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Secrets to saving on back-to-school shopping

Sales are starting now on school clothing and items
Back-to-School Sales Forecast
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 13:34:45-04

It may be hard for the kids to believe, but mid-July is back-to-school shopping season.

And if you want the best deals and selection, now is the time to shop, especially with inflation top of mind for parents this year.

Angel Ballard was shopping at Walmart, looking at all their items for under a dollar.

"Inflation, everything has been crazy," she said. "So I am trying to be mindful of where the dollars are going and making sure the dollars make sense."

The good news for Angel: last year's shortages are mostly over, and shelves are stocked, according to Walmart store manager Brad Terry.

"We have seen a lot of the backlogs of the few years past have cleared, and we have an excess of inventory, we have a lot of product," he said.

Walmart, Target, and office supply stores are now better stocked than they have been in 2 years, and many of their pre-pandemic school deals are back (if just a little more expensive than before).

For instance, we found Elmer's School Glue for 54 cents at Walmart and 55 cents at Target as of July 8.

Save on clothing

But if you're looking for name-brand clothing at a deep discount, consider a used clothing chain, like Once Upon a Child.

Franchise owner Kate Finger says you'll find almost-new kids' gym shoes as low as $6, as well as brands like Patagonia, Vineyard Vines, and The North Face at a fraction of the original price.

"We're about 70% off the true retail price. You can come here and find all the brands your kids like under one roof," she said.

However, don't get carried away: experts say you should not blow your entire budget right away when shopping for clothing for back to school.

That's because kids change their minds as fast as they grow out of their new outfits.

Shopping expert Trae Bodge of TrueTrae.com says you should buy some essential items now, then wait for deeper discounts after schools start and you know your child's size for the fall.

"Some kids might go through a massive growth spurt over the summer, and then you've bought all of this merchandise that no longer fits them," she cautioned.

Also, she suggests you take advantage of tax-free weekends, now offered in more than 20 states.

And if you're paying a membership to Sam's Club or Costco, check out their back-to-school section too.

"Especially if you have multiple kids who need lots of notebooks, lots of folders, and pens," she said. "You could buy those items wholesale and split them up among your kids or even share with another family."

So check out warehouse clubs, hit Target, Walmart, and office supply stores for dollar items, and check out used clothing stores for lightly used name-brand clothing.

And that way you don't waste your money.

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