10 Easy Ways I Save Money on Kids’ Clothing
The cost of dressing four kids adds up quickly. Winter coats. Swimsuits. Shoes, shoes, and more shoes. Keep feeding your kids, and they grow out of their clothes real quick. Go figure. Clothing four kids on one income takes planning, creativity, and resourcefulness.
Here are some of my favorite ways to avoid busting the clothing budget:
Budgeting for clothing is our number one method to avoid overspending. Instead of depriving yourself or your kids of cute new threads and wistfully wearing out your clothes, make room for new clothing in the budget. I spend a little more on items that I expect to last a while, such as winter coats and sometimes jeans. I don’t spend as much on cute, trendy items that may be out of style next year.
2) KEEP IT BASIC
Two words: Capsule wardrobe. There are tons of posts (check Pinterest) on building a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is essentially a collection of basic clothing items that you can pair with just about anything else you own to make several unique outfits.
Capsule wardrobes are great for kids because 1) you don’t have to buy a ton of clothes, saving room in your wallet AND in the closet; and 2) because it’s a great way to teach your kids to put together their own outfits effortlessly.
There are several thrift stores in my area to choose from–Goodwill, Value Village, and Unique Thrift to name a few. Many stores offer deep discounts on certain days of the week, as well as holidays. Keep your eyes peeled for specials, and check all clothing for rips, holes, and stains before purchasing.
Secondhand stores are a great place to find quality and name brand clothing on the cheap. Be sure to look out for seasonal consignment sales in your area, which often feature kids’ clothing, strollers, baby accessories, books, and toys. The two biggest seasonal consignment sales in my area are the Wee-Sale and TotSwap. They are so large that they are often held in sports complexes and fairgrounds.
BONUS: Instead of hauling gently used items to Goodwill, consider selling them at a consignment sale to add extra money to your clothing budget.
5) CLOTHING SWAP
Have you ever shopped a friend’s closet before a hot date? Gather your mom-friends (and those outgrown clothes) together for coffee and a clothing swap. I didn’t have to buy a stitch of clothing for my firstborn until she was 3 years old due to the abundance of hand-me-downs. I didn’t get as much with the other three, but I’ve been able to bless others with our outgrown clothes. Swapping clothes with friends is a great way to pass on your stash, and to get new threads for your own kids without spending your hard-earned cash.
If you are not already a coupon queen (or king), you can learn more about using coupons from this post. Wherever you shop for kids’ clothing, get on the mailing list to get deals via email and snail mail.
The Children’s Place is one of my favorite places to stock up on basics like leggings, tees, and jeans. They also run a regular promotion called Place Cash. You shop during a certain time frame to earn coupons, then redeem them at a later, specified date. My mom will sometimes shop for my kids during “Place Cash” earning time, then give me the coupons to use later. I have scored some pretty sweet deals this way. Thanks, Mom!
Old Navy is another store that uses a similar coupon-earning system. Oh–and if you happen to have a store credit card, you can save even more money using it at certain stores (such as Old Navy, Target, and Kohl’s).
Target has an app called Cartwheel, which you can use to find deals on various items. Check your Cartwheel before shopping, and don’t forget your RedCard to stack up savings (if you have one). By the way, for those of you who don’t use credit cards, Target has a Red Debit card which will also earn you savings.
Ebates is my favorite way to stack my savings, on top of sales AND coupons. Get cash back on your purchases (online and in-store) at a ton of major retailers. You can sign up for free here, and get a $10 welcome bonus when you make a purchase within the first several days. There is even a list of hot deals on the site, so you know which stores have a big promotion going on before you shop.
8) SALES AND CLEARANCE
The idea of paying full retail price on anything makes my mouth dry. I was totally obsessed with fashion as a teenager, so I learned to bargain shop to stock my closet. These days, I shop seasonal clearance for items like swimwear and snow gear. This takes a little planning ahead. Get your kids’ snowsuits (sized up, of course) at the end of the winter when they go on clearance, and you won’t have scramble around next winter to find them the day before the first major winter storm of the season.
9) DISCOUNT STORES
Am I the only one who has been sleeping on stores like Marshall’s and Burlington for deals on children’s clothing? These stores carry name brands and designer threads at DEEP discounts. They are large department stores with a large array of items. You will likely have to dig through the racks a bit to find what you’re looking for. I recently found a really cute $88 Nicole Miller off-shoulder blouse on clearance at Marshall’s for $4! OH yes–save enough to spring for a little something for mama. 😉
10) SIZE UP
Depending on how your child is built, this may or may not work for you. My kids are tall and slender with broad shoulders and long legs. I can buy tees, hoodies, coats, snowsuits, and sometimes shoes a little larger than what would just fit them. My almost-five-year-old has just grown all the way into a size 4T coat that I bought when he was two.
And there you have it–10 easy ways I save money on clothes for my kids.
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