Outfitting Kids for School Inexpensively

Quads on their way to a practice 1/2 day of school!

Some of my fondest childhood back to school memories are of the fresh, crisp new outfits that we always had ready to wear on the first day and I can’t wait to watch my children creating those kinds of memories of their own when they start school next week.  My four year old quadruplets will be starting pre-k this year and my oldest will be in the first grade so we’ve been doing lots of preparation around here and I wanted to share with you how we were able to outfit all five kids, in accordance with our county’s mandatory uniform policy, while saving as much money as possible.

All of these were $1, $3 or $5 each on clearance

All of the items in the photo above were purchased new at the end of season sales last year – I got knee socks, tights and shoes for the girls (in a size too big at the time and that worked out perfectly!) online from JC Penney last year and hoodie style sweatshirt jackets for all of the kids during their in-store clearance sale.  When the local WalMart stores started marking down the uniform tops and bottoms last year we asked what their schedule for markdowns was and we were told that the prices would go from $7 to $5 to $3 to $1 every couple of days until they were gone.  The pants seemed to go the fastest so we stocked up on our sizes in the $5 to $3 range, but we got lucky and bought all of these shirts for $1 each.

Unfortunately, this is not near enough gear for the quad squad and squad leader, so we’ve been hitting the local thrift stores and consignment sales since last spring and we’ve accumulated lots of great, gently used, outfits for all of the kids.  This way they get the best of both worlds – the fresh new outfits for the first week, and lots of backup outfits to choose from and it hasn’t been too painful on the budget since we’ve spread out the expense over the course of the spring and summer.

All three of my boys got their mommy’s wide feet (I blame my mother – she’s the carrier!) so it has always been difficult to find wide shoes in the right sizes in our limited local store selections, so I setup a “saved search” on eBay for the sizes that I was looking for.  I got an email every time new listings became available and I was able to take my time and find some awesome deals.

Finally, to get the best deals on socks and underwear (even for myself and my husband) I always like to wait for the actual back to school sales because the big box stores tend to compete with one another on their prices, you can often find bonus packs and other types of specials, and right now there are even coupons available like these:

-$1/1 Hanes Apparel Item – men, women, or kids – TARGET coupon (exp 9/11/2010)
-$1/2 Fruit of the Loom Items 8/1/2010 RP Insert (exp 9/30/2010)
$1/2 Fruit of the Loom
$1/1 Fruit of the Loom Product Aug 2010 All You Magazine (exp 9/30/2010)
$1/2 Fruit of the Loom Packaged Underwear and/or Casual Sportswear Item
$1/2 Fruit of the Loom Packaged Underwear and/or Casual Sportswear

Let us know your tips and tricks for saving money on back to school – I’d love to hear your ideas!


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  1. I’m so glad there isn’t a uniform requirement at my daughter’s school – can’t imagine trying to keep all those white shirts clean!!!!

  2. They made it a requirement the year before my oldest started and at first I was really bummered – but it does make life easy in the morning when you’re rushing to get out the door 😉 There are no fights about what to wear and everything matches!

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