I love a good bargain, especially when it comes to stuff for the kids. My youngest wears AFO’s (basically plastic braces for her legs) and between the special socks/special tennis shoes and the AFO’s themselves we are looking at about 5k every six months in footwear.
Nuts, right? So we go out of our way to keep the rest of her wardrobe super cheap. Overall, we spend about 50 bucks a year on each child for clothing. I feel like that’s a pretty decent price per kid, and while grandparents definitely get the kids clothing for gifts sometimes we would have plenty of clothes if that wasn’t the case.
So how do we keep the price so low?
There are some money-saving tips that I think everyone already knows when shopping for kids clothes. Most frugal parents already buy at the end of seasons to get deep clearance prices. Most of us already buy used clothing online/at garage sales/in consignment stores. And those same thrifty moms and dads usually buy clothing ahead of schedule in larger sizes too.
But did you know that there are other ways to save even more money on kids clothing? Here are some more tips for you!
Stick with classics and basics I know that kids love having their favorite cartoon character plastered on everything, but it comes at a cost to buy trendier items. First of all, clothing companies have to pay for the right to put Lightning McQueen and Elsa on their product. And that cost is passed on to the consumer, making a more expensive product straight out the gate. Clothes that are faddish are also difficult to resell, by the time your kids have outgrown them they are no longer stylish enough to warrant top dollar consignment buys. Lastly, unusual patterns/colors/themes are sometimes hard to pair with other clothing in your closet, forcing you to buy more clothes than necessary. A plain blue sweater can go with a LOT more clothing than a neon chevron printed one can!
When you buy basic colors, classic cuts and traditional patterns it allows you to keep your kids’ closets smaller, and helps you re-sell the clothing with ease. Our daughter had a pea coat last winter that we bought used. We kept it in good shape the entire winter, and when the season ended we re-sold the coat on Facebook for the same amount we paid for it 6 months earlier. Pea coats are always in style and retain their resale value better than a Dora the Explorer coat would have.
Follow your favorite consignment shops on social media and interact with them. There are two consignment shops in my city that specialize in clothing for children and infants. If there are shops like these in your town, look for them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and “follow” them. It’s easy to delete email offers without looking at them, but when a consignment shop posts about a sale on Facebook, then it will definitely show up in your feed.
Consignment shops have a large number of purchased clothing that they have to turn over regularly (usually twice a year, once after winter and once before fall). It’s pretty common for consignment shops to have sales where you can fill up a bag with clothing for a very low set price. Today I purchased over 20 pieces of clothing for 15 dollars taking advantage of a sale like this. Consider sending your local consignment shops a Facebook message asking them if they have regular semi-annual sales. Then mark those dates on your calendar so that you can be on the lookout!
Keep a list on your phone of clothing items your kids need. I use the Google Drive app on my phone religiously just for things like this. I began a list of everything our family needed, from clothes to textbooks to furniture, and placed it on this list. Now when I go to garage sales or clearance events, I can just open the list on my phone and look for items I actually need rather than impulsively buying anything that is cheap.
Have swaps with friends and neighbors, or swap in social media sale groups! This has been our biggest money saver so far. The women in my church have swap parties fairly regularly for things like clothes, toys and household items. You bring clothing your kids have grown out of, and so does everyone else. Then you grab the stuff you need for free! I’ve also seen women do this online in Facebook sale groups (although I haven’t tried it myself yet).
Go as gender-neutral as possible. Things like PJ’s, coats, gloves, hats etc. just really don’t matter too much to kids. Buy gender-neutral cuts and colors and you can easily pass them down through all the kids in your house.
Except for dresses, buy lots of those! If you’ve got a little girl, dresses are super cost-effective. You can layer summer dresses to wear in colder months. A long dress takes longer to grow out of than pants do. A dress also cuts down on the pieces required to make an outfit. At my favorite consignment shop, a used dress is about 4 dollars (without a sale). But a shirt and skirt/pants/shorts are about 4 dollars a piece. Buying a dress gives you a full outfit with only one item, and saves you money. You can also dress them up with bows and cardigans, or dress them down with sneakers making dresses the most versatile pieces of clothing your daughters will own.
What money-saving tips do you have for clothing? Share in the comment section below!