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The Best Ways to Save Money on Children's Clothing

Updated on December 31, 2017
Liztalton profile image

Liz is a stay-at-home mother, and she has a one-year-old child.

Children's clothing is expensive!
Children's clothing is expensive!

Children are constantly growing. While the cost of diapers and formula will eventually drop away from your budget, you're faced with a continuous enlarging budget over time... Clothing. You would think that a tiny human's clothing wouldn't cost much because they're so small. Wrong.

I had the shock of my life when I started preparing for my son.

I'm a perfectionist and extremely frugal human being my nature. Ultimately, I knew that would pay off in life when I started having children because everyone complains how expensive little one's are. But as I'm scouring the aisles of Walmart and Fred Meyer, I realize the cost of baby cloths in my cart is adding up fast. Before I know it, my total is over a hundred dollars.

Panic sets in as I choose between the cloths items I really need for my upcoming baby and the clothes that are just plain too cute for words. I learned pretty quickly after this experience of my first clothes shopping haul that I needed to cut costs somewhere to avoid having to choose last-minute at a checkout aisle on what clothes I really want or need.

Since that time I've learned tricks to cutting corners when it comes to my son's clothing. I refuse to settle for having panic attacks over the cost of children's clothes. No longer do I spend hundreds per season on clothes my baby will quickly grow out. Here are all the ways I've been able to save hundreds per season on baby clothes as a stay-at-home mom.

Shop Clearances

As a caring parent I want my child to have the best of everything. But that doesn't me I need to spend $25 on one pair of jeans that's five times smaller than adult jeans. Repeat this saying: "Do not pay full price!"

My favorite children's clothing brand has to be Carter's. They carry an equal amount of boys and girls clothing and both are equally cute. However, Carter's can get a bit expensive. Because of this I make sure to never pay full price. When I see a clothing item that I love, but is not on sale... I keep moving. I merrily stroll my family through the endless aisles of expensive full price clothing and head straight to the clearance rack.

Stores constantly have mark downs or clearance on favorite children's brands. You just have to know where to look. Stores always place the newest and expensive clothing in the front of the baby section to get your attention to buy. But overtime, those same items you fell in love with at full price will eventually make their way back to the clearance section. Just be patience and check for new clearance items often. A three-piece onesie set that was $15 could later be found on the clearance rack for just $5.

Shop clearance racks or sales of 30% or more for the best deals of baby attire.
Shop clearance racks or sales of 30% or more for the best deals of baby attire.

Rule of Thumb: Look for Sales of 30% or More

While clearance is the best option, parents can face two problems. One, clearance items are sometimes picked clean by the time you get to the store. And two, sometimes the quality of clearance clothing is not always the best.

Since I don't want to end up with clothing items that are too thin and don't offer warmth or patterns that can't match with anything, I look to sales with 30% or more. Let's do some quick math to put this into perspective...

A three-piece outfit I recently bought for my son costs at full price $38.00. Now did I pay $38.00? Absolutely not! The three-piece pullover set was on sale for $16.99. I saved a total of $21.01. That's over 70% off!

Many stores offer constant sales of 30%, 50% or even 70% off all the time instead of placing items on a clearance rack. Personally saving over $20 on an outfit of great quality that I love is a score in my parenting book. So always keep your eyes open for sales.

Buy Secondhand

New parents tend to forget this one. With a new baby comes excitement. Everything has to be shiny and new, including clothing. But this really impacts your overall budget. Especially when you consider the fact that newborn babies will only be in newborn clothing for a couple of weeks on average.

Don't pay a huge price tag for baby clothes that a baby only wears once, shop at secondhand stores. Although many baby clothes are often found in storage bins at secondhand stores, it's worth the time and energy to sift through bins to find multiple items that you need.

Every time I'm in need of new clothes I check the secondhand stores first before checking any retailer. Even though I sometimes have to go to multiple secondhand stores, I always end up finding name brand items that are still in good condition.

However, a fair warning... Some clothes are riddled with stains or look like they've come straight out of 1985. I suggest passing on these. While you want your kids to have clothing, you also want them to be fashionable. Clothes containing stains often do not come out. I simply pass on those items and move on. There's always better out there.

Garage Sales

Keeping your eyes open for nearby garage sales can save you tons of money. While many people pass right by garage sales, they actually have a lot to offer for children's clothing. At garage sales, people just want to get rid of old items. Because of this I can always find a onesie for 25 cents. Quite often when I shop at garage sales, I find baby and toddler clothing that are hardly worn.

Just recently I happened to hit a great garage sale with quality clothing for both boys and girls with the great price of $5 a plastic bag. Trust me, you would be amazed at the amount of baby outfits you can fit into a plastic bag. For me that number is 13 outfits! Yes, I am the queen of folding, stuffing and bagging baby cloths when it comes to getting them for 5 bucks!

Great deals on children's clothing are found at garage sales and secondhand stores.
Great deals on children's clothing are found at garage sales and secondhand stores.

Reuse Baby Cloths

Clothing one child is expensive, but clothing multiple children can get even more pricey. A perfect way to cut spending with multiple children is to save and store all baby clothes, passing them on to your next child.

While this works if you have back-to-back boys or girls, it doesn't really work if you have a boy and a girl. Since every clothing item is either for a boy or girl, recycling baby clothes can become tricky in this instance. Although green and yellow clothing can be reused for a boy or girl, unfortunately baby clothes shopping is a must.

Sell Old Baby Cloths

Are you at a point in your life where you've sworn off having more children? If so, then selling all your children's clothes that no longer fit is the way to go. Don't let useless baby clothes you don't need anymore take up space in your house or garage. Not only will you purge your house, but selling them can put extra cash in your pocket.

The extra cash you acquired from old baby clothes can then go toward buying (you guessed it) more clothes for your children. Such websites as ThredUP allow you to sell your used clothing online by simply creating an account, bagging used clothing and shipping it.

Take Advantage of Online Coupons

If you're a busy parent that shops online for your children's clothing needs, find online coupons to save you extra cash. Coupons.com always have discount codes that can be used with a variety of retailers to lower your overall spending upon checkout. For online retailers, the coupon code box will appear at checkout. Often times coupon codes are also known as a discount code, gift code, or offer code.

Depending on the time of year and brand of clothing, different coupon codes can give you a variety of discounts. While some discounts only give you 10% of your entire order, other coupon codes will give you free shipping. Personally, I don't feel that free shipping or 10% off is a great deal. When shopping online I always look for discount codes that drastically lower my overall purchase price.

Buy Wholesale Lots

A variety of websites like eBay offer you a chance at one stop shopping on baby cloths. Known as wholesale lots, parents can buy an entire wardrobe for a reasonable price. Buying baby cloths in bulk is a great way to save money on cloths that children grow out of fast. To know if the wholesale lot is worth the value paid, take the cost of the lot divided by the quantity.

For example:
A wholesale lot costs $20.50 with 30 items. Therefore each item of clothing costs roughly 68 cents.

Continuously, children keep growing over the course of 18 years. One of the largest expenses parents face today is the cost of children's clothing. To save hundreds to thousands on clothing overtime, it's important to cut cost whenever possible. In order to do this, when and where you shop for children's clothing is essential.

Always look for the best sales possible. If an item is not on sale, keep walking. Eventually, those new items will be marked down. When you do shop sales, always look for items that are at least 30%. To receive a better deal on children's clothing, skim through the clearance section.

If you're an online shopper, the same 30% rule applies. As an added bonus to saving money on clothing, look for online discount coupons. Along with extra savings, look toward websites where you can buy wholesale lots. Quite often wholesale lots offer a bulk of clothing for much less than your average clearance section.

Remember, from birth to two years old children grow quickly. You don't need every clothing item new. Try buying clothes from secondhand stores and garage sales. Not only will you find cloths in bulk for cheap, many clothes are often brand new. Don't spend hundreds of dollars on clothing items your children are only going to wear a few times. Save even more money buy reusing old baby clothes and selling clothing items your children no longer need.


Where do you save the most money on children's clothing?

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