Back to School 2015

It’s August, which means the Back-to-School countdown is on!

(This is an emotional time for me, as my oldest will be starting Preschool in September — so if you hear any far-off wails that sound like a moose moaning or airplane running out of fuel, rest assured it’s just me sobbing.)

But — I digress. Everyone knows Back-to-School means new clothes, shoes and gear for kids — and an unpleasant Visa statement for parents. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some of my favorite places to get great bargains on kids’ clothes:


I have mixed feelings about outlets — sometimes, I wonder how great a “deal” they really are. As such, I’d recommend going to the outlets during Labor Day or another “big sale” holiday — and checking online ahead of time for any sort of coupons.

There are three outlets around Cincinnati:

  1. Cincinnati Premium Outlets: Located up 1-75 in Monroe, these outlets are convenient and new. If you’re looking for designer names for yourself or your kids, this is the place. You can find Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and even Sperry for your kids here!
  2. Tanger Outlets in Jeffersonville: If you drive an hour (or so) North on 1-71, you’ll arrive at the Jeffersonville Outlets (by the Washington Courthouse exit). These outlets are a little more out of the way, but I think the drive’s worth it. There is a big playground for kids to play on, and a Pottery Barn where you can find backpacks and other school stuff (or dorm items) at great prices. I found Julian’s twin bed here — the exact same style that you can find in stores, at literally half the price.
  3. The Gap Factory Outlet in Hebron, KY: this hole-in-the-wall place has by far the best deals — but you need to be willing to comb through the racks of hole-y, damaged clothes to find them! My friend once found a brand-new winter coat for her son here for less than $10.

Consignment Stores

Don’t dismiss consignment stores — at the rate kids grow through their clothes, many of the items at second-hand stores are like-new — and you can even find brand-new items if you look!

  1. The Snooty Fox: don’t let the name deter you — there’s nothing “snooty” about this place! The Snooty Fox is an upscale consignment store that sells like-new, brand-name clothing! My daughter’s first winter coat came from “The Snoot” — a Columbia fleece I got for $7! If you have clothing to sell, consider opening an account; for a one-time fee of $20, you can drop off your clothing, then check back periodically to see what’s sold (and get cold, hard cash!).
  2. Once Upon A Child: this well-known resale chain sells kids’ clothing and shoes — but the real jackpot here are the toys! You can find all sorts of baby, toddler and kids’ toys at a fraction of retail prices.

Second-Hand Sales

I went to my first second-hand sale earlier this year — and I’m hooked! Think “neighborhood garage sale,” but bigger, better and all in one place!

Changing Hands Sale

This bi-annual sale takes place in the spring and fall at Madeira Elementary. I went in the spring, and found:

  1. A pair of pink Native shoes for Mary, in her size, for $6 (I was actually going to purchase these exact shoes from Amazon — for $39 bucks!)
  2. Brand-new Mini Boden and Gap Kids jeans for Mary, both for under $5
  3. A barely worn Ralph Lauren polo for Julian for $5

There were also strollers, outdoor play sets and even bedroom furniture! If you’re looking for big-ticket items, go early — by the time I arrived, those were all taken.

There was a $1 admission fee I needed cash for; but credit cards were accepted at check-out (with a $2 fee — so bring cash if you can!). The Fall Changing Hands Sale takes place 9 am – 1 pm on September 12 at Madeira Elementary, 7840 Thomas Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45243.

Rhea Lana’s

Rhea Lana’s is a semi-annual second-hand sale held at various locations nationwide. It’s described as children’s consignment event with a “boutique-like” feel, and features high-quality, gently used items such as children’s clothing, shoes, furniture, toys, books, DVDs, baby equipment and maternity items. The benefit of Rhea Lana’s is that it takes place over the course of several days, making it easier to attend.

This event takes place August 30-September 3 at Forest Fair Village, 600 Cincinnati Mills Drive, Cincinnati, OH, 45240.

MOPS Baby and Kid Sale

Well-known Moms Group MOPS hosts resale events all around the country, and on September 12, Milford’s chapter will host their fall sale. There will be 45+ moms selling their gently used kids’ clothing, cold weather gear and accessories, Halloween costumes, indoor/outdoor toys, books, games, baby gear and apparel, furniture, bedding, décor, learning activities, games and more!

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably realized that this sale takes place the same day as Madeira’s — but starts at 8 am. As such, I recommend hitting up this event first, then taking the scenic drive through Indian Hill to arrive at the Changing Hands sale right at open!

There’s a $1 entry fee — as well as a dollar fee for credit cards. The MOPS Baby and Kids Sale happens September 12 from 8 am – 1 pm at Faith Church, 5910 Price Rd., Milford, OH 45150.

back to school shopping body

So mark your calendars and save some money this school year! And use the savings for something fun like a family trip or early holiday shopping — or take the responsible route and stash it in your kids’ college funds!

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