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Back-to-School Shopping: 3 Creative Ways to Save Money This Year

Back-to-School Shopping: 3 Creative Ways to Save Money This Year

It’s almost time…kids will be zipping up their backpacks and sharpening pencils for the first day of school. Even as parents are busy enjoying these final days of summer fun, many caregivers are already thinking about the challenges of back-to-school . 

There are plenty of items kids need for school and supplying them can get expensive. Last year, USA Today estimated that American parents would collectively spend about $36.9 billion, similar to the year before.

To make this year easier, we’ve gathered some creative ideas for getting all the gear your kids need while sticking to your household budget.  

3 Creative Back-to-School Shopping Ideas to Save Money this Year

Back-to-school clothes:  Every kid wants to look great and feel confident about their appearance – especially as they get older. Fortunately, there’s a trend that’s been making clothes shopping less expensive for a lot of families: Many high school and middle school students are into thrift store shopping, which teens refer to as “thrifting.” 

Hunting for used clothes appeals to many kids because it helps the environment. It also gives them access to clothing and sneaker brands that are trending, while still fitting their budget. 

Just like the TikTok stars who show off their “vintage” finds, teens can hunt for bargains at local thrift stores near their homes and online through resale sites like (Another bonus if you use Along with buying used clothes at low prices, you can also sell clothing that your teen grows out of or no longer likes to wear.) 

Facebook marketplace can also be a great place to search for second-hand kids’ clothes. You may find sellers in your local community or folks elsewhere in the country who include shipping in the price they charge. 

Sports equipment swapping:  Whether your child plays competitive sports on a varsity team or “rec league” sports in your community, they are going to need gear. Prices for things like baseball gloves and football cleats seem to climb every year. And as kids grow, there’s no way around needing to replace these items. 

One great way to minimize the cost of kids’ sports equipment this school year is to participate in a community swap event. Many school districts organize swap events where families can share a few items their child no longer uses and go home with a few items their child needs. 

Ask friends and neighbors  to see if any events like this are scheduled for the weeks before or right after school starts. If there are no local events already planned in your community, you can start one. Make plans to trade with your school or among friends and neighbors. 

Another option: Look for Facebook swap groups in your area or start one of your own. 

Search for local Buy Nothing groups:  For every person who needs something, there’s another who is eager to get rid of clutter. Many people are looking to make space by giving away items they don’t need, and this can include things like gently used backpacks, calculators, sports equipment or art supplies that their kids no longer use. 

One way to tap into this sharing economy is by joining a local Buy Nothing group. There are official Buy Nothing groups all over the United States and around the world.

Even with these strategies, there will be some items that you need to buy brand new. If you don’t have the savings available this year to cover that unavoidable back-to-school shopping here’s some good news: You don’t have to use a credit card for your back-to-school shopping. 

Stop in to your local 1st Franklin Financial branch or call to talk with the “Friendly Franklin Folks” about a small personal loan that you can pay back on an affordable fixed payment schedule, rather than paying snowballing credit card interest rates that can grow. 

Even if you’ve had credit trouble in the past and may have poor credit now, 1st Franklin is here to work with you and figure out the best way to get you the personal loan you need. You can even begin your application online and then complete it with help from one of our team members. 

Back-to-school season can be full of fun moments and great experiences – especially if the cost of back-to-school shopping isn’t a worry this year.