Friday, September 9, 2011

School Time Savings Part 2

I have fond memories of my mother taking my sister and I to many thrift shops.  I remember the smell of them, the color of the buildings themselves and the layout of each store. Some were very organized and we found what we needed pretty quickly while others were just a mess and we had to dig to find anything.  To be honest digging was my favorite part.  When your little its so much fun wandering around looking at so many things.  All those times mom told us not to snoop? Those rules went out the window and we were allowed to touch everything and explore. I cherish all those memories and continue to let my girls explore as I did.

School time can really empty your bank account if you are not careful.  Each year I see parents rush to the store with their gotta have list.  4 pairs of jeans, new undies, new socks, new shirts, new new new etc.  And for what reason? It has to be new just because its the first day of school? Where are these rules you follow? I just shake my head each year because I know they can save money if they tried.  Hopefully I can save people money with these easy methods. I recommend making a list of what each child needs along with their sizes and carry this list with you at all times.  Enjoy these tips and add anything I might have forgotten. 

1. Hand me downs-This really is a no brainer. For me this is easy because I have 4 daughters. My oldest daughter gives my middle daughter all her clothing. Then when my middle daughter grows out of them they get handed down to my twins. There is four years between them so I only hand down my favorites to the twins.  Whatever my kids don't want (And I go through my favorites and stash them) we will give everything away to friends and family.  I always tell them if they get rid of anything think of us which usually happens.  For those not able to hand down clothes to each of your children then make it known to everyone you know that you will take any hand me downs from anyone.  For example if I'm looking for something in particular (lets say a comforter) I will get on Facebook and tell everyone what I'm looking for. Most the time someone has what I'm looking for.  I will barter for items or trade items as well.  Get creative and let it be known what your looking for.

2.  Thrift Shops
There are so many different type of thrift shops and you need to check them all out.  Some have better sales, some have certain items more than others and some have day sales.  For example I know I can find kitchen items for super cheap at a certain senior thrift shop.  I know I can get shoes for cheap at my local Goodwill Outlet. You just need to remember this when your looking for certain items.  Thrift shops are great because they sell gently used items that have plenty of wear left in them.  Many items are brand new with tags still attached, sometimes things were only worn once because they didn't like the fit/color and sometimes you find stuff that was loved and worn many times but are still nice.  No matter what these items are going to be cheaper than buying them brand new.  So even if you don't get them on sale at the thrift shop your still getting them at a great price.  My personal favorite place to shop at Goodwill Outlet because everything is sold by the pound.  You name it you can find it.  But word of warning! They do not separate or hang items. Books are with books, shoes are with shoes but clothing is mixed up and in large bins so be prepared to dig.  If your queasy bring rubber gloves. I go just as I am with no gloves. Yep I'm that good.

3. Yard/Garage Sales
You can plan your day by getting a local paper and hitting up all the garage sales or do what I do and just drive around your neighborhood. Most times I see them on my way home and stop by.  You can usually find items for super cheap and even lower priced than thrift shops.  People really want to get rid of this stuff and are willing to sell at any cost.  I don't haggle and will pay what they ask if I find a good deal.  If its too much I will just move on.  They want a certain amount for whatever reason and if I'm not willing to pay that they wont budge.  For some people this is the most fun part of the experience. Another great reason to shop at yard/garage sales is that they know the item well.  For example I bought a pressure cooker with all the pieces but not directions.  The older lady selling it was the original owner and told me the easiest directions.  I would not of had that information had I bought it from a thrift shop and who knows if  could of found directions online because the pressure cooker is pretty old.  So ask questions and go out with the idea of having fun.

4.  Retail Stores
This is my last option for school clothes.  After I look in thrift stores, ask friends/family, hand me downs and I still have not found certain items then and only then will I look into retail stores.  Of course we buy underwear and bra's brand new. Socks are handed down through the kids because they are not hard on them and rarely have holes in them. Sometimes I just cannot find shoe's in good condition or in a certain size so I have to find them brand new.  I always hit the clearance rack first then look into the sales area.  I have a certain price in mind (usually less then $20) and will stick to that.  I will wait it out until I find what I'm looking for.  Right now I'm on the hunt for school shoes and being very patient. Well I'm trying to be anyways.  I do not go look in each store hunting for them because I find its a waste of gas and my time.  I find that if I wait it out I will find it almost always.  Stores mark up their products way too much. $34 for a polyester shirt? No way. I can find that in Goodwill for $4.99 or Goodwill Outlet for a quarter.  So it will have to be marked down a lot before I will even think about buying it. 

5. Online Shopping
Sometimes you don't have many options for thrift shops because you live in a small town or out of the city so this might be your only option.  Most places off free shipping now which makes it much easier for many to shop.  You can find some good deals if you really look.  When shopping online always look at the Clearance tab first.  Don't forget to look for savings codes too.  For example if your looking to shop at Gap Google "Gap code" and you will find a code that someone shared almost always. You can use that code many times on clearance items as well.  Just type in the code at check out.  My favorite thing to do is shop end of season sales.  If I find a deal I will buy items a size larger so I can save those items till the next season.  Pay full price at the time of the season or pay a fraction of that price the season before? This takes planning but in the end it saves you a ton of money.  So be careful and shop reputable companies, watch for sales, watch for codes and always watch for free shipping.  Also check to see if they have free shipping to stores. Walmart is a good place for this option.  You will just have to hit your nearest store for the items you ordered.

So how do you save money each year on school clothes?

Have a favorite thrift shop or store you shop at?

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