If you have kids and don’t live on a nudist colony, then you probably agree that clothing your brood can be a big budget buster, especially if you are paying full price!
If you are like me and feel like you are wasting tons of money because your kids grow out of their new clothes before you can pack away the last season, then read on for some easy ways to save on your children’s clothes.
I am a first-born so I never had to deal with the apparent emotional trauma of wearing hand-me-downs. But I am so thankful that I have all girls and that my oldest and middle daughters were both born in the late fall/early winter. I still buy a few new clothes for our second, but she mainly dons hand-me-downs from big sis. This was especially true when she was a baby/toddler. Our youngest was born in the spring, so I haven’t been able to hand down as many clothes to her. But, I have found friends who have girls right in the middle of mine who will trade with me. If you have kids born during different seasons or your son won’t wear his sister’s old tutus, you could look in a Facebook resale group for someone who sells the right season/size for your kid and see if they have any other kids the right ages/gender so you can work out a clothing swap.
2. Consignment Sales/Resale Shops/Resale Groups
Speaking of Facebook resale groups…I have a love/hate relationship with them. I don’t have the time to see everything that is posted, but I have snagged some seriously good deals on clothes through them. The best way to save is to use the search feature in the group (on the left hand side if you are on a computer or find the magnifying glass under the group’s cover photo if you are on the app) and look for something specific. You’ll save money and time if you buy a large bundle of clothing verses piece by piece. I just did a search for “2T Girls Fall/Winter” and found someone selling 38 pieces of clothing for $75 — score! Some of the best Facebook resale pages in Chattanooga are “Baby Gear – Chattanooga Area,” “Chattanooga – Ooltewah Area Online Garage Sale,” and “East Brainerd Online Yard Sale.”
If you would rather pick out your kids’ clothes verses a buying a bundle of “you get what you get,” then consignment sales and resale shops are a great way to get a large chunk of your child’s wardrobe. Depending on the store/sale, you can find some very nice, boutique articles for a much more wallet-friendly price. There will be an upcoming CMB post with a much more detailed list of consignment sales, but I’ll list a few to help you plan ahead. Most fall/winter consignment sales have already happened, so be ready around February/March for the spring/summer sales.
You can also shop year-round at resale stores such as KidtoKid or Once Upon a Child (coming soon!). These are great places to find gently used clothes at great prices without the mad rush of a once-a-season consignment sale.
3. Goodwill/Salvation Army
Second-hand stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army offer great bang for your buck. Many people don’t have the time to deal with selling their kids’ outgrown clothes, so they donate them instead. You may find some of the clothes look worn or are not brand names (like at most consignment stores/sales), but I have also found some very nice, like-new clothes. *Bonus tip: shop Goodwill on the first Saturday of each month for an extra 50% savings. And take a friend with a good eye; there’s a reason animals hunt in packs!
4. Yard Sales
I mentioned the online “yard sales” but going to an actual yard sale is so fun and can save you tons of money on children’s clothes. Do some research ahead of time on sites likes Garage Sales Tracker and Yard Sale Search so you can locate the sales that have children’s clothing up for grabs. Then set your alarm early to ensure you get the best stuff.
5. Bargain Hunt
Love the Cat & Jack line at Target? Then you must, must, must hit up Bargain Hunt! You can find name brand clothes for 30-50% less than retail prices. There are two locations: one in Hixson and one in East Brainerd. I have also heard Dirt Cheap is amazing, but I have yet to make it down to Fort Ogelthorpe for myself.
6. Think Ahead
I take advantage of end-of-season sales because they usually happen a month or two before my kids actually switch seasonal wardrobes. It is October and they are still wearing shorts to school! In August, I bought their back to school clothes through summer clearance sales. I also always buy these “off season” clothes bigger so they have room to grow. When I finally do my least favorite task of changing out their clothes for the cooler months, I can store those clothes away for next summer.
I’m sure as my children get older, there will be new challenges to saving money on their clothes. The baby will probably have something to say about getting twice handed down clothes when she is a teenager. I would love advice from someone who has gone before me there. And I really hope these tips will help someone who is coming after me!