8 Ways to Save Money on School Clothes

Short on cash, and looking for ways to save on school clothes? Here are several strategies to try:

Start With a Wardrobe Inventory

Mom and little girl shopping
Images by Tang Ming Tung/Taxi/Getty Images

Before you head out to shop for school clothes, take an inventory of your child's wardrobe to determine what she needs, and more importantly, what she doesn't. Then, spend accordingly.

Refashion What You Can

Is your kiddo tired of last year's clothes? Then, find ways to refashion them into the clothes that she wants now. Jeans can be updated with patches, paint and sequins or even re-dyed the new "it" color. T-shirts can be snipped, tied and tweaked into all-new designs. Skirts can be shortened or lengthened for an instant update. All it takes is a bit of creativity to turn last year's rejects into this year's favs.

Need some refashion inspiration? Ask your kiddo to point out her favorite fashions in the back-to-school ads. Then, brainstorm ways to recreate them.

Host a Clothing Swap

Just because your child is sick of her clothes, doesn't mean her friends will be. Host a back-to-school clothing swap. Then, sit back and watch as your daughter and her friends swap their way to the looks that they want.

Trade in Last Year's Clothes

Gather up all those wardrobe rejects, and trade them in for this year's school clothes. Stores like Once Upon a Child and Plato's Closet will take your lightly-worn clothes in exchange for cash or store credits. It's like getting to spend the same money again and again.

Other possibilities: Sell your kid's clothes in a consignment sale, have a yard sale, or send them to ThredUp.

Focus on Basics

Clothing trends don't last long, so use most of your back-to-school budget to buy basics. Then, add in one or two trends for a wardrobe that's both kid-friendly and wallet-friendly.

Shop Second-Hand

Yard sales, thrift stores and consignment sales are all great sources for bargain-priced kids' clothes. Shop early and often for the best selection.

Shop Late

Save most of your back-to-school shopping for a month or two after school starts. This is when the latest fashions hit the clearance rack.

Shop Year-Round

The back-to-school season doesn't have to send you into a shopping frenzy. Look for good clothing deals year-round, and you may be able to skip the back-to-school crowds and sticker-shock altogether.