Back-to-school clothes – the thought almost sends chills of through most parents – fears about the cost, fears about the complaints when mom or dad can’t afford all name brand clothing and shoes all claw away at your sanity. But what is a parent to do? It seems like prices are higher each and every year. Add that to the ever-increasing cost of school supplies and, well, you’re going to have to cut cost somewhere. How do you do it without having to deal with moans and whines all the way home? Easy! You learn to shop smarter!
Consignment stores are like edgy thrift stores. Prices are a little higher than your average second-hand thrift stores but a lot less than the department stores. Many clothes are name brand and consignment store clothes are often in like-new condition. Since these stores are only interested in offering items that will actually sell, you are unlikely to find the thrift store rejects – the object of every teen’s nightmare.
Okay, so thrift stores can be pretty difficult to get a trendy teen into but if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and dive in head first, you can often find some pretty hip clothes at a really great price. Just be prepared to spend a great deal of time sifting through the rejects to find a couple of prized and approved items.
Freecycle can be a really great way to save on back-to-school clothes, if you’re careful. Participants are only supposed to list useable items but not all families use this online recycling network the way it was intended. Check all bags before taking them home. Even if they get offended by it, you need to be sure that you aren’t heading home with a bag full of unusable clothing.
Set a Budget
Still can’t get your child to agree on a less expensive alternative for their back-to-school clothes? Set a budget and stick to it. You may even wish to hand the money that you have budgeted over to your teen. Let them loose.
One of two things will come out of letting your teen do their own clothes shopping: either your teen will make some good choices after they see how quickly their cash dwindles or they will fail in epic proportions and blow it all on one outfit. If they fail, don’t rescue them. If they try to con you out of more cash, remind them that you gave them a budget. Let them know that they are more than welcome to earn the money they need to buy more clothes. When winter comes, they will either settle for a hand-me-down coat to stay warm or work for the money. Just expect a bit of stubbornness for show before they cave.
I know it can seem pretty intimidating but there is a lesson to be learned here. What a great opportunity for teaching your child about the value of money! Your teen will get a fast-track lesson in how expensive those name-brand clothes are. Don’t rob your child of a very valuable lesson in life. They will have to learn it eventually.