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Published on August 28, 2013, by in Au Pair.

The days leading up to the beginning of a new school year are exciting for kids and parents alike, but they can also be expensive. Kids tend to grow so fast that last year’s clothing is hopelessly outgrown by the time the new semester rolls around, which means that you’re essentially forced to replace your child’s entire wardrobe each year. There are ways to save big bucks on those trendy new clothes, however. All you need is a bit of ingenuity and the ability to think outside the back-to-school-sale box.

Host a Clothes Party

Put a call out to other parents in your kids’ playgroups or your social circle to arrange a clothing party. Instead of food or drinks, everyone brings their gently worn children’s items that have been outgrown for trading and swapping. Not only will you be able to score some great items for your kids without spending a fortune, but you’ll also be able to make room for those new clothes by clearing out the things they aren’t able to wear any longer.

Turn to Social Media Closet Shopping Collectives

Social networking sites have changed the way that people interact with one another and share information. They’ve also changed the way that some creative parents shop. Facebook groups and even Instagram closet shoppers post their kids’ outgrown items for a fraction of retail prices, creating great deals that you can snap up for the back to school rush. Sellers are able to unload old clothing without paying listing and processing fees to online auction sites, and you’re able to find the clothes your brood needs to start the new year off in style. It’s wise to be cautious with social media shopping, though. There are no processing or listing fees to worry about, but there’s also little to no recourse for fraudulent listings or items that arrive damaged.

Learn Your Way Around a Sewing Machine

When you’re handy with a needle and thread, the world of frugal fashion becomes even more accessible. Make a knock-off version of the designer dress your daughter is clamoring for. Lengthen a hem or let out some darts to get a few more months of wear out of favorite items your kids are outgrowing. Alter thrift-store finds to create truly unique, one-of-a-kind items. The sky really is the limit when you’re able to make or alter clothing, so you may find that learning your way around the sewing machine is an investment that pays off in spades.

Snag Clothing Lots from Online Auction Sites

Clearing out a passel of outgrown items is tedious enough. When tech-savvy parents decide to unload those threads on an online auction site, they’re faced with the choice of creating a slew of individual listings or taking a shortcut by selling entire lots at a discounted price. Look for lots of clothing that contain several items in your kids’ sizes, and snap them up when the price is right. You’ll be able to save on the clothes and you can consolidate shipping.

Skim Local Internet Classified Ads

When you need a new lawnmower at a good price, are ready to advertise for a childcare provider, are on the hunt for a new job or just want to browse collectibles in your area, local online classified ads are probably the first place you turn. What you may not realize is that those sites can also serve as a clearinghouse for kids’ clothing. Post your own castoffs to earn a little bit of money in order to offset the cost of new clothes, then skim for great deals to replenish kids’ closets. Just be sure that you look for items that come from smoke- and pet-free homes to avoid unpleasant odors or potential allergy triggers.

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