Back to School Shopping Haul + Insider Tips at The Mills at Jersey Gardens
This Fall, I was given the daunting task of doing a complete back to school shopping for both of my growing “babies”, aka: a Pre-K and 1st Grader. When you shop with two kids in tow, you need to find a place you can go and do a one-stop shopping. Add in wanting to find deals and steals, getting things done can seem impossible. Lucky for me, I had an insider’s view of the best back to school deals and trends at The Mills at Jersey Gardens with blogger Corine Ingrassia Complicated Mama and Consumer Savings Expert Andrew Woroch.
The Mills at Jersey Gardens has been New Jersey’s largest outlet mall since 1999, which was about the last time I had been there. I was shocked to see the updated renovation that The Mills went through about two years ago. At The Mills at Jersey Gardens you can expect to find luxury brands at discount prices and this season’s merchandise, which is different than some outlet malls I have visited.
The Mills at Jersey Gardens is also one of New Jersey’s largest tourist attractions and it can be a full day experience with the movies, restaurants and more. A 400,000 sq. foot, 80 store expansion is planned for the next year as well, making it even bigger and better! Their food court was even voted by NJ.com as the best!
After our insider look, I came home and went through my children’s drawers to see what we needed, got a list together and headed back to The Mills at Jersey Gardens to shop using Corinne and Andrea’s tips!
Corine recommended purchasing layering pieces for back to school. Shop clearance racks and search for t-shirts and tank tops that can be paired with cardigans, hoodies and even under cropped shirts for the teens. Although it would have been easier to shop alone, my kid’s personal styles are changing so much and they are starting to voice an opinion, so I wanted to be sure they were with me to choose their back to school looks.
Something that I have to say I don’t often do is shop quality over quantity. Which often leaves me shopping again mid-season and undoing any deals I had gotten earlier. At The Mills at Jersey Gardens I was able to get more bang for my buck and some great trendy, name brands that I wouldn’t have bought in non-outlet retail stores.
Be sure to pick up the coupon book that you can buy at Guest Services for $5 pays for itself in your first shopping trip. Be sure to bring manufacturer coupons with you and ask stores if you could stack! I was able to stack my coupons at Osh Kosh B’Gosh! Find out about my SHOPPING HAUL at Osh Kosh HERE!
Want some more outlet shopping insider tips?
- Go online or use the mall app to access deals and to plan out your shopping trip via the map.
- Make a budget and take only the cash that you plan on shopping with!
- Give yourself 30 minutes to think about something if it is not on your list to save yourself in impulse buying.
- Find out the individual outlet store’s return policy. They may be different from retail stores. IE: I bought clothing for my kids at the Gymboree outlet and found out I could not return it to my regular retail store.
And how about some tips for shopping at The Mills at Jersey Gardens? This is the place to be for Labor Day weekend (aka: 70% off some retail prices), Black Friday and holiday shopping!
- Be sure to check out Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th for super-secret deals on Ugg boots for kids –you won’t find a better price if you don’t have your heart set on a specific color.
- Kidstown is the top secret place to find brand names for kids—they regularly carry merchandise from Justice, Gap Kids, etc. Big find: two pair of Justice sweatpants, three Justice t-shirts, two Justice tanks for $21!
- Be sure to check out Century 21—you may get lucky and find a great pair of Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos!
- Modell’s has a huge clearance section—much larger than a typical Modell’s. Big find: Nike soccer cleats for $10!
- Forever 21 – is the place to go for unique, trendy kids clothing at great prices; they also now carry uniforms. Big find: romper shorts for $6!
- Marshall’s is the place for lots of great finds—but especially if you are looking for brand name, high-end athletic apparel Big find: Athleta outfit for less than half of the catalog price!
- Burlington Coat Factory—Michael Kors and Gucci bags at the lowest prices in the mall!
The average family with school age children will spend $634 on back to school shopping…
I spent just over $200 for essentials for 2 children including 5 pairs of boy’s pants, 3 girl’s dresses, 2 girl’s skirts, a puffer vest, a cardigan, boy’s work boots, 2 pairs of pajamas, 3 pairs of girl’s leggings, a few accessories like headbands, hats, socks, jeans for mom, 2 T-Shirts and a bathing suit. All from name brands at stores like Osh Kosh B’Gosh, H&M, Marshall’s, Disney Outlet, and Gymboree.
Head over to Complicated Mama for her 2015 Back to School Trends HERE!
The Mills at Jersey Gardens
651 Kapkowski Road, Elizabeth, NJ (easily accessible from exit 13A on the New Jersey Turnpike or public transportation)
*I was invited to participate in a Back to School Power Lunch at the Mills. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in anyway.