Saving Money on Kids Threads

By Kelly Hodges
According to the latest Expenditures on Children report from the US Department of Agriculture, parents are spending somewhere between $500 and $1500 per child to clothe them each year.  That statistic is probably not surprising to any parent who has watched their child blow through sizes faster than they can hang them in their closet!  There’s no getting around the fact that kids outgrow their clothing fast, and will therefore need their wardrobe replenished on a regular basis.  Luckily there are some great ways to ensure that the wee ones in your life stay well dressed without breaking the bank.  Here are a few tips to consider.

1.  Start a clothing exchange.  This has been a true lifesaver for me, and can be for you too if you are lucky enough to find someone to swap clothing with.  A good friend has a son 2 years older than mine and lends me all his clothes once they are outgrown.  Her daughter is a year younger than mine and likewise receives all our outgrown girl clothes.  I rarely have to buy any boys clothing at all thanks to this great arrangement that we have!  Seek out friends, relatives, or neighbors who may be willing to participate in a clothing exchange, it’s guaranteed to result in huge savings for everyone involved.

2.  Visit children’s resale shops.  Children’s resale shops are a great way to outfit a child at a fraction of the cost of traditional retailers.  Most resale shops are very particular in items they will accept for sale, so it’s common to find name brand clothing in excellent condition, many that still have tags on.  Inventory often changes quickly so the more times you visit the more likely you are to find great deals.  Look for stores in more upscale neighborhoods for higher quality items.  If you don’t live near a children’s resale shop then be on the lookout for clothing sales sponsored by local Churches, or look for garage sales in family friendly neighborhoods that advertise children’s clothing.  Kids usually outgrow clothing items before they have a chance to ruin them, so shopping secondhand is a great money saving option.

3.  Utilize the internet.  Craigslist and eBay are two other great sources of inexpensive children’s clothes.  There are many eBay businesses that exclusively sell children’s clothing, and many are new with tags but at secondhand prices. Threadup is another good resource to check out.  It’s basically a giant online children’s resale shop where you can buy (or sell) quality used clothing.  Just search by gender and size and browse through the photos of items they have available.

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4.  Shop the end of season sales.  One of the best ways to get great deals on children’s clothing (or adult clothing for that matter) is to buy at the end of season sales.  This will require a bit of forethought and planning, but is well worth the effort for the money you can save.   When all the “back to school” fall fashions arrive you’re sure to find that shorts, T-shirts, swimsuits and sunglasses are marked down to clearance prices.  Likewise when retailers are making room for spring lines the heavy sweaters, pants, and coats of winter are at must go prices.  Buying off-season allows you to get brand new cloths from your favorite retailer for a mere fraction of what the same items would have cost a few months earlier.  That winter coat that costs $80 in October will look so much better when you snag it for $10 on clearance in February!

5.  Stock up on sales.  There are certain staples that your child will always need.  I’m talking socks, underwear, T-shirts, pajamas, and other essentials.  When there are sales take advantage and stock up!  If you come across a clearance on socks go ahead and get some in your child’s current size and in the next several sizes as well.  This way you’ll have them when you need them, and will never have to pay full price.

Try out these money saving tactics to save on your children’s clothing, and stay tuned for some more tips on cutting back on the costs of raising children next week.

Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of her employer or any other person or entity.

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