Creative Kid Clothing 101: Buying Brand Names without Breaking the Bank!

13 07 2011

My husband and I have 5 kids (3 of whom are still in diapers).  Nevertheless, you might be surprised to know that our annual clothing expense for all 5 kids is $250 or less.  That’s a maximum of $4 per month, per kiddo.  So how do we do it?

Here are a few basic tips to help you keep your kiddo looking inexpensively adorable:

  • Learn your local thrift store’s sales:  Most thrift stores have some type of weekly deal, in order to clear out older stock and make room for new.  For example, our local Goodwill has half price sales every day, on a given color of tag.  So let’s say I go in on a Monday.  Monday is yellow tag day, so everything in the store with a yellow tag is half off.  I go relatively early, so that I can find high quality items. My favorite brands are Old Navy, Children’s Place, Gap, Cherokee, Land’s End, and a few others– I am not a fancy-brand snob, but these brands tend to re-sell very quickly, and for a higher value than the no-namers.  Thrift stores are also a GREAT place to find high quality kids shoes.  Why pay $20 for a pair of shoes that will be out-grown in a matter of months!?  Small children will generally outgrow shoes LONG before they wear them out, so there are always high quality shoes available at thrift stores.  (I never pay more than $4 dollars for a pair of shoes, and my kids wear Sketchers, Airwalk, and other great brands!)
  • Become a member of a clothing swap.  There are a number of online clothing swaps.  I have used ThredUP and was pretty happy with it.  http://www.thredup.com.  The basic premise of these is that you fill a box with clothes of a particular size, and you list it as available on a swap site.  When someone picks your box(es), you receive credit to pick boxes of clothes from other people, in whatever size your child needs.
  • Keep your kid clothes stain free as much as possible.  When you know you are going to feed spaghetti to your three year old, either let them eat topless, give them a bib, or designate an old t-shirt as the “spaghetti shirt.”  Keeping kid clothes stain-free will increase their resale value.  If you have a spill (because kids are kids, after all!), use spray and wash, or other inexpensive stain remover, and try to get it out.  If you can’t get it out, get rid of it, or make that the new spaghetti shirt.
  • When you do laundry, set aside quality clothes that are beginning to get too small, and put them into a Medium Sized flat rate box –which you can get free from the post office, and store it in a closet until the box is full.  Then, list that box on eBay (if you don’t want to use a clothing swap).  Kid clothes on eBay generally sell quickly when they are priced at around a dollar per item, shipped.  Shipping a medium flat rate box costs about $10 dollars, so the more items you fit into the box, the more money you will make.  You don’t even have to leave home to ship it, because the post office offers free pickup, right at your door.
  • Use the money you make selling clothes that no longer fit, to buy ones that do.  You will find LOTS of high quality kid clothes on Ebay at around a dollar per item (shipped), or you can simply repeat step number 1 (the first bullet) above.
  • Take advantage of seasonal closeout sales:  Old Navy, and other major department stores, have seasonal sales every year, generally in the spring and fall.  Last Spring, we printed a 20% off coupon from Old Navy’s website, and combined that with an 80% off seasonal sale they were having.  We ended up getting over $700 worth of kid clothes (including winter coats, tons of shirts, jeans, lots of jammies, and shoes– for all 5 of our kids!) for a little over a hundred bucks!
  • In the spring and summer, there are tons of great kid clothes to be had at rock bottom prices, at yard sales.  Most cities have a section in the newspaper, dedicated to listing yard sales that are scheduled for a given weekend.  Remember with yard sales, the earlier you go, the better the selection will be.  You can often find kid clothes for 50 cents each at yard sales.  That means AFTER your kids wear them for a month or 2– you can turn around and sell them (assuming they are still in great condition) for a dollar each, and actually MAKE money on your kids’ clothes, which you then put into your kid-clothes budget– for the next time it’s time to buy again.  Cool, huh?

By using these tips, you will not only save LOTS of money… but you will also be helping the environment by recycling clothes, and reducing waste.  That’s a savings we can ALL benefit from!

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