Don't let shoes bust your budget! Learn some ways to save money on your children's shoes.
If you have kids, you know that shoes can be a burden on the budget. Kids just don't stop growing, do they? I generally need to replace all three kids' shoes every 3-4 months due to growth or getting worn out. As you can imagine, it really adds up. Here are my strategies for saving money on new children's shoes.
Saving money on children's shoes
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Have less shoes
This may seem obvious, but it is a sure way to cut down on your shoe budget. I found this easier with my son than with my daughters.
My son has one pair of sneakers; that gets him through most situations. In the summer, he also has a pair of sandals to wear to the pool or anywhere he doesn't need sneakers.
The girls seem to always need one extra pair of shoes because of dresses. In addition to their everyday sneakers, they have a pair of Mary Janes in the winter and a pair of sandals in the summer. I imagine this may change as the kids get older, but it's working for now.
Famous Footwear and DSW, to name a few, have rewards programs where you earn points for your purchases. Each quarter you receive reward dollars to spend, plus you receive other coupons throughout the year.
Just this month, I received my reward from Famous Footwear, a $5 off any purchase coupon plus a mailing with deals for May, June and July: $10/50, 20% your entire purchase, and 30% off one item.
Only shop during sales and promos
Most stores offer Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off sales (key when you have twins as I do). If you have more than one child, plan to buy their shoes at the same time; if you only have one child, try to buy the next size up.
Just as with grocery shopping, be sure and combine coupons with sales and other promos to get the best deal. Last summer, I combined a Famous Footwear coupon with their Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off sale to get two pairs of sandals for the twins for just $15 total.
Shop at outlet stores
It may be worth the drive if you need brand-name shoes. When my son needed extra-wides, I would drive out to the Stride Rite Outlet (at that time, about 25 miles away from where we lived) and buy several pairs at a time.
Now, I live closer to a set of outlet stores and continue to purchase his wide shoes at Stride Rite Outlet, paying only $20-25 for the same shoes that are $40+ at the mall store.
Try Amazon for shoe sales
I didn't realize Amazon sold shoes until I started Slickdealing in the fall of 2007. Now it's one of the first places I check when it's time to replace my children's shoes. Just last month, I bought Mary Janes for my girls for just $9.49 each.
If you're earning Amazon GCs with Swagbucks, you can even get your shoes at Amazon for FREE. The shoe deals only work out for me once or twice a year, but it's always worth checking. You can be alerted to shoe deals through a site like Slickdeals or Amazon's Gold Box Deals.
Resell your children's shoes
By reclaiming some money at the end of the shoes' life (be sure they're in good condition), you decrease your overall cost of the shoes. Try selling children's shoes on Cragislist, Ebay, yard sales and consignment sales. For example, I sold last year's sandals at my recent yard sale for $3 each, making my final out-of-pocket for both pairs of sandals just $9.
Of course, all of the above strategies work on Mommy's shoes too! Try applying these ideas to your shoe purchases in the next few months, and let me know how it goes. What other ways have you found to save money while shoe shopping?