How to Save Money on Back-to-School Clothes

Every year parents deal with the challenge of buying back-to-school clothes. Stores are crowded, items are expensive, and you know your kids will probably outgrow everything before the clothes wear out. But there are things you can do to minimize the cost and avoid the crowds.

1. Set a budget. As with anything else, the first step to limiting how much you spend is to set a budget and actually stick to it.

• Consider how much you’ll need to spend up front as well as what will be required for purchases during the school year. Stretch that budget as far as possible by only buying what you really need and by shopping when the sales occur.

2. Assess your current situation. What does your child currently have? What fits? What can be reused for the new school year? Figure out what you’re actually going to need, make a list, and keep it with you.

• When anything on your list goes on sale, you’ll be in the position to take advantage of the situation.

3. Consider hand-me-downs. Do you have older children whose clothes would be appropriate for your younger child? What about the children of your friends, neighbors, and co-workers?

• Many people just throw perfectly good clothes in the trash. You may be pleasantly surprised at what others may offer you, and usually everything is free!

4. In the spring, buy winter clothes for the next school year. Winter styles are amazingly inexpensive in March. So buy ahead.

• Of course, the same situation applies when buying clothes for the rest of the year. Out-of-season clothes are much less expensive. The stores want all that merchandise out of their way.
• Remember to consider your child’s growth.

5. Consider buying used clothes. Your kids might not be thrilled if they knew, but thrift stores and consignment shops have many pieces of clothing in excellent condition. Some are designer items that cost a ton of money new.

• Much of the apparel has only been worn a couple of times, and it’s not unheard of to find stuff that’s never been worn. Your kids will never know, but your bank account will be able to tell the difference.

6. Trade in the old clothes. Many stores like Once Upon a Child and Plato’s Closet specialize in used clothing. Not only can you get some money for those clothes your child can no longer wears, you might also find a great price on something they’ll love!
• Also consider selling last year’s clothes at a garage sale or on eBay. Your child’s old clothes may have value to someone, especially if they’re in good condition.

7. Check to see if your state has a back-to-school tax holiday. Some states have a couple of weeks or weekends before school starts when they temporarily eliminate sales tax.

• The amount you save can be considerable, so check if your state has this tax break before you plan your shopping trips.

If you utilize the above money saving tips, you can save a lot of money on back-to-school clothes! Follow at least a couple of the suggestions in this article and you’ll be well on your way to having a happy, well-dressed child and keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

How to Organize and Declutter Your Home in Small Steps

Decluttering and organizing your home can quickly feel overwhelming and frustrating. If you’re afraid to get started because it seems like so much work, try doing fewer tasks at a time. When you take small steps to declutter and organize your home, you can conquer the task much more easily.

Divide Things Up

Tackle only one room at a time. This will make your task appear much less daunting. Avoid moving on to the next room until you’ve completed the last one.

Try these tips for organizing and decluttering your home in small steps:

1. Choose your starting point. Select a room that you can tackle in a day, rather than the most challenging one in the house. Once you’ve chosen your room, start early so you have as many daylight hours as possible to work on your cleaning and decluttering.

2. Basic sort. Go through everything in your starting room and sort out items you no longer want. Everything that you touch in the room should go into one of four categories: Things you want to throw away, things you want to donate or sell, things that should remain where they are, and things that you want to keep but that are in the wrong room.

Use this sorting principle for every item in the room. When you’re finished, you should have four distinctive piles or areas in the room. Each item in the room will be in one of the four piles.

3. Remove trash. Simply taking all the “throw away” stuff out of the room is going to make a very large dent. Keep in mind that personal paperwork should be shredded rather than simply put into the garbage.

4. Remove donation items. Anything that you intend to sell, give away or donate should come out next. Store these items somewhere else in the house for now. Continue to add to this section from each room in your home until you’re ready to make one single donation or yard sale.
5. Sort the “belongs elsewhere” section. Do not simply move these items into another room; otherwise you’ll need to sort them again. Create a box or container for each room for which you have items. Make sure that you definitely want to keep them so that you can transfer them into the right room without having to sort them again later.
6. Organize what’s left. Now that you’ve removed large chunks of “stuff” from your room, you can organize everything that remains. When you’re only working with the things that are supposed to be in the room, decluttering and organizing becomes much simpler.
7. Repeat this process. Continue steps 1-6 in each room until you’ve finished the whole house. When you handle one room at a time, the process is much simpler and less stressful.

Once you’ve finished organizing your house, take a few minutes each day to ensure everything you’ve used during the day is back in place so you can continue to enjoy your “new” clutter-free home.

Big tasks can seem overwhelming. Break your decluttering challenge into smaller increments and before you know it, your house will be clean and organized!