ABC'S of Back to School: Saving on clothes

ShopSmart Editor-in-Chief Lisa Lee Freeman shares tips on back to school savings in the current issue of ShopSmart magazine, a division of Consumer Reports.

Save on Back-to-School Clothing for Kids:

Stall with Summer Sale Items: It's likely to still be warm outside at the beginning of the school year, so kids can often wear summer outfits that you've snagged at deep discounts. Hold off on buying fall trends until the Labor Day and Columbus Day sales.

Don't Stock Up: Take inventory of your child's wardrobe so that you don't buy unnecessary items. Then resist the temptation to stockpile for the indefinite future since kids hit growth spurts, tend to stick to favorites and can get overwhelmed with too many choices.

Arm Yourself with Coupons: Before you hit the stores, check for coupons and online coupon codes on Web sites like (or Google the names of retailers and the words "coupon code" to find sites). You could save 10 to 50 percent, or avoid shipping costs.

Try Things On: Avoid wasting money on items your child may never wear by getting them to try items on and give their approval. And always check a store's return policy before shopping.

Pay Full Price, Sometimes: You don't have to buy everything at bargain prices for a good deal. If your child loves and wears an item of clothing over and over, it's worth the extra money.

Buy Shoes Online, But Do Some Footwork: Shopping online is not only convenient but is a great way to get popular brands, colors, styles and sizes that local stores can't keep in stock. First visit the local store to scope out selection and get your child's foot measured, then look for sites that offer free shipping, no sales tax and free return shipping so you can easily return pairs. ( and

About Editor-in-Chief, Lisa Lee Freeman:

Lisa Lee Freeman is the Editor-in-Chief of ShopSmart, a shopping magazine from Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. With ShopSmart, Freeman has created a resource to help buyers make smart decisions about important household purchases. A visually compelling magazine, ShopSmart cuts through hype and gives consumers the bottom line on what to buy, whether they're shopping for food, cars, or cosmetics.

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