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10 Tips for Shopping Back to School on a Budget

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Here at Momtrends we know our readers have a variety of incomes and budgets. One thing we hear loud and clear is that everyone wants to look great and that we all appreciate value and quality. That's why I teamed up with Walmart to share my 10 best tips for shopping back to school on a budget.

I shared my tips with 25 TV stations and then on a very fun Google Hangout. If you weren't able to make them, here's a video with highlights:

And here are the tips!

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1. Start by clearing out the closet and creating three piles: keep, store and give away. The “keep” pile has apparel items that are perfect for another year, including clothes that fit and are on-trend. The “store” pile can be kept if there are younger siblings in the family. The “give away” pile will help you unclutter those closets and might just get you a tax break.

2. Don’t buy everything on the first shopping trip. August is a great time to tackle the required school apparel list with a few basics (socks, underwear and gym gear), plus a few fashionable outfits to get the year off to a great start. Squirrel away a portion of your budget for September. Kids want to check out what other kids are wearing.

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3. Use different resources to get the best deals. Go online and research your kids’ favorite brands, like L.E.I., Hanes and Wranglers, to find the lowest prices – large stores such as Walmart carry these brands, and for unbeatable prices. And don’t forget the Sunday newspaper. Devote some time on the weekends to comb the ads and see what bargains you can find that week.

4. Stick to complementary colors. Ideally, you’ll put together outfits that can be easily mixed and matched to create multiple “looks” without having to go shopping again. And let’s face it, it’s easier on your wallet. For instance, a great color palette for boys is navy, gray and orange. Stocking up on colors that work together also makes getting dressed in the morning a lot less stressful.

5. Look for classic silhouettes. Bootcut jeans are always a safe bet, as are oxford shirts. Add some trendy tops and graphic tees and you’ll get a longer life out of at least one piece.

6. Transform a basic outfit with a trendy accessory. Pick up a few fun necklaces, bracelets and scarves to make a solid tee or dress look new and fresh. Bright and fun backpacks are also a great way to update an outfit.

7. Adjustable clothing is genius and can be found at retailers such as Walmart. Kids seem to grow faster during the school year. It’s not unusual to see them sprout up a few inches from September to May. Jeans with adjustable waists and hems are ideal for keeping your kids stylish as they mature. Many coats also have sleeves that can be lengthened by up to two inches.

8. Check out the trends online before you head to the stores. Have your child put together a few “inspirational outfits” and then review them together. That way, you can avoid store drama by agreeing on appropriate trends before you get there.

9. Don’t forget to think about clothes you want to work into your kids’ fall/winter wardrobe. If your kid has a favorite article of clothing, snap a picture of it and bring it shopping with you. That way, you remember to purchase items that can be paired with the clothing during the next couple of seasons. Go back to tip No. 1 – always shop the closet before you head out!

10. Agree on a budget ahead of time. It’s easy to get swept up in the moment. Know what you have to spend BEFORE you get in the store. With careful planning and a bit of creativity, you can stay on budget this season.

This was a sponsored media tour.

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