If you’re like me, you are always in for a good deal, whether it’s on groceries or your kids’ clothes. I never pass on a good deal and over the two years since having kids, I have realized that it is really not worth spending a lot of money on clothes for children simply because they outgrow them so fast. As long as you are not someone who buys the latest designer wear for your kids or even someone who would think nothing of spending $30 on a little dress for your three-month-old, you have landed on the right page.
Here are my 3 Smart Ideas for Saving Money on Kids’ Clothes:
The only exception I make with regard to buying used are shoes (although the exception is flexible depending on how long they were worn and by whom). I have long read that shoes conform to the shape of the wearer and I wouldn’t risk having ill fitting shoes on my child’s developing feet. So maybe that is one thing you do want to buy new or to which you want to give some thought. Clothes on the other hand, are entirely recyclable from person to person.
You could always shop online on websites like Ebay or Craigslist or rummage through your neighborhood garage sales, swap meets, or even flea markets. Here are three additional ways to save money on children’s clothes:
Getting hand-me-downs is THE best way to save money on clothes because they are essentially free if a kind relative or friend generously give you their children’s used clothes. We have been very, very fortunate in this regard. Both of TJ’s male cousins are older than he is and we thank our lucky stars that their parents kept all their clothes, toys, bedding, and what have you, for years waiting to give us all their kids’ stuff before we even had TJ. Not only did TJ inherit all their clothes, he also got their Thomas the Train Engine cars, tracks, and table; Thomas sheets and bedding stuff; a gazillion books; and car loads of toys. Like I said, very, very lucky. Baby E on the other hand did not have any close-in-age female cousins for hand-me-downs but she did have my uncle’s daughter who is four years older than her and I gladly accepted all of her clothes. I have also been given girls’ clothes by my other mom friends.
2. Thrift Stores:
The thing with wanting to save money on stuff for your kids is to check your ego at the door and then walk in all free of all your personal shackles. I have definitely shopped at thrift stores for my kids and I am actually proud of it. When I was the proverbial poor graduate student trying to make ends meet living on minimum wage in the bitter winters of Kansas, I found affordable down coats at the local Salvation Army and a store called ‘The Doggie Bag’. Those coats were all I could afford and they saved me from frost bite and freezing to death walking to campus. Ever since, I have always paid it forward by donating to thrift stores as much as I could. Likewise, I also shop at some like Goodwill. If you didn’t know this, Target donates their unused and unsold clothes to Goodwill so I have on many occasion, bought brand new-with-tags Target clothes, socks, and other accessories that were sold at Goodwill.
3. Consignment Sales:
Except for the long check out lines, there is not much to dislike about consignment sales if you are a buyer (if you are a seller, it can become a lot of work). I attended my first one in Chicago a few years ago and have gotten hooked, since then. These are massive undertakings so hats off to those who organize these events. Then, last year, I was excited to discover two consignment sales in my new city. This year, I will be returning to shop at one of those as a buyer as well as a seller. The way most consignment sales work is based on whether you are an early-bird-catches-the-worm kinda person or a true bargain hunter. These sales are usually held over a weekend and typically twice a year in the Spring and Fall. Thursdays are usually reserved for those who may buy early-bird tickets (otherwise entry is free) and for sellers to get early dibs on deals. The main sales days are on Fridays and Saturdays with Sundays being the ultimate half-off days.
If you are a true bargain hunter or just want to browse around not looking for anything specific, Sundays are your days. Most people sell their stuff for half-off and you can walk away with arm loads of deeply discounted things. Last year, I went on Friday at 9:00 a.m. sharp, at the time the sale opened but was surprised to already see a bunch of shoppers there (later learned that some people based on whatever they do for the organizing organization – extra volunteering, donating water/snacks to volunteers, etc. can avail of a head start). At the time, we didn’t know the sex of our baby but after the Gender Reveal the following day on Saturday, I returned to the sale on Sunday to buy girls’ clothing and other exciting things like hair accessories 🙂 at half off and was still able to buy brand new-with-tags dresses for my yet-to-be-born baby girl (the pic above are some of the clothes I bought my little one last year. Happy to report that she has worn every single one of them by now and looked pretty, might gorgeous in them too).
So while these ideas may not be new to everybody, they may still get you thinking about recycling and reusing clothes. Besides the environmental benefit, there is just something nice about paying it forward as a giver and receiving good free stuff. Either way, there is no harm done and you are better off for it.