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Getting your kids ready for school with clothes, school supplies, team outfits and lunch supplies can be overwhelming to say the least. It isn’t necessarily something we budget for; we just expect it to happen. Nevertheless, it can explode your budget if you’re not prepared and end up overspending. Here are a few suggestions to ease your budget anxiety.

Budget

First of all, remember it is your budget and your money buying everything for your child (unless of course your child is older and has earned their own money to spend). So you control what is bought and how much you spend. Don’t always give into the “but Susie or Johnny has it and I want it” plea. Basics are basics and they don’t need to come with frills. On the other hand, you don’t need to supply your child with something that will make him or her the laughing stock just because it is a few cents cheaper than the popular item.

Garage sales

The weather is still good, and people are still having garage sales. You’d be amazed at the bargains you can get on clothing (some of it still in style and almost new if you take the time to look through it) as well as other items such as thermal lunch bags, backpacks, shoes and school items. Now, not every garage sale is going to have items you’re looking for, so spend a Saturday morning driving around and see how much fun you’ll have and the bargains you’ll pick up.

Online

If you don’t have a lot of time, the advantages to shopping online are several: you tend to get more of a selection of styles and colors, you don’t have to take your time or gas driving to the nearest mall or store, the sales can be greater with extra percentage off, and your items come right to your door. But, you need to make sure you have ordered the correct size in clothing and shoes, or it could cost you more in money to return them and extra time to wait to get the right ones.

Secondhand

You can find some of the best bargains at secondhand stores, primarily for clothing and shoes and we are fortunate to have a great selection of stores here in Klamath Falls. Watch for their sales in addition to their already low prices. Another great way to get secondhand clothing is to trade with a friend. If they have a child of the same sex as yours but only a year or two older, try asking what they are planning to do with the clothes their child outgrows. Offer them an agreeable price and it becomes a win-win for both of you.

Retail stores

There are great sales going on at our local stores for clothing and school supplies. Be sure to use all the extra percentage off coupons and store coupons as your rewards cards (if they offer them). Be sure to always ask for military, senior and any other discounts they might offer. If you’re not sure what they offer, then just ask. They will be more than glad to tell you if it means you will come to the store and shop. The rewards can really add up in several ways: extra off gasoline, rebates and credit cards that offer cash back or air miles, just to name a few.

So, look for the bargains that you know your child will like, and let them have some input. But remember, you are the one paying for everything. Make sure to get all the discounts and rewards available, and you will have helped to stay in your budget. Oh, and don’t forget to take the “first day of school” picture of your adorable or handsome child in their new outfit and accessories.