Back-to-school shopping on a budget

While back-to-school shopping is underway, parents are paying attention to price and waiting for the best deals, according to a National Retail Federation study.

The average family with children in kindergarten through 12th grade plans to spend $697 on apparel, electronics and other school needs, up from $684 last year, according to the survey. It’s the highest amount ever recorded by the NRF. Including college students, overall total back-to-school spending is expected to reach $80.7 billion, the retail federation said.

One way parents and students can get the best deals now is by shopping secondhand.

When it comes to clothing, college gear and catchy accessories, Goodwill NCW’s got your shopping needs covered and can help keep costs down. Plus, you’re helping others when you shop at Goodwill because each purchase supports job training and other opportunities.

Shop our donated goods to find some real bargains and remember to shop secondhand using our color tag of the week and really save. Each week we have a featured color tag of the week, which is 50% off the ticketed price. For a color of the week schedule, go to

Here are our top back-to-school picks:


No back-to-school wardrobe is complete without jeans, a student’s must-have staple that pairs well with everything. Children’s jeans start at $2.99 for basic brands, adult at $6.99. You’ll be able to find name-brand picks like American Eagle, Hollister and more in skinny, acid-washed, straight and high-rise styles.

Flannel shirts

Layers, layers, layers. Flannel shirts never really went out of style, and this ideal layering fabric is in style everywhere this fall — for guys and gals. It can be a statement piece or a practical essential. Ours start at $4.99.

Summer bottoms

Just because kids are going back to school doesn’t mean the weather is cooling off anytime soon. If the clothes in their closets and drawers aren’t up to snuff for school, you still can find a selection of summer apparel, including cargo shorts and trendy jean skirts, in an assortment of colors and denim. Plus, find tees and tops to match.


Whether out for recess or walking around campus, jackets are a fall necessity. Find donated fleece, lightweight casual and dress jacket options starting at $5.99 for children and $9.99 for adults. Utility jackets and the ever-popular jean jackets are our faves.

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a nonprofit human services organization whose mission is Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, unique shopping experiences at its boutiques and Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit

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