Don't bother spending money on shoes at Target. They fall apart within days of purchase. The soles of the shoes are often glued on with a weak adhesive. Payless shoes are made to last longer. Not flopping shoe soles there. But the quality of the outer shoe is weak. The "leather" shoes peel, ripple, and images rub off with minimal effort. The shoe will last but will look run over in a month. There is one shoe that holds up well, Champion sneakers. I recommend purchasing them for a child that will be participating in sports.
But if you miss the store sale and need one now, refer to Facebook. There are groups that are just for posting things you want to sell. People are selling the stylized versions of the backpacks for around $20. It really is a good buy new or used. Whatever you do, don't buy character backpacks. Children go through phases. Remember when Disney's Cars was all the rage? How about the remake of Cinderella? Does your child still want that gear you dropped all of that money on? Also, character backpacks are not meant to last. I bought my son, a die hard Batman fan, a Batman backpack shaped like the chest plate of the Batman costume. Halfway through the school year, the bottom had fallen out and the zipper had disappear. Not to mention it was difficult to spot my child in the sea of Batman backpacks. I handed down my old Jansport backpack and it shows no signs of wear. It does however have the Bat symbol etched onto it.
Check your community organizations for backpack giveaways. Churches, tribal organizations, boys and girls clubs all have some type of giveaway this time of year. Some school districts also have giveaways.
Target is notorious for their $10 denim sales. This is the biggest reason to go. Target jeans last longer than the jeans from The Children's Place. They also have the lowest prices on the basic clothing pieces, solid tops, leggings, etc. Old Navy also has a fantastic denim sale. They last just as long as the Target brands in fact. But I chose not to purchase them simply because Target came with a 5% discount and a $5 gift card. That left enough money for some pencils and notebooks.
Don't waste money on character specific folders, notebooks, pencils etc. Your children will outgrow them, trade them, lose them and your money goes out of the window. Buy them a pack of stickers and let them go to town. Wait until school starts to buy binders and notebooks. Many classrooms provide these things.
Some other money saving tips:
- Go to Costco with your friends and family. Divide up your shopping lists and share the bulk products. I bought bulk binders one year, my friend bought pens, another bought notebooks. For the price of the binders, I got binders, pens and paper. I saved money.
- A way to make money is to put your warehouse store membership to work for you. Buy in bulk and sell to others at a price lower than other stores, yet higher than the unit price you paid.
- Raid the office. You know those office supplies no one likes or uses but your boss can't send back? Ask if you can "donate" them to neighborhood kids who need school supplies.
- Hand me downs are fantastic. Go for the denim, the sweaters and the coats.
- Have a closet party for your kids. Bring last years school clothing and supplies and let the kids take turns taking what they need for this school year. Or, the parents can do this while the kids have a play date.