1. Let go of brand new idea's. You can find brand new or like new items in thrift stores all the time. Your kids do not care if they aren't brand new, as long as its something they are into and they like. Obviously you need to buy new undergarments and you can get them pretty cheap right before school starts. They will have super good sales on all this type of stuff. If their undergarments are in good working order, then there is no need to buy more. Other than that, everything else can be bought 2nd hand.
2. Yard Sales. If there is a yard sale in my neighborhood, I will usually stop by and check it out. I will not waste my gas to run around the town looking for that good deal but spend a ton on gas. Think local. If there isn't anything local, go with a friend and split gas. Talk to each other and make a plan before you hit the sales. This way you can both be on the hunt for each other and cover more grounds. Remember to buy a size larger than the current size your children wear. School wont start for 2 months and kids grow like weeds.
3. Thrift Shops. Shoe's will be one thing that's hard for you to find. If you like a certain brand of shoes but do not want to spend retail, thrift shops are your best friend. I find 95% of our shoes from thrift shops. I usually have my children with me so I can just try them out and just pack them away till school. You can find a lot of good deals in thrift shops so keep that in mind when you just cannot find what you are looking for in yard sales. Jackets, etc are usually harder to find.
4. WOM. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool. Email, facebook, myspace, phone call, etc . Let everyone you know, know you are wanting clothing for your kids. When ever my kids outgrow anything, I pass them all onto my friends, neighbors and family. I'm am just happy to get them out of our house to make room for clothing that they fit. This summer alone I received tons of clothes and shoes from my friends and family for free. So if you give, others will give. Its like the old saying. "Pat my back and I will pat yours". This is very important to me. I don't money to just give out but I will give anything I can. From either bringing a homeless person a meal, to giving our extra change to any donation box. I am a very giving person and it makes me feel really good to help others. And same goes for information. This is why I love my blog. I can help others save money with my experience's.
5. Clearance or markdowns. I do sometimes find good deals from retail stores. Not very often but it is possible. If im able to find a pair of shoes in a good brand for a good price, I will buy them. For example I was able to pick up a brand new pair of Converse for my daughter for only $6 at Target. Thats a crazy deal considering they are $29.99 new. Converse last forever and can be handed down through my children. Once good thing about having all girls. I will buy them a little big, that way they will be able to wear them longer. Sometimes you can find good deals on undergarments. You know, those people who open up packages (or should I say rip them open) and then the store has to tape them up and sell them at a cheaper price. I take advantage of that. You can get a 4-6ct package of undies for around $3. Thats half price. Im okay with that. Socks are also sold this way. So im always checking mark downs and clearance even if we dont need them right that second. Think ahead.
6. School supplies. Reuse items if possible. Rulers, markers, erasers, pencil holders, notebooks, and much much more last for a long time. Just reuse them. Glue sticks and stuff like that can be bought on sale. Make sure to check all sales flyers and shop the cheapest. My mother loves to buy school supplies (I think its a weird obsession lol) every year whether we need it or not. Most the time we need it so I just give her our list of things we need and she gets what she wants. Saves me money and the kids love it. The closer school gets, the cheaper the supplies get. Plus take advantage of these deals and stock up on craft supplies. We have a huge craft supply selection all year long because of me stocking up on them. We didnt need them then, but we use them now.
7. Web deals-www.freecycle.org, www.freepeats.org, and even www.craigslist.com are great sites to find free clothes. Just sign up for free with all of these and keep checking back to see if any locals are giving away clothes. You can find anything on these sites but remember to keep your eye on school items. You can even just put up a post stating you are looking for kids clothes and list the sizes you need. People are very giving. Remember to use the site when you are giving away stuff.
8. Remember to get creative. Maybe barter for your stuff. Lets say your neighbor needs some help with their yard, let them know you will trade yard work for clothes. Get creative and help each other out.
Pass this on to all your friends or family. Or just remember that your little bit you need to give away could help out another family in need. So ask around and let people know you have some stuff to give away. Help others.