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Saving Money on Children's Clothes

Updated on July 13, 2013

How to Find Free or Cheap Children's Clothes

Need to save money on your children's clothes? Here are some ideas!

During this economic recession, dressing your children can become a challenge. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently came out with figures that are supposed to reflect how much it costs to raise a child. They budget $60 a month for children's clothes.

I have been raising two children as a single mother for the past ten years and I have never spent anywhere near that for my children's clothes. There are much cheaper ways to buy kids' clothes if you know how to do it.

Here are my tips for saving money on children's clothes!

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Hand-me-downs are a great way to save money on kids' clothes
Hand-me-downs are a great way to save money on kids' clothes


Free Children's Clothes

Let people know that you love hand-me-downs. This is the best way to save money on children's clothes. After all, what is better than free?!

If you have a friend who has a child slightly bigger than yours, who is willing to pass along her child's outgrown clothes, then this is a great way to get free clothing and shoes for your child.

Be sure to pass along the favor and give your child's outgrown clothes to another child.

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Children's Clothing Swaps

Several websites now offer the exciting option of swapping your children's clothing with others. Check this out!

More Ideas to Save You Money on Kids' Clothes & More!

Looking for more ideas? Check this out! You can get this book free for your Kindle!

How to Save More Money: 349 Tips to Help You Keep Your Hard Earned Cash
How to Save More Money: 349 Tips to Help You Keep Your Hard Earned Cash

Check the great reviews! This is not the same old stuff. You will get some fresh new ideas you can use here!


Find Children's Clothes on Freecycle

Check Freecycle in your area. This email list is designed to keep useful objects out of the landfill. People write to the list to advertise the stuff they would like to give away.

Watch the list for clothing in your child's size. When you see some, write and ask for it. It helps to be very polite and friendly when you make a request for something on freecycle. Some people just send an email that says, "I want it." You will have greater success if you write a friendly note stating why you would really appreciate the item(s) in question. For example, if it is true for you, "My husband was just laid off from his job and we have three children. These clothes would fit my son and really help us out during this time."

When your children outgrow their clothes and shoes, you can offer them on freecycle and help someone else. This seems like good karma to me!

Find Children's Clothes on Craigslist

Craigs List is an online bulletin board that allows people to advertise things they want to sell. You can often find great bargains there.

Shop Garage Sales for Children's Clothes

Search garage sales for bargains on children's clothes
Search garage sales for bargains on children's clothes

Garage sales are a great source for cheap children's clothes. Check carefully for any damage to items, because naturally you will not be able to return anything.

I have found garage sales to be good for picking up play clothes. Usually you have to go to quite a few sales to come across one that has things that are appropriate for your child. If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt, this may work for you.

One strategy you may find helpful is to scan the ads for neighborhood or multi-family sales. These are more likely to have items in the sizes you need.

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Save money on children's clothes at the thrift store
Save money on children's clothes at the thrift store

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores can be good sources of children's clothes. Good Will and the Salvation Army can be wonderful sources of children's clothes.

It is often easier to have success looking in stores in upscale neighborhoods, but this varies because stores move merchandise to fill in gaps.

The key to thrift shopping is to go frequently. They will not have the same items on Friday that they had on Monday. Keep checking.

Usually thrift stores have weekly sales based upon the colors of the price tags on the items. For example, on Wednesday everything with a blue tag will be 50% off. Check the sign in the front of the store for sale days to save even more money.

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Shop consignment stores for bargains on children's clothes from babies to teens
Shop consignment stores for bargains on children's clothes from babies to teens

Shop at a Children's Consignment Store

A Great Source for Cheap Kids' Clothes

Resale is a great way to buy children's clothes. Children's clothes cost a fraction of what they would cost new, and you can find designer items, as well as items that still have the store tags on them.

When your child outgrows her clothes, take the ones still in good shape to the consignment store. You can usually get either store credit or cash. Usually the store credit is worth more than the cash. Use that to get more clothes for your child in the larger size.

I have had great success finding adorable clothes for my children at the local kids' consignment shop. I have even found brand new items that I have used as Christmas gifts for my girls.

In addition to clothes, consignment stores usually have a good selection of accessories, including shoes. They are a great place to look for dressy shoes, as well as dance shoes.

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At children's consignment stores, such as Once Upon a Child or Children's Orchard, you can buy and sell your children's outgrown stuff.

Shop Clearance Racks at Department Stores - Find Marked Down Children's Clothes

Buy cute kids' clothes on the clearance racks
Buy cute kids' clothes on the clearance racks

Find out the days children's clothes are marked down at your favorite stores. Stores such as Target often have good markdowns on clearance items. Often, if you ask a salesperson, they will tell you what day and time things go on sale. Armed with this information, you can be first in line to find some great bargains.

I have found a lot of items up to 75% off. This is a great way to pick up some things at the end of the season to save for next year, if you can estimate what size your child will be.

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Shop for Children's Clothing Lots at eBay

EBay is a great way to buy children's clothes. Usually sellers will combine shipping if you buy multiple items from them at one time. If you find someone who is selling a lot of items in a size you want, it is worth the time to write to her and ask about a bulk discount or reduced shipping.

Often people will sell their children's wardrobes as a whole, called lots. This can be a very economical way to buy children's clothes.

Save Money When Sewing Children's Clothes

Save Money When Sewing Children's Clothes
Save Money When Sewing Children's Clothes

Sew Your Children's Clothes - Sewing Can Be a Cheap Alternative

This is a great time to learn to sew your children's clothes, if you do not already know how. Children's patterns are often very easy and they do not take much fabric.

Sewing can be an expensive option if you buy all new patterns, fabric and notions. Often that will cost more than buying storebought. Here are ways to save money when sewing for children.

  1. Buy patterns only when they are on sale.
  2. Use store coupons when buying fabric, patterns or notions.
  3. Check the remnant bin for lengths of fabric that have been marked down.
  4. Combine different prints in one garment to use up smaller pieces of fabric from your scrap box or the remnant bin.
  5. Reuse fabric from other items to make children's clothes. For example, a sheet from the thrift store can become a little girl's dress. An old fleece blanket could become a little boy's jacket. You can't wear your favorite robe because you spilt coffee down the front and it won't come out? The back is still good! Make a top for your daughter out of the fabric.
  6. Save lengths of elastic, buttons and zippers from worn out items to be reused for new garments.
  7. Shop garage sales and thrift stores for fabric and sewing notions. Estate sales are a great place to buy sewing supplies in bulk.
  8. Shop for patterns, fabric and notions online. Two great places to check are eBay and Etsy.

Cheap Children's Patterns on eBay!

Find bargains on children's clothing patterns at eBay!

Tutorials for Sewing Children's Clothes without a Pattern

Check these tutorial videos for instructions showing how to sew children's clothes without a pattern! Some of them show you how to make kids' garments from your worn out adult clothes.

Frugal Living Poll

What is your favorite way to save money on children's clothes?

See results

How Do You Save Money on Your Children's Clothes?

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    • EzLoanLookUp LM profile image

      EzLoanLookUp LM 

      5 years ago

      Not only is sewing a great way to save but you can involve your kids with it as well. My 4 year old is just learning how to sew now and loving it!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I grew up wearing hand-me-downs... and I was delighted every time we got a bag of clothes for my kids.. I just handed 4 bags to my neighbor for her daughter... it's good kharma.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 

      7 years ago from New York

      When I was a single Mom raising 4 kids alone, I would sew, visit garage sales, thrift stores and swap hand-me-downs with friends & relatives to keep all the kids in clothes.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      We grew up wearing hand-me-downs from our older cousins. Kids often outgrow clothes before they wear them out. There are great buys at yard sales too if you search carefully. Your tips are good for those on a tight budget!


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