Skip to main content

How much should parents spend on back to school clothes?

As you begin your journey of back-to-school shopping, there are many items that your children need for school. From calculators and pencils to all kinds of fun folders and binders, there are plenty of things that are required. But what about clothing? When it comes to back-to-school clothes for teens, how much should you be spending? And what about for younger kids? In 2021, parents are expected to spend an average of $253.46 on new school clothes. Realistically, though, you can probably spend a lot less if you seek out back-to-school sales.

How much to spend on back-to-school clothes


Your child will need a new pair of shoes, especially sneakers for gym class. This also takes into account socks. They can range anywhere from around $5 a pack and go upwards of $20. When it comes to shoes, they can have a bit of a higher price point. If you are purchasing sneakers, you can spend anywhere from $20-$100 or more. However, good-quality ones come at around $50-$60. If you are looking for other kinds of shoes, you should ask your child what kind of shoes they are looking for, whether it be boots or sandals. It all depends on what they want for themselves.

Image used with permission by copyright holder


If your children are old enough and they have to start changing for gym class, then they are going to need some activewear to change into at school. Shorts for boys and girls can start between $5-$10 and go up from there. When it comes to t-shirts, you can find them anywhere beginning at $5 and the prices rise from there.


The one thing that everyone needs are undergarments. Luckily, most underwear for girls and boys tend to hover around the $10 range or so, depending on if they come in a large pack or not. One undergarment that girls will need if they are tweens or teens is a bra. But this is definitely something you shouldn’t skimp on if you can. Take her to a specialty store that will get her fitted, and then she will be comfortable for the duration of the school year. A decent bra that fits correctly may run from $50 or up, not depending on sales, of course.

Shirts and blouses

This is where the fun part begins, when your kids start picking out the clothing that they like and want. It can be hard to put a pinpoint exactly how much people spend on their children’s shirts and blouses, because they can range from retailer to retailer. However, when it comes to blouses and shirts, a good budget to set it at would probably be realistically around $40-$50 for a few different shirts. They don’t need a whole new wardrobe, as they probably still have plenty of clothes that still fit them, so you shouldn’t have to spend too much on new shirts and blouses.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Pants, shorts, and dresses

New pants and shorts are something that everyone needs, and of course, dresses, for those who like to dress up for school. A pair of new pants can go anywhere from $20-$200. It all depends on what you would like to spend or what is in your budget. Realistically, though, somewhere hovering around the $45-$60 mark is what you should spend on jeans. When it comes to shorts, gym shorts can go from $5 and up. One to two pairs of shorts should do for the season, as it will be wrapping up soon and fall will begin. If your child loves dresses and wants to wear them to school, they can be relatively inexpensive. Maxi dresses can go from $20-$40. Other dresses start at around $20 and also go up from there.

There are a few things that you may want to consider when it comes to back-to-school clothes shopping. It’s a great idea to sit down and flesh out a budget with your child when it is time to take them shopping. This way, they know what they can spend, and hopefully, they make wise choices for their clothing. The price for clothes also depends on brands that your child may favor. One great way that you can save a little bit of money on back-to-school shopping is to keep an eye out for off-season sales during the school year. All in all, you shouldn’t go overboard when it comes to buying new school clothes, especially when they’ll outgrow those clothes within the year.

Editors' Recommendations

Jennifer Passmore
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jennifer has written two books on how to deal with living with chronic illness using the power of positivity. She has written…
How old do you have to be to wear makeup? What every parent needs to know about this rite of passage
Advice for parents wondering how old a child has to be to wear makeup
Mother and daughter playing with makeup

Giving out your personal makeup tips to your teenager may be a rite of passage — but what about your younger kids? It seems that children are wearing makeup now at younger and younger ages, and as your child transitions into their tween years, and sometimes even younger, they may want to start wearing some makeup as a way to express themselves. Experimenting with makeup doesn't have to be taboo, and it can even be a safe and healthy way for your child to experiment with their creativity and express their personality.

You may find yourself wondering how old do you have to be to wear makeup, especially if your parents were strict about the matter. Take a look at our helpful parenting tips below as a guide for how to talk to your child about makeup.

Read more
When should your child learn how to ride a bike?
Find out what age to take off the training wheels
Parents teaching their daughter how to ride a bike with training wheels.

Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage for most kids. Children usually learn to ride a bike between the ages of 3 and 8. Bike riding is one of the best outdoor activities for kids, and it's something the entire family can do together. Most kids typically learn to ride a bike with training wheels first, while some are just natural and take to two wheels immediately.

Research shows that the best range for kids to learn a new skill is between the ages of 4 and 12. Teaching your child to ride a bike not only gives them a new experience and skill but the earlier your child learns, the longer they reap the physical and mental rewards of bike riding.

Read more
7-Up: What’s the game and how to play it
Do you remember how to play 7-Up?
Five kids each giving a thumb-up

Raise your hand if you have played the 7-Up game in school? Hands should be shooting up all around because 7-Up is an elementary-school classroom classic. The popular school game is also known as Heads Up, 7-Up, Heads Down, Thumbs Down, or Thumbs Up, 7Up. Regardless of what you called the game as a kid, most parents are familiar with the format and the kiddos just can't get enough. The majority of elementary-school educators have led a round or two of 7-Up at some point in their teaching careers.

Seven-Up is also a summer camp staple on rainy days. It’s an easy game to get going and a fun way to keep a group of children occupied, especially when waiting or transitioning to another activity. To play, you need at least 14 kids, which is what makes it an ideal school or camp game. Seven-Up can certainly be played with less kids, but it's not as much fun. So, are you ready to get those thumbs up? Let's learn how to play Heads Up, 7-Up.

Read more