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Saving Money On Kids Clothes: How To Stretch Your Dollar On Kids Clothing

Updated on February 21, 2011


Let's face it, putting clothes on our kids really costs a lot of money, especially when you consider how fast they outgrow everything!

It's great if you have 3 boys and you can do a lot of hand-me-downs, but sometimes if they're close together in age or not all the same sex, it's just not possible.

When everything is at a premium price today, it pays to try and cut corners wherever and whenever we can. But how to cut the high cost of clothing our kids?

I've got some surefire ways to help you cut the high cost of kids clothing!  Let's take a look at some of them.



  • Hand me downs are great.  They're great money savers because they're most often free.  Whether you get them from a friend or they're your own kids' hand me downs, these are the mother lode....the best ever savings because they didn't cost you a dime!  Most people could care less if their second son wears the same clothes as the older son and truly, it shouldn't matter.  Look at it as getting the maximum mileage for the pieces of clothing.  Use them until they're used up.  Even after using hand me downs for your kids, pass them on to another friend or family or better yet, make money on them by selling to a consignment shop or get a donation receipt and give them to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.


  • Consignment stores, kiddie boutiques and shops. These are some of the most fabulous money saving places out there. When I had 2 boys and finally had my little girl, money was tight. I wanted her dressed to the 9's but didn't have the money to pay top dollar for girls' clothing. So I went to fashionable consignment stores and saved a bundle. I got the cutest clothes, coats, even baby equipment for next to nothing compared to their original value...and they were like brand new. Consider consignment shops and stores for cribs and furniture too.
  • Garage sales and swap meets. You can find incredible bargains at garage sales. I found so many things for my kids as they were growing up from clothes to toys to furniture.  Shop often and shop early. Look in the newspaper or on the web to see what sales are offering kids clothing items. They most often list them because they are so popular. First come, first serve so be there early or right when they open to get the very best buys. Don't be afraid to barter either....garage sales are all about getting the best price for things that you can.
  • Clothing exchanges. When my kids were growing up, a fantastic way to save money on clothes was a clothing exchange. It was usually held in a church or a school and there were tables upon tables of every kind of clothing imaginable all arranged by size and sex. For dollars, you got excellent condition clothing and the proceeds went to benefit the church or the school. Most often, the clothing is donated and any and all proceeds go back to the group hosting the exchange and not the people who owned the clothing. You can find incredible buys there such as winter clothes, jeans, sweaters, etc. You can even find sports equipment and things that are totally seasonable at rock bottom prices.  There are even clothing exchanges on-line now as well so check them out by size and specifics and save money!




  • Thrift stores are a wonderful money saving idea. As far as into high school, my daughter used to go to Salvation Army and Goodwill where she got incredible bargains on clothing. She had a certain amount of money that she was given for her clothes and she definitely got the most for her buck! Things that had been worn maybe once if at all and were in mint condition cost her $5. She saved a bundle and had the most incredible wardrobe of all of her friends...they thought she shopped at Nordstrom's but in truth, she shopped the thrift stores! They even have bargain days at the thrift stores where you can save even more money, which she did. I learned a few things from her on saving money and have found brand new clothes at thrift stores for mere pennies for myself.
  • Shop the opposite season. Sometimes this can be hard to do if you're projecting what size your kids are going to be in but with a little thought, you can sometimes save a bundle. If you buy jeans when it's not back-to-school shopping time, you're going to get much better deals. Likewise, you can find coats and winter items at the end of the season for a steal if you just buy then for the next fall or winter. Things like socks, underwear, etc. should always be purchased when on sale. Check clearance racks routinely because there are always savings to be had there though usually for the next season. It's all about the savings though!
  • But mom - it's just not COOL. If or when your kids get to the age where they start talking about clothes in terms of being cool or "in", you're pretty much sunk if you don't have a strategy ahead of time. You have a couple of choices. You can simply tell them that "cool" isn't in your budget or you can only buy so many "cool" items. No one gets everything they want all the time so don't buy into that line of kid bull! You do not owe your kids cool clothes....and if you can't afford them, that's the way that goes. Or make a deal with'll put your budgeted amount towards the clothes, but they'll have to come up with the rest of the money if they have to have "cool". It's a great way to teach them life lessons about working for something if you want it badly enough or maybe even figuring out "cool" isn't so great when it costs so much money!



  • Put your best foot forward. There is no item of clothing that is more important than shoes. It shapes the person literally into who they will become. Improperly fitting shoes are bad for your body and in some cases, can do irreparable damage such as hammertoes, flat feet, etc. You want to give your kids the best shoes that you can afford. That being said, don't buy shoes for kids at garage sales and thrift stores....even consignment stores unless they're brand new. Simply because they will have conformed to someone else's foot. Unless you find outerwear such as snow boots or a type of footwear that cannot be molded from another child's foot, don't waste money on second hand shoes. Don't take a chance in damaging your child's foot or their gait. Instead, buy shoes on sale or at discount stores but make sure they're brand new. Most of all, make sure that they are good shoes. Cheap shoes are just they shouldn't be a money saving means to an end. It's like putting the cheapest tires you can find on a car and then wondering why you keep getting flats. Invest in's the one thing in their wardrobe that's super important! Even go to department or shoe stores and get the correct size for a type of shoe. You can then look online and get the exact same shoe probably for less money. It bears repeating...good shoes are vitally important to any child's overall development.
  • Shop on-line. In these trying financial times, more and more people are discovering the bliss of shopping on-line. If you budget for your kids clothing and you want to save really big bucks, scout out the products or clothing items that you want and then match them on-line and see if you don't come out ahead. Almost everything I want to buy I can find cheaper on line. Once I've visually found something I really want, I make sure I look it up on-line and see if I can get a better deal....and 9 out of 10 times, I can. I also go for only free shipping or if the shipping costs plus the item are still less than what I'd pay in a "real store", I order it on-line. You can return just about everything you buy on-line if it doesn't fit, it's the wrong color or you simply don't like it after all!
  • Coupons, rebates, and special sales. Use whatever tools are available to you to save money on kids clothes. Make sure you are on email newsletter lists for stores that you regularly shop so that you get the most bang for your buck with added coupons, rebates and special sales on your kids clothes. If there are particular stores you frequent, look in papers and on-line for extra savings. It's the only way to fly as far as I'm concerned to buy on sale and to use whatever coupons you can scrounge up to help bring down the final bill at the register!



In short, there are many ways that you can cut costs when it comes to the high cost of outfitting your matter what age.

Also teach your children early on important things about clothing and how to care for each item.  Also teach them the value of items over fad shopping.

Teaching them to care for their clothes no matter what price you paid will go a long way to helping them later in life be more invested in everything they own.

Think about buying store brands over name brands and save money but again, match the savings against the overall quality of the item.

If you happen to be a seamstress or at least know your way around a sewing machine, there are many kids clothing items you can make for less. You can even teach your child to sew. I made many skirts and jumpers to supplement my wardrobe when I was in junior high and high school.

Another way to save money is to purchase the material, wash and prep it, cut it out by using the pattern you want to use, and then have someone such as a professional seamstress put the garment together for you. I did this with my kids clothes many times and the person I found charged me hardly anything to put the pieces together. It was all the prep work that she hated!  I got dresses and shorts made for a few dollars that lasted an entire season.  I also always bought the material and the patterns on sale!

Always price compare no matter if you're shopping in a store or shopping on-line for even greater savings.

Don't be afraid to bring in an advertisement from another store or even one from on-line and ask if the store will price match. People do it all the time and stores are beginning to realize that making something on something is better than making nothing on no sale!

There are many ways to save money on kids clothes. If you have more suggestions to share with us, please leave them in the comment section below!


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