Students by a school bus © Hero Images-Corbis

While in some ways it seems as though summer has just started, school is going to be starting before we know it, which means that it is almost time for back-to-school shopping. Depending on how much your little one grew over the summer, the cost of purchasing a new school wardrobe can add up quickly.

Luckily, some back-to-school shopping deals are already available, but if you are looking for ways to save even more, check out these tips that will have your child looking stylish without breaking the bank.

No. 1: Resale stores

When I was a kid, we did quite a bit of our shopping in resale stores. The cool thing about this to me at the time was that our budget went so much further. I was a little shopaholic even then, so I loved being able build an entirely new wardrobe for less than $20!

In addition to the usual stores like Goodwill, smaller thrift stores, and even garage sales, be sure to check out online consignment stores such as ThredUp (thredup.com) and Moxie Jean (moxiejean.com), where the selection of gently used clothing for children is quite vast and the prices are low. At both of these online stores you will even find the occasional brand new item that can be purchased for just a fraction of the original retail cost.

If you have old clothing that you need to get rid of, these sites will usually let you trade in or consign items for credit, which you can then use to purchase new clothing for your little one.

No. 2: Online sample sale sites

I am consistently able to find good deals for myself at online sample sale sites and some of the sites frequently offer fabulous deals on children's clothing as well. Zulily (zulily.com) is the number one site I would recommend, as they offer nearly twenty new sales per day for everyone from babies to big kids to moms and the prices usually cannot be beat. Other sample sale sites that occasionally offer clothing for kids includes Rue La La (ruelala.com), Gilt (gilt.com) and HauteLook (hautelook.com).

The one thing to keep in mind with online sample sale sites is that shipping can sometimes take a few weeks, so if this is your preferred method of shopping, you will want to start your shopping on the early side to ensure arrival before the school year begins.

No. 3: Use apps to save more

I wasn't an early adapter to the smartphone movement, but I cannot imagine living without one now! While I certainly know how to waste time on my phone, one of the ways I try to put it to good use is by using money-saving apps. Two of my favorite apps are the Target Cartwheel App and the Shop Your Way App.

With the Target Cartwheel App, you can log into the app to find special coupons that are not available anywhere else. There's currently a "back-to-school" section of deals within the app where discounts are available on things such as school supplies and backpacks, and coupons for children's apparel are also frequently available. One of the many great things about the Cartwheel App is that these deals can be used in conjunction with any other sales or coupons that may be available.

Shop Your Way is the rewards app for Sears and Kmart, and part of the reason I like this app so much is that not only does it keep track of the points you earn on purchases, but users are frequently rewarded with surprise coupons, such as an extra $10 off any $75 purchase.

No. 4: Repurpose this season's clothing

One thing I have never understood is having a new wardrobe for every season. This isn't the way I was raised, as we basically wore the same clothing year-round while making some modifications. For instance, summer T-shirts can be worn year-round with a cardigan or sweatshirt, and summer skirts can be worn during the winter with a pair of leggings or tights. Nearly everything except the bulkiest items can be worn throughout most of the year.

If you and your children can find creative ways to wear summer clothing during the school year you will end up saving big bucks. If your children are in need of larger sizes, now is the time to shop the end-of-summer clearance sales, where most summer items (as well as items from previous seasons) are being marked down to bargain basement prices.

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