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Finding Cheap Kids Clothes

Updated on January 16, 2015

Finding Cheap Kids Clothes that aren't "Cheaply Made" Is NOT Impossible!

Just added something to the photo credit, below... Just had to talk about the look on this kid's face!. Anyway, is it even possible to find cheap kids clothes today? Wait... Before I go on, perhaps I should clarify something.

By "cheap," I mean "discount kids clothes" or "affordable kids clothes" or even just "reasonably priced kids clothes that won't make me go bankrupt when I buy them."

Now, there ARE plenty of "cheap" kids clothes that are just downright poor quality. I'm sure you've seen them. Maybe you've even got some... But, because some of us are feeling a wee bit like cheapskates these days when it comes to creaking open our wallets, well... I guess that "cheap" is how I'm feeling about it right now. :)

Anyway, I'm not here to discourage anyone today! As difficult as it may be to hear the kids whine about how "Bobby or Susie and everyone else but me has those new Nikes or that pair of True Religion jeans and why can't I..." take a deep breath. Today, I'll prove to you that it truly is possible to find sources of inexpensive kids clothes.

We just need a little ingenuity and strategy.... Let's continue.

Photo Credit - royalty free Clip-Art... But get a load of the look on this kid's face. What is she saying? "Ha ha ha... my closet has more clothes than yours..." or is it "Ha ha ha...my closet has more clothes than yours, but you'll never know that MY parents didn't spend my college tuition on them. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!"

Here's a VERY Happy Norma Lee Announcing Her Yard Sale - Oh...It's Yard Sale Day at the Lees' House...

To get ourselves into the proper mood for finding cheap kids clothes (or cheap anything else...), let's sing along with Norma Lee!

If you're ever in Kentucky and see Norma Lee having a yard sale, I'll bet it will be worth a visit! :)

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Feeling Cheap These Days? If So, You're Not Alone...

Who Wants to Spend $550 for a Pair of Jeans...Raise Your Hand...

I know.. I know... you don't want to use the word "cheap" when you're looking for your children's clothes. No one wants to appear cheap.

But, what is a parent to do? Of course all parents would love to drape their children in the most beautiful of designer kids clothes, but let's face it. The reality is that a LOT of people today are looking for bargains and, let's face it, cheap kids clothes.

Because the truth is this: A lot of folks are feeling a tad bit "cheap" these days. I know that there really are people out there who will happily spend hundreds of dollars for a pair of jeans, but I'm not one of them.

(Really - even if I DID have hundreds of dollars to buy a pair of jeans, my frugal nature simply howls against it. I just can't do it.)

But, that doesn't mean I want to be relegated to buying my clothes at that large well-known box store that I don't believe I need to name (you know the one I mean!).

So let's get creative. First let's review some of the initial (and obvious) ideas in the list below.

Think outside the "Big Box" store! - Drag out that old sewing machine!

Sewing Clothes Kids Love: Sewing Patterns and Instructions for Boys' and Girls' Outfits
Sewing Clothes Kids Love: Sewing Patterns and Instructions for Boys' and Girls' Outfits

Let's not forget about the age-old art of sewing! Readers are really enjoying this book, and one person even added a VIDEO REVIEW for you! Even though I am not a expert seamstress, I find sewing to be fun and therapeutic. Maybe you will, too! :)

 
Dress for Less: Learn to Buy Quality Clothes for You & Your Family (A Two Frugal Fairfielders Guide-- Book 1)
Dress for Less: Learn to Buy Quality Clothes for You & Your Family (A Two Frugal Fairfielders Guide-- Book 1)

This is a VERY inexpensive download with some down-to-earth advice by the founder of the "Two Frugal Fairfielders" blog (Fairfield, CT that is...). Can't go wrong here.

 

The More Obvious & Simplistic Ways to Find Cheap Kids Clothes - You already know most of this...

Ok. Here are some of the more obvious methods for finding cheap kids clothes. Nothing here should sound new - hopefully! We'll talk about fine tuning some strategies afterwards...

  • Probably the #1 obvious strategy: Shop yard sales, thrift stores and consignment stores. Note: We will talk a little more about refining this method in a little bit.
  • When you buy clothes, stick with colors that are easy to match with other clothes. That bright pink shirt may be pretty, but if you don't have anything that matches it, you know it will just sit in the closet.
  • Host a kids clothing swap meet with other like minded parents. Here are some great tips about How To Plan and Host a Cothing Swap.
  • Have a yard sale to empty your closets, then use the proceeds to purchase new clothes.
  • Visit a consignment shop and ask if you can 1) consign your own clothes for cash, or 2) exchange stuff you bring in for newer stuff.
  • When searching for cheap kids clothes online, refine your search with search terms like "discount kids clothes" so that you don't wind up with the expensive boutique stores (which will tempt you to spend more than you need to). You might just end up at MY site, which is www.SaveOnKidswear.com/ (hint..hint.. shameless self promotion there) :)

This just in... "Kidorable" is an excellent company - You've not seen kids raingear like THIS!

This is Kidorable's "Mermaid" Ensemble. Clicking here will bring you to their site
This is Kidorable's "Mermaid" Ensemble. Clicking here will bring you to their site

You won't be finding the raingear you see here in most stores. I wrote to the folks at Kidorable (they're based in Illinois), and I was impressed by their responsiveness. Whenever someone gets back to me quickly and in a friendly way, I'm pleased. And, when I'm pleased, I like to promote them (I'm a little fussy about who I promote). So, that's what I'm doing here. This particular product, the "Mermaid Ensemble" is adorable - I had a tough time deciding on which item to feature, because they all have their charm.

If you click on the picture , you can see more than 200 items that they offer. I think you'll like them! (The photo is linked to my account, so I'll get a commission if you do decide to purchase from them. If you do, I thank you!)

I also featured the company at the top of my website with a sample of the cutest kids raincoats, boots, towels and umbrellas I've ever seen. I personally think that these are perfect gifts - and they even have kids towels that would be really adorable for baby shower gifts.

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Tips for Finding the Right Yard Sales for Cheap Kids Clothes

A little strategy will go a long way...

Newspaper Ads...The Ol' Stand By...

Most people are familiar with the yard sale category in the classified ads. While your local paper's ads are certainly the most well-known method of advertising, they're not the only way anymore. If you haven't frequented yard sales in the past, get you Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday copies of the paper since most people will run their ads on those days.

Also, many yard sales start on Fridays, and run through the weekend. If you find that a yard sale has begun on a Friday, and you don't show up until Sunday, you can expect that most of the "good stuff" will be gone by then. If at all possible, you want to be early to a yard sale for the best selection of goods (not limited to cheap kids clothes!).

If someone is advertising a yard sale in the paper, check to see what they're selling. If they list a phone number, call them to see if used kids clothes or toys will be part of the sale. There is no sense in going to a sale if they aren't offering what you want or need. Time is money, so spend yours wisely.

Enter... CraigsList!

One of the newest ways of finding yard sales is the wonderful world of CraigsList. Just go to www.CraigsList.com, and narrow it down to your state and region. In CraigsList, there is a "For Sale" category. THIS is where you'll start...

'Fess up... Would you ever buy clothes at a yard sale?

Seriously, some people THRIVE on buying clothes at yard sales and thrift stores. Some would rather eat 5-day old stuffed cabbage than go to a yard sale. Which are you?

Do you, or would you consider buying used clothes at a yard sale or thrift store?

See results
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Using CraigsList to Find Yard Sales for Cheap Kids Clothes

This is a neat little trick...

Well, actually it's not really a trick at all. We're simply going to narrow down your options so that you're targeting the correct yard sales for your situation.

Step #1 - Go to www.CraigsList.com

Now, first, when you click on your state, you may notice that you need to choose a region nearest to your location. For example, if I go to the Kentucky CraigsList, I need to choose between Bowling Green, Cincinnati, OH, eastern Kentucky, Huntington-Ashland, Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, and western Kentucky. For a small state, such as Rhode Island or New Hampshire, there are no regions to choose from.

Step #2: Proceed to the "Garage Sale" Category

Once you are in your state and region, click on the "Garage Sale" tab under the For Sale category.

Depending on the day, you may see dozens if not hundreds of yard and garage sale listings. Trying to determine which ones to go to can be daunting. Even in the New Hampshire listing for April 10, 2010, there were more than 50 listings. There would be many more during the summer season (April is still cold in New Hampshire). For the NH listings, most of them were in the southern part of the state.

Now, let's show you how to save some time and find the "A-List" of yard sales!

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Using the Search Tool to Target Your CraigsList Yard Sale Listings

This is a Snap!

Step #3: Put Your Specialized Search Term in the Upper Search Term Box at the Top of the Page

Now, all you need to do from here is to scroll up to the top of the page of the CraigsList ads, and type in the key phrases of what you are looking for. This is where it is much easier than culling through the print ads in your newspaper.

So, if you are looking for cheap kids clothes, start with "kids," or "clothes" in the search bar. Or "toys," if that's what you're looking for.

While taking the screen shot for the Rhode Island yard sales in CraigsList, I saw that for a small state, there were a LOT of listings. And, CraigsList doesn't break the state into regions (There are a few states where CraigsList does not break a state into sections.). So, let's say I live in the Providence area of Rhode Island. My first search term might be "Providence."

Much better! I was able to narrow down the yard sales to about 2 dozen for 3 days (a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

So, I went one step further and typed in "Providence Kids" which showed me 5 sales. Changing the term to "Providence Toys" and saw 3 sales for the 3 day period.

Of course you can use this strategy for anything you are looking for, whether it's a piano, tires for your car, or used lawn equipment.

One thing to remember, however, is that people will sometimes list their yard sale daily for a few days to get more viewers. So, you'll see duplicate ads.

Other CraigsList Thoughts

To take this a final step, don't just stop at the "Garage Sales" category. Don't forget to check in the "Clothes & Accessories" section, or "Baby & Kids," "Household," and also "General." Let your fingers do the walking, and you'll find a LOT of great stuff!

And finally, don't forget to put your OWN ad out there for "Cheap Kids Clothes Wanted." In South Carolina, where I'm spending the winter, my husband saw an ad from a woman who was looking to trade some kids toys for baby formula.

Think creatively!

Where Do You Find Cheap Kids Clothes? - Yard Sales? Thrift Stores?

This is our party tent, where we host our own yard sales.
This is our party tent, where we host our own yard sales.

This is specific to USED clothes... Where do you find used clothes or goods most of all?

I tend to find and buy most of my used clothes, toys, and other used goods at...

See results

If You Decide To Purchase OnLine...

If you decide to buy discount or cheap kids clothes online, here's a tip: Go in on the purchase with friends and SAVE on shipping!

Cheap Kids Clothes Even at Amazon! - Well... Cheaper than at that NYC Boutique!

Let's have a look-see at what the folks at Amazon offer!

Don't Forget! Both Individuals AND Retailers Save Money on Kids Clothes at www.SaveOnKidswear.com!
Don't Forget! Both Individuals AND Retailers Save Money on Kids Clothes at www.SaveOnKidswear.com!

Should You Dicker Over Cheap Kids Clothes Prices at Yard Sales?

Dickering or Negotiating?

"Dickering" sounds so... so... well, petty (at least to me!). But "Negotiating?" That's different!

My Own Rant About "Dickering"... Don't Take It Personally if You Like Dickering.

Personally, I dislike dickering over prices. At my own yard sales, if I put $1.00 on an item, and someone says, "Will you take 50-cents?" Well, that just makes me nuts. I just want to give it to 'em at that point. C'mon already! It's only a dollar for crying out loud... That's the kind of thing I think of when I hear the word "Dickering."

When I Don't Mind Dickering (or "Negotiating")

Now, if someone is buying 10 items at my yard sale, and it comes out to about $12 and he says, "Would you take $10 for all of it?" That's more like it. That seems more like negotiating. He's willing to take a whole heap of stuff out of here, and at that point, taking $2 off the pile seems reasonable to me.

So, when you're out there shopping for cheap kids clothes, and something is $1, I say just buy the thing. BUT... If you find a WHOLE BUNCH of things at that yard sale, then I believe it's worth asking the host, "How much would you charge if I take ALL of it?" Or, "Is there a price break if I buy 10 items?"

But, please, if you see something for $1 or $2 dollars and it's clearly worth it, I say just buy it at the host's asking price.

What if an Item is Clearly Overpriced?

But, you also need to not buy something if you feel it's clearly OVERPRICED for a yard sale. Sometimes, I'll see a pair of jeans that the person has marked for $20. Now, there is NO WAY I'm buying a pair of used jeans for $20. The host may say, "Well, they cost me $75 when I bought them." Well, that's not my issue - if she bought a pair of jeans for $75 at some fancy store, that's her choice.

Just pass at that point. Don't argue. Just don't buy them. Move on to the next sale and pat yourself on the back for saving your money.

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Any Other Ideas Where to Find & Buy Cheap Kids Clothes?

There's ALWAYS Another Idea...

Ok, I've got a few other ideas about getting cheap kids clothes. Or at least saving money on them.

The REAL "Step #1" is "Avoid Mall Stores if You're Trying to Save Money..." But if you MUST go...

#1: If you find that you absolutely MUST go to the mall, and you know you won't be able to resist going into the high priced chains there, then at least plan ahead. Go with cash - and allot whatever you're planning to spend and put it separate from your other cash. Leave the credit cards at home if you can. If you plan on eating lunch while you're out, plan that for cash as well (and keep it separate from the clothing allowance).

Make a List and Check it Twice...

#2: Make a list. Yes, just like your food shopping list (You DO shop with a list, don't you?). If Bobby needs a pair of sneakers, some socks and underwear and school shirts, put them on the list. Don't deviate - stick to the list. You'll be less tempted to buy those extra insoles or shoelaces that will undoubtedly be near the sneakers.

Shopping for Winter? Shop in the Summer. Huh?

#3 Shop off-season (which also means you'll be planning ahead). You'll find some great bargains in the clearance section. So, that means you might find Suzie a nice winter coat for next fall during the spring sales.

Machine Wash Your Classic Styles

#4 Avoid buying clothing that needs to be dry cleaned (which can start to cost a lot), and do your best to avoid "the newest trend" which will undoubtedly be out of style by the time the kids have worn them say... 5 times. My mother always taught me that classics never went out of style, and she was right.

Good old fashioned jeans and khakis never seem to go out of style. But an entire wardrobe built around Hannah Montana or some other teen star?

How to Satisfy Your 'Tween When You Refuse to Give in to "Everyone Else" Regarding Clothes...

Buy a poster instead... It'll be much cheaper in the long run.

Beware of the Store Credit Card!

If you are tempted to open a store credit card at the cash register because you'll get 10% off your purchase, BE CAREFUL! Store cards typically have very high interest rates, and falling behind can damage your credit rating. Is it worth the 10% off? Only you know for sure. Again, BE CAREFUL!

Of Course There's Always eBay! - You Really CAN Find Just About Anything on eBay...

Yes, you can certainly find some bargains on eBay. But when it comes to buying clothes, it can be difficult. Clothing may be difficult to return if it's not the right size. If you're looking for vintage clothing, eBay is a wonderful source! But, if you are looking for cheap kids clothes for your children to wear every day, you may need to be cautious. Here are a few things to look at on eBay to give you a starting point.

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    • profile image

      SpacePieFace 4 years ago

      I work for a nonprofit thrift store, I've got to say I think it's crazy to shop for kid's clothing anywhere else. The prices are unbeatable, and the way they grow out of them makes spending any more than a few bucks seem like a gigantic waste of time and money.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 4 years ago

      @Funkysi: Thank you!

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      Funkysi 4 years ago

      Great lens. We use friends source too for our girl.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 4 years ago

      @David Stone1: Thanks Dave! I appreciate that vote of confidence. Coming from you, that's high praise indeed!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      This might be the most useful lens I've ever read on Squidoo. Nice work!

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 4 years ago

      @poutine: They sure are! I grew up receiving BAGS of clothes from the neighbors each year. Their girls were just a couple of years older than me, so I had tons!

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      poutine 4 years ago

      Family and friends are a great source of clothing.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 4 years ago

      @whiteskyline lm: True enough! It's amazing how inexpensive stuff can be if you're patient!

    • whiteskyline lm profile image

      whiteskyline lm 4 years ago

      My only saving hint would be Walmart or Target and Costco and BJ's, and also, don't be afraid to look in Filene's, sometimes you would be surprised what they have for prices.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 4 years ago

      @lilpixiedust: Your son reminds me of my husband! He always wears a big hole in his knees too! :)

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      lilpixiedust 4 years ago

      Great tips on finding cheap clothes. My youngest son always having big hole on his knees. I might need a sewing machine to patch up the holes. He doesn't wear any pants when it has hole on them.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      I really agree with you about the price dickering. I mean if someone is asking $1 or 50 cents..... why not just pay it, or don't get it at all. So your advice is good.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 5 years ago from New York

      Fabulous tips and information to save on buying cheap clothes for kids. Cheap in price and not in quality! *Squid Angel Blessed* and added to My Squid Angel Blessings 2012 to the "Parenting & Kids » Kids" neighborhood.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 5 years ago

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: Thank you KonaGirl! Your blessing means a lot to me! :)

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you! Even with all the money in the world, I would still buy on sale! :)

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 5 years ago

      @Joan Haines: It definitely saves money to get a lot of orders under one shipment! :) Glad you liked the ideas! (Yeah, I hope Norma had a great sale too... I think about that video once in a while when I see a "Norma" at the yard sales I go to! :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice tips. I always buy on sale when shopping for kid's clothing. I sometime make by myself when I'm feeling like it. :-)

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Good ideas! I like the tip on going in on an internet order together to split the shipping cost. I sure hope Norma had a great yard sale.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 5 years ago

      @JoshK47: Thank you so much for the blessing Josh! :)

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      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Awesome information - definitely good saving money on kids clothes, especially since they grow right on out of em. Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 5 years ago

      @Lee Hansen: Hello Pastiche my friend! :) We're beginning to think about a thrift store of our own... Just THINKING about it, mind you... it would be a HUGE undertaking and investment... I'll keep y'all posted! :)

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      I love to shop at thrift stores, resale shops and outlet stores when they have a sale to find good quality kids clothes at low prices. It's a bit of a family passion ...

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 5 years ago

      @BunnyFabulous: Hi BunnyFab! I grew up on hand-me-downs and it was kind of fun when "the girls" across the street would bring over their clothes for me to go through. I never knew what I was going to find! They were a couple years older than I was, so sometimes they weren't totally in style by the time I got them, but it was still fun (And oh, how I wish I had all those 70s clothes today!) :) Thanks so much for visiting! :)

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 5 years ago

      @JoleneBelmain: Hi Jolene! Thanks so much for visiting! Oh... it is SO TRUE... I see so many clothes brand-spankin' new with all their tags at yard sales. I'll actually ask the seller, "Why didn't you ever wear this?" And I'll commonly hear, "Oh, I liked it at the time, but I don't really know why I bought it..." Crazy! :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      good reading for me tonight, earned a 'thumbs up' for this too.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Hand-me-downs are wonderful. I've also asked friends with older children than mine if I can buy their kids' used clothing. They give me first pick, I get nicer clothes, and I pay them a little better than yard sale prices. Everyone's happy.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      I've gotten clothes at garage sales, consignment stores, and thrift stores as well. I shopped there quite a bit when i was young, and you can find some great brand name stuff with the tags still on them for only a few bucks. It's amazing what people will buy and not wear, or just donate.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you Tipi! Yes, that video is funny! Oh...it's yard sale day... :) LOL

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I felt like I was saving money just reading your tips. Nice job on that video!

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you Shirley! We also do a lot of shopping at thrift stores! It's amazing what you can find there! :) Hugs, Kath

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very good ideas! I don't have kids to buy for, but get lots of clothes formyself at Charity Shops, maybe they are just another name of Thrift Stores, but they are run by national Charities, and staffed by volunteers, sometimes one can find really nice new stuff there, unwanted gifts I guess.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 6 years ago

      @8Dima9: Hi! You are very welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by!

      :) Kath

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 6 years ago

      @Gerald McConway: Thanks! Glad you found this helpful! :) Kath

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      8Dima9 6 years ago

      Some great ideas here for saving money on kids clothing, thanks a ton!

    • Gerald McConway profile image

      Gerald McConway 6 years ago

      Nice lens! Everyone needs to save cash these days and hopefully this helps them!

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 6 years ago

      @TreasuresBrenda: Hi Brenda! Thank you so much for your great comments! Also... I just took the "New" out of the Table of Contents! I didn't even notice that! LOL!

      Thanks so much! Hugs, Kath

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      GREAT ideas for saving money and children go through their clothing so quickly that it is not worth spending a lot.

      P.S. Don't forget to take the New out of your Table of Contents title.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 6 years ago

      @Lee Hansen: So true, Pastiche! It seems crazy to spend hundreds of dollars on something that is going to be worn for - maybe - 2 months! Thank you so much for visiting my lens! You're a really active and caring lensmaster, and I truly enjoy what YOU write as well. Have a great day!

      :) Kath

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      I am a big fan of thrifting and resale shops for saving money on fashions for kids and also for adults. I live near several real outlet stores, too, so I shop for kids clothes there in the clearance racks - you can save up to 90% on new designer label kids clothes at a sale.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 6 years ago

      @myraggededge: It's amazing, isn't it, how fast kids grow? It honestly just doesn't make sense to spend a bunch of money on kids clothes. My husband's daughter had a little boy a few months ago, and I'm guessing he never even wore half the clothes people gave him. She's already bagged up a bunch of them to pass along to one of her friends who is have a baby in a month or so.

      Of course, there will always be folks who shop at the most expensive places and will pay $30 for .25-cents worth of material. But, that's what keeps this wonderful world turning! :)

      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting!

      :) Kath

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 6 years ago

      Great tips! I got 11 pairs of barely worn (some still had labels attached) jeans for my son from someone on Freecycle last year. They'd bought them for their boy and he grew 5" in a couple of months.

    • writerkath profile image
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      writerkath 7 years ago

      @OhMe: Thank you so much OhMe! It amazes me how much money one can save with just a little ingenuity! :) Have a great day! :) Kath

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      You've got a lot of useful tips on finding Cheap Kids Clothes. Thank you.