Friday, July 30, 2010

Back to School Clothing: Go Green Save Green

Last night I wrote about ways to go green and save green on school supplies. Tonight I figured I'd share my two cents for how to do the same with clothing.

There are different ways to consider what makes clothing green. There are those made with organic cotton. Some clothes are even made from recycled materials. It's also green to buy at consignment sales or garage sales because it's giving clothes another life. Personally, we do most of our kids "shopping out of a box"--boxes of clothes passed down to us from friends and family. Free is good! Finally, green might just mean purchasing better quality from the start so that the clothes will last longer.

When I say "quality," I don't mean you have to buy boutique or froo-froo. Kids need to feel free to play and get dirty in my opinion. But this is a lesson I've learned the hard way with shoes. When the boys were really young, Wal-mart and Target were my go-to for shoes. That was fine since they out-grew them before they out-wore them. As they got older, I turned to Sketchers bought at Kohl's. They worked fine for about three months, when stitching began to pop and holes started appearing. When I asked my friends Amy and Shannon where they bought shoes, they unanimously said, "Stride Rite. Yes, they're more expensive, but one pair will last all year."

So today I checked the Stride Rite website and saw that everything in the store is buy one, get one half off 'til August 29; no coupon necessary. We hopped in the car. The prices for boys' sneakers ranged from $30 to $55. Each of the boys got identical shoes and I saved $25. Tip: You might wait to shop during the tax free weekend (Friday, August 6 - Sunday, August 8), but last time I went to Stride Rite on a tax free day, there were 25 customers in front of me. No thanks.

Though fine chocolate has nothing to do with clothing your kids, one principal of green shopping is clustering your trips. Since the Godiva store is only two shops away from Stride Rite, I went in for my free piece of chocolate. I signed up for the free rewards club months ago, which lets you pick one FREE piece of chocolate every month (no purchase necessary), but this was my first chance to try it. I picked one of the incredible truffles and each kid got a taste. Heaven!

If you make it to West Town Mall tomorrow (7/31), you might check out The Children's Place sale. With these coupons, you could save up to 30%. Thanks, Coupon Katie.

We then headed over to Kohl's since I had several ways to save:
A. It's the mega 2 day sale.
B. It was during power hours (tomorrow they are from 7am -1pm).
C. I had a coupon for an additional 15% off everything in the store.
D. I had a $10 coupon emailed to me (no minimum required) for shopping in the newly renovated Morrel Road sotre.
E. If I spent $50 (after all these savings), I could earn $10 Kohls cash.

My plan was to get just enough underwear for the boys to pay little out of pocket. "I don't want underwear! I want a watch!" Bobby whined. "You don't need a watch. You need underwear." I was being sensible and frugal! Then we walked past the backpacks. "Look, Mom, Bakugan! It's perfect! Can I get it?! Please!" I rarely give in to my children's requests in the store, but there's a part of me that knows the joy of starting each school year fresh and new. Nothing does that better than new shoes and a new backpack. Though the greener choice is to stick with a backpack til it falls apart, I relent on this one. Devin was elated at the Buzz Lightyear pack with a 3-D image. At least they were half off and I saved an additional 15% and $10 off my total.

Another place to consider for backpacks if you're out tomorrow is OfficeMax. They have a sale (through 7/31) that gives you the full price of up to two backpacks in MaxPerks Bonus Rewards. If you need other office supplies, this is a way to get free backpacks.

I'll close with a suggestion for all those old sneakers hiding in the crevices of your closets. Don't throw them away! Donate them instead to Nike ReUSE a Shoe and they will be recycled into rubber surfaces for playgrounds, basketball courts, and tennis courts. You can drop off up to 10 athletic shoes (any brand) at the Nike Factory Store in Sevierville or host a group shoe drive. I'm hoping to make a trip to the Smokies with the kids before school starts. Thanks to Couponing in Critical Times for the tip.

What ways do you go green and save green on back to school clothes?

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