Everyday Living Tips | Parenting | Students

Thrift Store Back To School Clothes Are Still New

How many parents out there get anxious when it’s back to school, and their kids ask for new clothes?

Going back to school is typically associated with buying clothes and supplies only because a mass marketing system has sucked us in.

It’s not just the parents but the children who learn from television programs, video games, movies and the company they keep.

I’ve been searching online websites like Sportchek as our son is a fan of jogging pants.

Have you seen the prices? One pair of Addidas joggers can cost up to $50, which is insane.

For even more savings, I search Rakuten for cashback before making any online purchases, including clothing.

The good thing is that there are options available to parents who cannot pay that kind of money.

Currently, our son isn’t too picky, but there are some things he won’t wear, and he’s going on seven years old.

Today, I want to look at ways to save on back-to-school clothing and change the focus from new to new to me.

thrift store back to school clothes for kids.
Back To School Clothes On A Budget

School Clothes In With The Old Out With The New

I bet I caught you on that one, but it’s true.

I’m not suggesting you don’t buy new school clothes, instead of feeling pressured into them.

As soon as August rolls around, the Back to School deals appears in the local flyers and media.

The reason for this is because retailers want parents to get ready for school ahead of time.

With many families struggling to get ahead financially, spending a fortune on school clothes are just out of the question.

The first year our son went into junior kindergarten, his school clothes were second-hand.

Kids don’t need $400 trainers to go back to school and name-brand clothes.

If parents teach their children young about spending money, it helps them understand a budget.

For example, mommy has $200 to buy you new school clothes, and we have to make a list of what is needed.

Together, you will write out what the child needs to know what you’re looking for.

Below is a mix and match of clothing for both boys and girls so neutral.

  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 7 t-shirts
  • 2 hoodies
  • 1 skirt
  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • 2 dress shirts
  • 7 pairs of socks
  • Under garments for boys and girls
  • 2 pairs of runners (one for indoors and one for outdoors)
  • Rainboots
  • Snowboots
  • Rain jacket
  • Winter jacket
  • Winter apparel (gloves, scarf, hat)
  • Fall jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Backpack
  • Lunch Bag

I think you get the picture and can see how expensive school clothes and accessories can be.

The above list doesn’t even include school supplies yet. Ouch!

It’s great if your child can wear clothing for more than one year, but if not, prepare in advance.

Set up a projected expenses budget and find deals throughout the year and buy them when you can.

School Clothes Don’t Have To Be New

Why is there this need to always wear something new or different?

I’m pretty sure most people spend their time worrying about other things rather than what John or Suzie wore to work.

Maybe clothing is the next step up the career ladder, and if Suzie dresses better than Sarah, she’s a shoo-in.

It sounds daft, but this does happen.

We put too much emphasis on what people wear rather than what their skills and experience entail.

Parents become influenced by their school experiences and try to help their children through the process.

If a parent was bullied because they had weird hair, they ensure their child has a stylish cut.

Pauline’s mom was bullied because her shoes had holes, so she makes sure her daughter always has the best quality shoes.

Everything influences us, but if you don’t want to buy new, buy old and crush this out-of-control Back to School financial dump most parents face.

It can be the most exciting time for parents and financially devastating if they aren’t prepared and have a clear path of need and want.

School Needs vs. School Wants

Empty Classroom

Back-to-school shopping deals are in full swing, and we see prices get far more expensive, even for the modest budget.

I don’t understand why parents buy into this “Need for New Stuff” trend that has gone on for donkey’s years.

Do all kids need a new wardrobe to head back to class in September? Probably not.

Many kids fit into their clothes for longer than 12 months and could last even longer if washed and handled correctly.

Related: Should basic money skills be taught in school?

I’m sure parents don’t want to whip out a cart of cash for new school clothes when kids often lose them, forget them, stain them and generally don’t take the best care of what they have.

Enter the teenage room with clothes EVERYWHERE.

When parents wash clothes, that is the last-ditch effort to make them last longer and get the most out of their financial investment.

If not, you’ll be buying new school clothes every year for your child.

Related: Second-Hand Clothes from the Thrift Store- Are they worth it?

Media Influence On Clothing

Our son learned in school that media could persuade you into buying something you don’t need.

This lesson caught my attention during online learning because it allowed the children to understand why ads are on all technology.

Ads are there to persuade consumers to buy so they feel they are keeping up with the crowds.

Look at what happened recently when Donald Trump and his wife Melania showed up in Texas, wearing high-heel shoes.

A media frenzy happened because she should have dressed down for the Harvey disaster relief visit.

She does the following day with a ball cap, pants, and runners.

Why? Because the masses told her to.

She was influenced even though she probably wanted to wear high heels.

It’s not as if she would do any clean-up and relief, but this was expected out of respect for the devastation.

Her shoes had no bearing on her visit, and we made it that way.

Isn’t it amazing how influence and judgment can alter our perception of who we are, what we wear, and how we present ourselves?

The thought process of spending money all starts when we are young.

Just recently, an Instagram influencer racked up 10k of credit card debt, all for online fame buying clothing and accessories, among other things.

Her shoes aren’t going to influence the empathy she has for the disaster.

The only difference is that Melania is wearing runners and a ball cap if you look at the photos. Who cares?

It was all about those shoes when the focus should have been on Harvey Disaster Relief. My point is our focus turns away from real issues.

Back To School Clothes Budget

One of our friends, who has a child returning to elementary school next week in grade 8, spent $800 on back-to-school clothes for her. 

Yes, Mrs. CBB and I both nodded our heads and cranked our necks around.

However, this is not uncommon, especially for parents who have money or something to prove.

Related: Back to school student budget

I often wonder if parents go out of their way to buy the best school clothes and accessories to ensure their kids hang out with the in-crowd. By doing so, parents believe their children will be safe from bullies.

That’s a steep price to pay for something that should never happen in the first place.

Again, media will always influence boys and girls, men and women, because we want to wear what the stars are wearing or a particular look is trending.

It doesn’t matter if there is money available or not; it’s a WANT rather than a NEED. Sometimes this can get you into big trouble.

School Clothes vs. School Uniform

From experience, I was the guy who didn’t care about fancy clothes and looking ‘cool’ for the girls.

My time at school was about learning and getting the hell out of school.

One or two friends didn’t mind hanging outside with me riding our bikes and exploring, which was fine with me.

Although, I wanted growth and educational success because my parents motivated me in that direction.

Buying something with money deemed “used” was new. The reason being was that I had never owned it before was taught to me by my parents.

The product may not be in brand new condition but works and functions as it should, so it’s unique enough.

 Again, the same went for buying school clothes for after school since I wore a school uniform.

Living in the UK, we wore what would be considered in Canada the ‘Catholic school uniform,’ and they still do.

Back-to-school uniforms don’t always have to be purchased brand new either because countless parents and teenagers hope to sell what they no longer need.

The typical schoolgirl uniform in the UK is the same as the schoolboy uniform, pants, blazer, tie, and a white dress shirt. That’s it.

School Uniforms Do Make A Difference

It’s not always about the price of the clothes’ style but about uniformity where everyone looks the same.

School uniforms reduce worry for parents who can’t afford school clothes, and even then, uniforms aren’t cheap.

However, some children wear hand-me-down uniform clothing from their sisters and brothers, which is perfectly fine.

Wearing a uniform to school reduces the threat of bullying based on clothing and what parents cannot afford.

For example, John’s parents bought him a new bike, which cost $1000, whereas Ian’s parents bought him a new bike from the Thrift Store for $20.

Don’t you worry, the rich run with the rich even when kids are young based on what they believe their parents have or don’t have?

It means if kids live in a big house, parents have good jobs, and they get what they want, these types of kids are out of reach for the budget-family kids who don’t get everything.

In speaking with my niece, who is overweight for her age and has mild autism, Aspergers, she says that she rather enjoys the uniform because the focus is on the person rather than trends.

This thought process comes from a 12-year-old girl who knows she’s different and intelligent; however, sometimes, she worries about being bullied.

So far, she’s doing well because she is a strong girl, but even we know that hiding behind emotions can be easy to do.

Thrift Young And Save Money

My parents will be a thrifty couple for life, and even when we made our recent trip back to the UK, we toured almost every second-hand shop that we could in the areas we visited.

Teaching our son early that shopping at the thrift store, garage sales or other media outlets is every day has made a difference.

Parents can also find new with tags or used school clothes for far less than buying new ones at the mall.

I also want to point out that shopping online clearance sections paired with discount codes are helpful.

Finding Deals On School Clothes

Each offers valuable savings for any parents who want or need to slim down their back-to-school clothes budget.

  • Kijiji
  • Friends and Family Hand-me-downs
  • eBay
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Facebook Groups or Pages
  • Thrift Stores, Consignment, Second-hand Shops
  • Neighbourhood Apps
  • Church community groups
  • Free Stuff listed online
  • Garage Sales
  • Weekly Flyers
  • Using discount codes, credit card rewards, store specific rewards points

Related: The Ultimate Back To School Budget Supplies Guide For Kids

Don’t Lose Your Smile Or Voice For Money

Overall, a back-to-school budget should include old and new items based on need rather than want.

The mindset of a child starts from a very young age, and it’s up to us parents to show them the way and hope they take the right path.

Related: Simple Back To School Budget Guidance

Money doesn’t buy happiness; smiles do because they are the best accessory, even if school clothes are thrift bargains.

Related: The Ultimate Back To School Savings Guide

Discussion Question: What can you buy at the Thrift store that children can reuse each year?

Please leave me your comments below, and I will respond to every one of them.

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