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Back to School Shopping- Avoiding Credit Card Debt

Back to school shopping is usually a great time for kids and a budget concern for parents. Dropping lots of cash all at once can be challenging- especially if your child has high end tastes. Rather than ending up with credit card debt, here are a few ways to prepare for back to school clothes shopping.

With our credit counseling tips, avoiding credit card debt with shopping can be done.

With our credit counseling tips, avoiding credit card debt with shopping can be done.

Back to School Shopping on a Budget- No Credit Card Debt

Budgeting for back to school clothes shopping is the best way to avoid using credit cards and racking up debt. By setting aside a little money each month or just a few months before August, you will be ready with cash to make your purchases. It will feel great! So, what does that look like?

Let’s say you want to spend $200 per child on clothing.

$200/3 months of saving= $67/month

$200/5 months of savings= $40/month

$200/8 months of savings= $25/month

The earlier you start, the less of a budget strain saving will be.

Last Minute Back to School Shopping Savings

If you are new to budgeting, there are probably a few categories, like back to school clothes shopping, that were forgotten. It’s the infrequent financial needs that tend to cause trouble in the budget. I’ve certainly experienced this!

There are still ways to get your kids dressed for the upcoming school year without accumulating credit card debt.

Shopping Tricks that Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Here are a few ways to successfully back to school shop without going into debt.

  • Spread out the shopping. Rather than one big shopping weekend, purchase only what you can afford for that month. Then go out again the following month when your budget is refreshed. The fun will last longer.
  • Mix and match old and new clothing. Are kids really going to remember or care if your kids wore those pants last year? Pants are an especially expensive part of the wardrobe that you can reuse or buy in spurts over time.
  • Swap with other families. If you are close with other families around your child’s age, try setting up a clothing swap. The children will get some new gear and you will be one step closer to eliminating credit card debt as an option for outfitting your kids.
  • Wait to shop for bigger sales. Stores will want to get their merchandise out towards the end of August or September. Rather than shopping early in the summer or even in August, wait to get better deals. Labor Day is another big sale weekend to wait for.
  • Shop at thrift or second-hand stores. While this takes time, it can be a fantastic option for a small budget. People donate great items all the time and the proceeds usually go to a good cause. These stores also run deals regularly throughout the week.

Giving your kids new clothes for school doesn’t have to mean buying all brand new clothing and then having to pay down credit card debt. This can be a great opportunity to teach your kids about the importance of budgeting and saving for what you want.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 



Michelle is a regular contributor to Talking Cents. She has taken several financial courses on debt management and is ready to circulate what she has learned from them as well as lessons from her own life- family to DIY projects to student loan debt.

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