As a mother of 4 boys, one of my best money saving tips is to buy ahead (if you have the room to store extra items). One item you don’t want to have to scramble to purchase is footwear. Chances are, it will be difficult to find the right size at the right time in the right style, and you may even have to pay… full price [insert horrified gasp].
Before I learned how to save on shoes, you could hear statements like this in our house:
- “Mom, those running shoes that fit me perfectly yesterday, are giving me blisters today.”
- “Help – I lost my indoor shoes at school and if I don’t bring a new pair by tomorrow I will have detention.”
- “I am pretty sure we should put away my sandals – they are calling for snow today.”
Somehow those little feet just keep growing, and the seasons keep changing. What’s a parent to do? In my experience, one of the best ways to save on shoes is with a shoe stockpile. Here’s how to build one:
Shop the Sales
I have had the most luck shopping at Payless Shoe Source. They have almost paid me to take shoes out of their store (yes, really!). If you pop in to Payless regularly, you will find fabulous sales. Shoes that are $34.99 or $29.99 will be reduced to $16 then eventually $11 or less.
Also, if a Payless store does not have your size, the cashier will give you a list of locations nearby stores do have them, plus give you a $6 coupon towards each pair of shoes. That means that you will get the $11 shoes for $5. I recently saw a pair that I liked for $11. I requested multiple sizes of the same pair. One nearby store had the sizes 2, 3.5 and 5 that I needed – so I got 3 pairs of shoes for $15 (a savings of over 85%)!
Store Shoes Neatly
To really save on shoes, you need to take care of the ones you currently own. And of course, that means you must be able to actually see your stockpile of shoes.
- For running shoes, I use a bookshelf in our basement for easy access, sorted by size.
- For off-season shoes, I use an under-bed storage container.
If your children don’t end up using a particular pair of shoes, share with a friend, sell them on Kijiji, or return them to the store, if possible. Payless Shoe Source offers a full refund with no time limit (keep the receipt tucked inside the shoe just in case). Or, in my case, keep having children – eventually someone will use each pair.
Have on hand at least one pair of laces in each basic colour. A fresh pair of laces can give a slightly worn pair of shoes a quick face-lift. You can buy these anywhere that they sell footwear. I have seen them at Dollarama as well, but the quality isn’t as great as a shoe store.
Hold Your Head High
Be proud that you can easily dispose of old shoes, and replace them with the next size up, without even leaving your house, because you have learned to stockpile shoes.
Over the past few years, stockpiling footwear has resulted in significant savings for our family. I highly recommend that you watch for great deals on basic footwear you know your kids will eventually use.
Remember that school-aged children need both indoor and outdoor running shoes, so a few pairs of the same size is justified. When that next shoe crisis ensues, you will be glad that you learned how to save on shoes so that you don’t have to go out and pay full price for new footwear.