As Clothing Prices Soar, Parents Resort to More Frugal Back to School Shopping Tips Like These

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Clothes Shopping Thanks to steadily increasing cotton and labor costs, fashion manufacturers are cutting back on both quality and extras. Instead, they're using inexpensive tweaks to con shoppers into believing they're actually getting more for their money -- thus the new slang term "con-flation." It looks like parents aren't buying it, however. The National Retail Foundation released a study in late July indicating back-to-school shoppers plan to spend less this year across the board.

According to the study, "Parents are actually taking inventory of last year's items, asking kids to...try on those 'old' jeans, and check if the tennis shoes still fit."

The Labor Department reported clothing prices rose 1.2 percent in July, the third straight increase in the last year. In 12 months, clothing costs rose 3.1 percent, the biggest yearly increase since July 1992.

Shopper pragmatism is one way to beat the system; another is to use cost-saving methods to reduce back-to-school budgets. Here are six recommendations.

1. Examine the Extras

Thinner jeans and cap sleeves became standard for manufacturers looking to reduce their production costs. Watch for other cost-cutting tweaks, like fake pockets and buttonholes. Stores can charge shoppers up to $10 more for an embellishment that costs them pennies to produce.

2. Don't Give Into the Tweet

Creative social marketing techniques reach younger audiences in a forceful way. Facebook-based coupons, sale announcements, and aggressive Tweeting make it look like kids will get a good buy when they're actually being manipulated into patronizing higher-end merchants.

3. Shop Online

Surfing for school clothes is easier than comparison shopping between brick-and-mortar outlets. The wise shopper knows, however, they can reduce their costs further at places like JCPenney by using free shipping codes, or by joining free shipping clubs.

4. Consign and Buy

Kids grow out of clothes so quickly there's often still lots of wear left in them. Consignment stores turn old clothes into cash while offering potential purchases for new items. Most shops make you wait for payment until clothing is sold, but the female-clothing chain Plato's Closet pays at drop off.

5. Swap Clothing

Many swap websites allow parents to trade old for new without the long wait of consignment stores. Members can make trades either locally or across the country, but long-distance swaps require both parties pay for shipping.

6. Hold Out for the Holidays

Sales start after back-to-school shopping is usually completed. Shoppers who hold off until later in the fall -- or even for holiday sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Free Shipping Day -- can save on fall fashions.

I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!

Melissa
Melissa @ Mommy Living the Life of Riley!
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4 Responses to As Clothing Prices Soar, Parents Resort to More Frugal Back to School Shopping Tips Like These!

    Momfever Says:

    1

    Those are some great frugal tips! Thanks.

    At Home Mommy Says:

    3

    Thanks for the tips! I recently wrote a post about back to school shopping on the cheap as well. My favorite tip, though it’s getting too late now, is to shop for most of the back to school clothing at garage sales. These are much cheaper than consignment stores or even secondhand stores. But I also like the tip about checking what kids already have that will still work.

      Melissa Says:

      4

      Thanks so much for stopping by! One of my favorite ways to save money on back to school clothing is to make capris out of pants and short-sleeve shirts out of long-sleeve shirts. When I was a child, it seemed I was always growing taller, but wasn’t necessarily getting bigger in the waist. So when the sleeves on my long-sleeve shirts were too short, a quick hem could easily turn them into short sleeve shirts or even 3/4 sleeve shirts. Also, pants can quickly become capris or even knee-length shorts for the next school year as long as the waist still fits and the clothes are in good shape! :thumbs up:

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