by Carol Band
New shoes, new shirts, new backpacks, new pants … The start of school means new clothes and it can get pretty expensive - especially if you are outfitting several kids.
"All the moms in my neighborhood get together before school starts," explains Denise Leone, a mother of three, ages 8 to 14. "We all bring our kids' outgrown school clothes and soccer stuff and trade. It works out great - except for me - I've got the biggest kid!"
Tips for Smart Shopping:
- Look for sales and stock up. "I buy six of everything," says Joanne Reeves, the mother of a 5-year-old boy. "That way there is one shirt and one pair of socks for every day and on the seventh day, there's laundry."
- Keep socks the same. If you only buy one brand or style of socks, matching becomes moot. Hurray!
- Buy only the minimum for starters, Becker suggests. "After school starts and my daughters see what other girls are wearing, they suddenly need whole new wardrobes!"
- Dress your child appropriately, urges third-grade teacher Andie Elwell. "Don't send your child to kindergarten in a party dress on art day, don't let your daughter wear a belly-baring shirt to middle school, don't put a belt on your second-grader that will impede his efforts in the bathroom. Think comfort and practicality. School clothes should show some degree of respect for the teacher and for other classmates."