DETROIT – Parents: do your kids eyes light up when they know it's almost time to buy new clothes for school? Are you worried about your bank account shrinking while their wardrobes grow?
Melissa Buckles runs the "Bargain Shopper Mom" website and her back-to-school routine could save your family some money.
Step one, she told Ruth to the Rescue, is to check all your children's closest before you head to the store. Do they have clothes that still fit? Do they have clothes that can be handed down to a sibling? And, can something they wore last year have be given a new look for the new school year?
"One way I like to save is to repurpose," Buckles said. "So, a girls dress could also be a tunic, add leggings to it."
Shop Early, Shop Late
Another suggestion is to shop during summer sales and not to wait until August. It's part of her "Shop Early, Shop Late" technique.
"If you want to get a cute, nice outfit for the first day of school, look at summer sales and you can get a great deal on a new outfit," said Buckles.
Then, wait until fall clothes go on sale for more bargain shopping. Also buying winter clothes as the season ends saves money on expensive sweaters that could be used the following year.
Coupons, Coupons, Coupons!
Just like with school supplies and groceries, "Don't shop online or in a store without looking for a coupon," Buckles suggested.
She told Ruth to the Rescue there are some alternatives to the mall and department stores if you're looking to save on those trendy, brand-name items. She suggests looking for gently-used brand name clothes at Plato's Closet or even eBay.
Buckles is also a big fan of flash sites. "Flash sale sites are sites that have excess inventory from other companies that they have put on sale."
She says the sites feature excess inventory from other companies. The flash site will post that merchandise online and hold a sale for 72 hours, which means you have to act fast to grab the savings. Buckles says the savings can be up to 60% or 70%.
You do need to be a member to view the sales, but she says memberships is free.
Zulily is one of Buckles favorite sites, but she has a list to others on her website bargainshoppermom.com.