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Low cost school uniforms, clothes and back to school supplies.

Many families are seeking low cost uniforms, pencils, notebooks, shoes, cheap supplies and other items for their children. There are some charities, churches, stores, online websites, as well as non-profits that provide assistance during the back to school season. They help households by offering struggling shoppers cheap school supplies, affordable uniforms and other bargains for students.

Not only may a parent be able to buy inexpensive items for their children, but teachers can also receive discounted items for their classroom. Some of the programs available include thrift stores as well as clothing closets. Some national retailers as well as online companies also sell affordable or discounted school supplies. There are also fund raisers held by church based groups that will help income qualified families pay for a portion of what they need.

Year round sites for cheap back to school clothing, supplies, and uniforms

Thrift stores as well as clothing closets offer gently used, but cheap school uniforms, clothing, and maybe some supplies as well. Most counties have a location for their residents to shop in, and they operate year round. The inventory will change on a daily or weekly basis, so it may require stopping by a few times to find exactly what the student needs for the upcoming school year.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is heavily dependent on local churches, and some of theme operate Thrift Stores. They will offer cheap school clothes for children of all ages, including teenagers and kids in kindergartners. The reduced priced items are sold by volunteers that work at these church based thrift stores. Most are open limited hours and have a small inventory of school supplies for sale at any time, but anyone can use them regardless of their income, race, religion, and gender. Read more on St. Vincent de Paul assistance programs.

Inexpensive back to school items are also available from another national non-profit that operates thousands of Family Stores (Thrift locations). The Salvation Army is a Christian based group make up of case workers. Donations are collected from the public year round, and many retailers such as Wal-Mart also contribute items to the group.




The Family Stores operated by the Salvation Army have everything from gently used furniture to older, cheaper computers, backpacks, binders, winter coats, and much more. Some Family Centers even provide emergency gift cards as well. Tens of thousands of students from low to moderate income households shop there each year. Find help from the Salvation Army.

Goodwill Industries operates thousands of Retail Stores. Donations are accepted from the community. There tends to be a wider range of school supplies sold to the public at affordable prices, and shoppers range in age from kindergarten to college students. There are specialty items sold such as computers or tablets as well as mattresses for dorm rooms and uniforms for private and public schools. There may even be items that cover students that attend Catholic or “Magnet” Schools.

Most of the Goodwill stores have thousands of different items for sale year round. The prices are very competitive. Some items are low cost and some, such as vintage clothes, are sold at more expensive price points. People can shop at any of the three thousands locations year round for school supplies and anything else they need for their home. Call 1-800-466-3945 for information.

Free or low cost charitable clothing closets are open year round as well. These can be located at any of dozens of sites, from local food pantries to churches or places such as Catholic Charities. The school supplies or clothes for kids are usually sold at a competitive price, but some parents may be given a voucher to pay for the entire cost. This will be an emergency service only.

  • While most people usually do need to pay a minimal cost for their school supplies (such as binders, hats, or backpacks), there may be free classroom items given out in very rare instances. Examples of when this may be done is for a single mom escaping abuse, spouses of a veteran, or a teacher looking for inexpensive goods for their classroom.





Many of the clothing centers also have thrift stores on site, and these will stock up on back to school supplies during the fall and offer them at a cheap price. While there are no guarantees to finding exactly what may be needed by the child, the goal is to keep a high inventory available for shoppers. Parents may even be able to use coupons or vouchers at some of these locations. Find free items from clothing closets.

Discounted school supplies are sold at many thrift stores. There are thousands of them across the nation, some that are owned by private companies and others that are operated by charities. The ‘resale stores” sell gently used items for kids, with more deals often offered during the back to school shopping season. Find cheap laptop computers for students, sneakers, vintage clothes, uniforms, backpacks, hats and so more more - many of them items are in style. Locate a cheap thrift store for bargains near you.

Non-profits that provide seasonal, inexpensive school items

These tend to be seasonal services. They often start up in the early summer months and some run through the fall. The application period will normally be available during that period of time as well, and any low cost back to school supplies are provided on a first come and served basis. It is recommended to apply early, such as in June, July, or August at the latest. The leading agencies are below.Low cost-cheap school supplies

Non-profit Community Action Agencies are located in every county across the nation. They run a number of financial assistance programs for low to moderate income families and the working poor as well. The staff at the centers often provide information on places to turn to for cheap school supplies, as the agencies are in effect a place for one-stop shopping to get referrals.

Not only may the Community Action centers have information on local organizations for items such as notebooks, pens, pencils, winter jackets, and even uniforms, but many are involved in administering Head Start or day care services. They also will refer low income parents with a job or that are in training to vouchers to pay for after-school care or child care for their child. So a number of social services are administered. Learn more local community action agencies.

Many government agencies, such as Departments of Human or Social Services, also take a roll in helping students from households that are on welfare or other public aid. Some will offer free supplies, but more likely vouchers are given to offset the costs. Or some DSS sites will refer the family to places to buy gently used but cheap uniforms, back to school items, and more. This service is usually only for existing clients and not the general public. Read more on public aid and benefits.







  • Low cost electronics for students are available. Families on government benefits, such as Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), section 8, SSI disability or other public assistance will get free or cheap cell phones for students. There is generally one device per household, but students in middle school and older will get a free or low cost Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Tablet or other Appld device. Look here for a free Apple iPhone.

Free coupons and websites for saving money on school supplies

Of course, one way to get inexpensive back to school supplies is to shop smarter! There are school sales tax holidays offered by dozens of states, online websites that offer deals, sales promotions from stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and countless others and many other opportunities out there. Many retailers will also offer shopping sprees to help students get back to school supplies they need at an affordable price.

Free coupons can be one way to get low cost school clothes, uniforms, backpacks, and other supplies. Everything from smartphone apps to websites can be sources of them. Almost every retailer will accept coupons, and find more details on coupon websites.

Low cost school supplies can be found on online marketplaces or exchanges too. Or their are websites that provide families free or inexpensive items. These services cater to anyone, regardless of their income, age, or other factors. Find some of the leading websites for free items.

Another places to save money or get low cost stuff, whether school uniforms, back to school supplies, or anything else is to use online deals and codes. For example, when shopping for pens, pencils, notebooks, or any other school items, the shopper just types in a free code to get the lowest item available. These online codes can help households save on really any shopping they do.

Families on a budget have many other ways to get discount items, save money, or buy affordable items, including school supplies. There are cash back apps for smart phones, concepts such as “paying yourself first”, round up programs from stores for back to school shopping season, Amazon shopping “hacks” and more.  Get details on how to save money fast on a low income.




Conclusion - Low cost school supplies can be bought

The most affordable school uniforms, supplies such as backpacks and items available at thrift stores are sold out quickly. The charities that offer these goods have a limited supply of items available to the public. Therefore in order to be able to select from the largest inventory of cheap back to school supplies, families need to start the shopping or application process as soon as possible.


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By Jon McNamara

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