Aren’t baby clothes just adorable? They’re amazingly hard to resist purchasing! When I’m driving my cart past the baby section of any store, my eyes are drawn to the cute little overalls, hats and dresses. I frequently have to remind myself that my son has plenty of clothes already, and that there are many ways to find much cheaper baby clothing than in a retail store.
Here are some tips for clothing your young child without breaking the bank. (By the way, these tips may be most helpful for the pregnant first-time-moms out there who have nine long months to resist the temptation to buy full-priced clothing. Been there!)
- Don’t be afraid to inherit clothing from friends and family. If you have a friend or family member with children a bit older than yours, she may be more than willing to give you clothing her children outgrew. These hand-me-downs are an excellent way to get free clothing for your child, usually in a variety of styles. One of the best gifts I received when my son was born was a huge box of clothes from my cousin, full of cute items her sons had recently outgrown. Eli still wears things she sent.
- Hit garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets. Kids typically outgrow their clothing way before they wear it out, so clothes are widely available at garage sales and flea markets. Just make sure you have a mental price point for what you want to pay. If you have time to stock up before your child gets to a certain age, I recommend paying no more than $.25-.50 per item except for specialty items you know your child will need. At some garage sales, you may be able to buy a bag stuffed full for a few dollars.
- Be careful in consignment shops. Consignment shops and consignment sales can be a good option if you are looking for something specific or for older children’s clothing where your garage sale options may not be as good. However, for young children, I find consignment clothing is typically still too expensive. Why pay $3-4 at a consignment sale when you can buy the same types of clothing for $.25 at a garage sale?
- Stock up!!! Like most other items, you can save a bunch of money by stocking up on children’s clothing when the prices are good. I recommend getting several large totes or boxes, marking each with a size range. When you run across a good deal on clothing, buy pieces in whatever size is available, then add those items to your boxes. That way, when it’s time for your child to step up in size, you can simply pull out that size from the stack of totes. This method allows you to take advantage of good deals while also keeping track of what you have.
- At some point, you have to say no. Resist the temptation to purchase things simply because they’re cheap or cute. You can go broke buying good deals if you buy enough of them! Once you have what you feel is an appropriate stash of a certain size, stop buying that size and move on to other sizes. Draw a line in the sand and don’t cross it — no matter how cute that little sweater is!
Do you have any tried-and-true methods for saving on children’s clothing?