

  • Eastbay: It fun, it’s young, and it’s perfect for the little athlete in your life.
  • Express: This is great for teens who need blazers and trim pants.
  • Tilly’s: A wonderful place to get backpacks.
  • Sunglass Hut: If your kid has the uniform blues, this is a great way to update their ensemble.
  • Kmart: An easily forgotten stop for basics.

Happy Shopping!