I was strolling through the men's clothing department at Wal-Mart yesterday and realized something: it's not that cheap.

Plain, ugly, Faded Glory jeans were $12.88 and oP polos are $13. Of course that's a lot cheaper than Macy's but it's also pretty poor quality clothing. A lot of families will head to Wal-Mart because it seems like it would be a cheap place to do back to school shopping but the reality is that you can do much, much better. Here are a few ideas:
  • TJMaxx and Marshalls: if you limit your kids (and yourself) to the clearance rack, you should be able to find plenty of nice, name brand stuff for less than you'll pay for much lower quality stuff at Wal-Mart. Example: I recently found American Eagle jeans for $10 at TJMaxx. That's less than the Faded Glory ones are at Wal-Mart, even though American Eagle jeans retail in the $40 range.
  • Plato's Closet: The absolute best place for teens. With brands like American Eagle and Abercrombie in gently used condition at 80% off mall prices, it's worth a bit of a drive. Bring friends!
  • Steve & Barry's: Recently filed for bankruptcy but still operating all of its stores, this chain offers shoes, sweatshirts, jeans, t-shirts, etc all at $8.88! Great place to buy stuff with college logos.
Also, check local thrift shops and consignment shops, if you can talk your kids into it. With stores like TJMaxx and Steve & Barry's, you should be able to do your back to school shopping just as cheap, if not cheaper, than you could at Wal-Mart and you/your kids will look infinitely cooler.

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