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I love to dress my kiddos cute. Now cute in my book is probably different than cute in your book, but that isn’t the point. The point is, it is a lot of fun to get to dress our kids in cute outfits while they let us. Then one day they get old enough to have opinions on their clothes and to fight you on what they will or will not wear… I know it is important to let my oldest choose how to dress, but I do miss the days he would let me choose his clothing for him. Most of you know that I am
cheap frugal. Shopping for my kids clothing is no different. Today I want to share with you how I save money on kids clothing while still dressing them cute.
Not that I am bias or anything, but I feel like I could put my kids in almost anything and they look cute. I mean look at them? But their cute smiles don’t get us free clothes, except for their birthdays and Christmas, so I have to get creative on how I save money on kids clothes, especially since I have 3 boys. And with 2 toddlers that are about the same size (that is right, I said about- they actually wear different sizes in pants and shoes) it can get expensive to buy clothing, but I have some tips that save me a ton of money.
Tips on how to save money on kids clothing
- Staple pieces- Quality Over Quantity. There are some pieces that are staple pieces in my kids wardrobes. Jeans are a big one. When it comes to these staple pieces, I go for quality pieces over quantity. Sounds silly when I have twins right? Well, I learned with my oldest that if I invest in quality jeans they will last. Some of my oldest’s jeans still look brand new on the shorter of the two twins. 3rd child and they look brand new. For jeans I choose to go with really good quality. The catch: Brands are constantly changing. What were good quality brands with my oldest are not necessarily great quality now. Be sure to ask other moms what the good quality brands are that can hold up against heavy play.
- Seasonal items for less. If I want to get items that are in style now, or seasonal, but probably won’t be “in” for my next child, I fill those with good quality brands that are budget friendly. I actually have come to love the Garanimals brand at Walmart. I can get shirts or onesies for $3 new, without looking for sales. Baby A’s Green stripped sweater is from the Garanimals line, and it actually is great quality and can probably be passed on to another child, but I spent under $4 for it. I can’t even find a sweater for that price at the used stores very often.
- Shop the clearance sales and buy ahead. The best way I have ever saved money on my kids clothing is shopping clearance. I am able to get brand new shirts for $1-2 and pants for $2 by shopping clearance. When the Goof was little I used to walk the mall with him. We would always catch the JCPenney sales right as they were getting marked down. This was the good ol’ days before they did the easy pricing (which they later stopped doing). I was always able to find Disney clothing for him for $2 for a brand new shirt. You are probably wondering how this helps if I am buying long sleeves shirts right before warmer weather hits. Well, I always buy my kids clothing ahead. So right now I am buying winter clothing that will fit my kiddos next winter. I am finding big heavy winter coats for $8, snow pants for $5, and more. When you find these awesome deals, feel free to buy a few years ahead even. Once they had white polo onesies on sale for $1 each. I bought 4 in each size for my twins to last them until they outgrew the 12 month onesies. They were perfect for church. I do have a rule I do not buy more than 2 years ahead for my kids. That way I don’t have to worry about where to put all those clothes. It is a great way to save money on kids clothing but I only have so much extra closet space.
- Know what to buy where. Know where you are going to find the best prices on the best items. Especially sale and clearance prices. Example: I am always able to get awesome deals from Children’s Place on things like hats, scarfs and socks for my kiddos. One year I went and got about 8 hats on clearance in all different sizes. Now my kids all have winter hats that will fit everyone for years to come. Walmart also does a great deal at having these items on clearance. The Goof’s favorite Nightmare Before Christmas hat was only $2 at Walmart in 2015 after Christmas. It is actually a smaller adult hat so it will last him for years. Especially since it is a good quality hat.
- Don’t forget online shopping. This year we had the snowiest winter on record. We are just now seeing the snow change to rain and having the snow melt. I normally don’t buy snow boots for my kids until they are older, but with the weather this year, and the fact that I have two toddlers so they do have to walk sometimes, I needed boots for my twins. I checked all the local stores and thrift stores and couldn’t find any that were in their size and reasonably priced. Finally, I took to Amazon. I lucked out and found these cute snow boots on a great sale. The great thing is, they will also work as rain boots. Which brings me to my next tip….
- Find clothing that works for multiple seasons. I love that the twins’ snow boots will also work as rain boots. So between getting them on sale, free shipping, and the multiple uses, I am saving a lot of money with these boots compared to buying new, or even used. We try and buy short socks for our kids (ankle socks) because then they can wear them in the winter but also wear them in the summer with their Keens. In fact, this is the reason I love short sleeve shirts. They can be layered with long sleeve shirts or onesies in the winter, but then worn by themselves in the warmer months.
- Take good care of clothing. Really learn how to take care of different clothing item. Pay attention to care instructions and learn what products work best. I absolutely LOVE Oxiclean. In addition to being awesome at getting out stains, I love the Odor Blaster version. It gets out smells from sweat, etc. I also tend to undress my toddlers when they eat. Anything messy, shirts come off, and sometimes pants. I can easily get tomato sauces off my kids skin, but out of their clothes- not so much. For my older son, I bought the aprons they have at the Dollar Tree until he got old enough to not make a mess. He would wear those with messy meals. You could use bibs. My kids have never liked bibs and the feeling of having them around their neck, so they didn’t work for our babies. Also keep a cheat sheet for how to remove different stains in your laundry room. Taking care of clothing makes it so you can either save it for other kids, or resale it at a good price. (Most of the clothes the twins are wearing is this picture from last winter, belonged to the Goof. But they all still look brand new!)
- Utilize resale shops and consignment sales. I will be honest, there are very few resale/thrift shops that I LOVE. I find the kid based ones often have their clothes over priced. That said, if you can find sales in these stores they are great. I also find people overprice their items for consignment shops. At least to me. But you know what, there are plenty of people trying to buy items at these prices. So instead of buying a lot, I sell a lot at these. With twin boys, we have more clothes than we will probably ever need for future kids, so we like to sale half of their clothes to pay for new clothing. We participate in consignment sales or sell their clothing to kids thrift shops. Then we use that money to buy their new clothing (using the tips above). One thing I do love, our local consignment sale lets people opt to donate their clothing they don’t want back. Then, they do a 25 cent night for those that participated and you can buy any of the clothes that would be donated for 25 cents each. This is because they were overwhelming the local charities with the donations. So I do shop the quarter sale but I am pretty picky on what I purchase through them.
- Buy, Sale, Trade groups and sites. I am able to find some good deals on my local Buy, Sale, Trade groups and on Craigslist. But I never buy anything I can not inspect before buying. It doesn’t help to get a bag of clothing for $15 if they are clothing you will never put your kids in or have holes in them. Also, free sites are a great idea. I just think it is important to give back when you can to these types of sites. Offer up the clothes when you are done with them, etc.
- Know your price limits. No matter what, it is important to set price limits. I know I will not buy plain t-shirts for my kids for more than $1. I refuse to pay more than $10 for coats. To decide your price limits, watch local sales and thrift stores. Once you have decided on your price limits, stick with them. It will help cut back on impulse buying. This is probably one of the biggest tips that helps me save money on kids clothing.
These tips have helped save money on kids clothing for years. I have probably saved hundreds. I am also lucky that because I take such good care of my kids clothing, I can almost always sale them for close to what I paid for them on clearance. I love dressing my kids cute but I love having money for activities, outtings and family vacations even more.
Do you have any tips that you would add to this? Share them in the comment section below.