Cluck, cluck! It’s that time of year again — back-to-school season has arrived. As you gear up for the new school year, one thing that comes to mind is clothing and today’s higher prices. And how best can you save money while still getting your kids the clothes they need without draining your bank account and emptying your nest?
I’ve dug into the topic to bring you the best money-savvy ideas to help you navigate the world of budget-friendly fashion, from sales to thrift stores and beyond. So, let’s dive in.
Back-to-School: Sales and Clearances
Three in ten parents shopping for back-to-school supplies and gear expect to go into debt for their kids’ back-to-school supplies and equipment. Many even report they cannot afford all the supplies and gear their kids need.
While shopping sales and clearances might seem like a no-brainer, it’s easy to miss out on them when you’re busy with work, family, and life. However, by watching for sales and marking your calendar, you can save a ton of money on your child’s clothing for the new school year — sometimes as much as 85% off. So, time your purchases with sales and clearances to maximize your savings and stretch your budget further.
One hen’s trash can be another hen’s treasure. You see this often with nesting boxes in the chicken coop. Eight hens vie for the same nesting box while five more boxes sit empty…until one hen discovers one she likes.
Like pecking for grains, soil, or a great nesting box, thrift stores contain many hidden gems you might not otherwise find. And the best part? Prices are often far below retail, letting you snatch up brand-name items for a song or, in our case, a crow.
Swap or Borrow
Have you ever organized a clothing swap with other parents? Some parents do this within their family, some include their circles of friends, and others host parent gatherings or neighborhood events.
Swap and borrow events are a great way to get the gently used items your kids want or need without spending a dime. And if there isn’t a ‘swap or borrow’ event near you, why not start one of your own?
Like the old chicken saying: “Why buy the whole coop when you only need an egg?”
Invest in Quality Back-to-School Clothes
Clothes can be expensive, especially considering kids are continuously growing. It’s easy to buy cheaper, less expensive clothing, knowing your kid will only be wearing that size for … the next two seconds.
… time to size up again.
In truth, though, it’s better to spend more on sturdier garments — one that’ll hold up longer to the test of little knees crawling across the pavement for the umpteenth time. Purchasing higher quality is an investment that will last longer — maybe through more than one season and perhaps even through multiple children.
Alternatively, cheap clothes quickly wear out, costing you more over the year since you’ll likely need to replace them — sometimes multiple times.
This hen had one child who required a new school backpack four times during the first half of the school year. Then, I bought smarter.
I saved up some eggs and bought a higher-quality backpack. It cost more than any backpack I’ve ever bought for a child. I bought it from a rugged outfitter — L.L. Beans; I’m looking at you. However, that bag lasted my child through middle school and most of high school.
Use Coupons, Discount Codes, and Cashback Offers
As a clever hen knows where to find the best worms, savvy parents can sniff out deals through coupons, discount codes, and cashback offers. Check your favorite retailer’s website for current sales or use cashback apps and browser extensions.
Best of all, some retailers allow you to double-dip with coupons and deals. For example, (unless they’ve changed their policy), Family Dollar allows you to pair one manufacturer’s coupon with one store coupon for the same item.
Pairing coupons this way allows you to save even more on the things you need, but always check the store policy before shopping.
Every little bit helps, much like every grain adds up in the feed trough!
Shop Back-to-School Clothes Online
Even us chickens know the convenience of ordering feed and other supplies online! Why spend more energy than needed just to run around the farm when you can get what you need delivered straight to your doorstep?
And many online retailers offer exclusive deals and larger clearance sections than you might find in-store, so don’t shy away from taking a digital peck at those clothes or shoes. In fact, you might find something to snag for yourself while you’re at it. I know I might.
Momma needs a new pair of chicken boots.
Upcycle or Sew Your Own
Just like a hen might add straw to an old nest to spruce it up, so, too, you can breathe new life into old clothes by upcycling them.
I’ll never forget a pair of jeans I upcycled for one of my chicks. She outgrew a pair of jeans in the legs, but the waist fit fine, and the jeans were still in great shape. So, I dug out my handy-dandy sewing machine and some pink fabric and lace (the perfect components for my little chick) and created extensions for each pant leg. She loved them and wore those jeans for another six months.
Now, if you’re a nimble hen with a needle like me, you can do something similar or even sew your own clothes with the help of a pattern and some fabric! This can be a fun and fulfilling project and an opportunity to create unique clothes for your little chicks while saving you more money for your nest.
As roosters and hens always crow and cluck about, it’s not about how much seed you have but how you use it! In other words, you can ensure your chicks strut into the school year like little fashionistas without plucking too many feathers from your wallet.
Remember, budgeting is a skill, just like finding the juiciest worms — it takes practice but is always worth the effort.
Cluck-cluck, and happy shopping!