smart spending

6 tips for frugal back-to-school savings

Make a list
Make a list

Rowley recommends using your clothing inventory as a start to back-to-school savings by creating a shopping list from it of what you need to buy.

"For clothing, focus on five to seven well-made, easy-care basic items and change the look by mixing in a few less expensive pieces," she says.

A wardrobe for a girl might include two pairs of jeans, a pair of khakis or black pants, two shirts, a sweater, and a skirt or a dress in a basic color. Mix in low-cost, colorful T-shirts, tank tops to wear under the shirts, scarves, tights and belts, Rowley says.

"Kids usually don't outgrow the accessories," she says. "Also, look for summer pieces -- maybe a short-sleeved dress that can stretch into next season by adding leggings and a sweater."

Use your list as a checklist while shopping. You don't want to wander into a department store without a back-to-school saving strategy and watch your child fall in love with a $60 T-shirt, Rowley says.

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