Back-to-School Shopping: How I Dress My Kids Well on a Budget (Sponsored)

Ladies, this post is sponsored by Kmart. Rest assured, all opinions are my own.

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Back-to-school season is in full swing. To prepare for the upcoming school year, I’ve been scrimping my pennies to build new, age-appropriate wardrobes for my children. Jayden, 8, will be attending third grade this year, while Sophia, 3, will be partaking in a half-day of pre-school. My kids grow fast and play hard, so new clothes are a must at the start of fall. However, money is always tight around here, so I try to stay thrifty, while still allowing my children to wear the latest fashions. So how do I do it?

Start Early and Save More

The earlier you begin your back-to-school shopping, the more you’re able to save. Why? Shopping in the weeks or months prior to the new school season allows you plenty of time to look for the best deals, coupons, and discounts on school supplies and attire. Buy a little bit here and there, instead of all at once.

Know When to Splurge

It’s not necessary for your child to have the “best” of everything. However, knowing when to splurge can save you time and money down the line. For example, it’s fine to pick up a few of those 10 cent pocket folders and quarter notebooks when they’re on sale, but choose to spend more on other supplies, like backpacks. Last year, I chose cheap over quality and ended up having to purchase several backpacks over the course of the school year. This year, I’ve wised up and I’m choosing a better quality backpack that I know will last.

Shop on Tax-Free Days

I live in New York State, which means that my purchases of eligible clothing and footwear costing $110 or less are exempt from sales tax. If you live in a state that doesn’t charge sales tax on clothing, take advantage of this perk. If not, there are many states that offer tax-free days, especially near back-to-school season. Shopping on these tax-free days can save you a quite a bit.

Create a Versatile Wardrobe

More is not always better when it comes to kid’s clothing. As most parents know, children grow out of their clothing extremely fast, which can lead to wasted money on outfits they only wear a handful of times. Plan a minimalistic wardrobe by choosing articles of clothing that can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits. For example, a standard kid’s wardrobe should include 5 tops, 3 pants, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 jackets, 2 scarves, 1 cardigan, and 1 dress (for girls).

This year, I’m taking advantage of KMart’s bundle deals, which allow me to create fashionable bundles for just $25. These bundles include awesome items like lunch boxes, backpacks, notebooks, and other must-have supplies, all with popular theme options, such as dogs, purples, or dinosaurs. See how much you can save on bundle deals at You’re sure to find a bundle deal that matches your kid’s unique style.

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For my 8-year-old son, who likes “cool skater clothes,” I’m naturally going with the “Skater” Bundle, which conveniently consists of a variety of items on my son’s supply list. Here’s what’s in my #BundleBrag:

  • Basic Editions Boy’s Long-Sleeve Polo Shirt – Striped: $9.74
  • Boys Fashion Roll Sack Lunch Bag – Colors May Vary: $4.99
  • BIC Round Stick Ballpoint Pens in Black – 10 Pack: $0.99
  • Westcott for Kids Scissors Ages 4+, Blunt Tip, 2 Scissors: $1.99
  • Pencil Twin Hole Pencil Sharpener: $1.49
  • Dixon #2 Yellow Pencils Wood-Cased Black Core – 8-Ct.: $1.19
  • RoseArt Colored Pencils, Sharpened – 12 Pencils: $1.49
  • Mead Composition Book, 100 Sheets, 9-3/4 in x 7-1/2 in, 1 each: $1.49
  • 1 Subject Notebook 70 Sheets Wide Ruled: $1.29

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This skater-themed bundle came to a total of $24.66. Not bad for all of these items! Watch the Kmart back-to-school shopping video for more shopping inspiration.

Want some help with your back-to-school shopping this year? We’re giving away two Kmart gift cards. Learn more now.

Check for Deals Online

Shopping with young children in tow is not always easy. That is why I do a majority of my clothing shopping online nowadays. Shopping online allows me to shop at night after the kids are gone to bed – and no long lines, no contending with crowded stores, and no dealing with impatient children. Many major online retailers offer fantastic back-to-school deals on clothing, footwear, and supplies, and the variety is often better than what you’d find in-store.

Consider Layaway Payments

Can’t afford to purchase school clothes all at once? Some retail stores offer layaway programs, which allow you to pay for your kid’s school clothing and supplies in small, affordable payments.

KMart is now offering a $10 Down Layaway option to help parents purchase back-to-school items for their children. Just shop for the items you need, make a down payment, and then make payments every two weeks until your items are paid off. Once your last payment is made, pick up your items. If you’re a Shop Your Way member, you’ll even earn points on your layaway purchases. And, you can sign up for text reminders so you won’t miss a payment.

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Back-to-school season can be an exciting time, but also an expensive one. By using the tips mentioned above, I was able to save hundreds this year on my children’s back-to-school shopping. With the first day of school just two weeks away, I’m confident my children will be well-prepared and well-dressed for class.