Back to school and the change from summer to fall and eventually to winter can only mean one thing; buying clothing for the kiddo(s)! This happens to be one of my favorite areas of homemaking. I enjoy organizing, grouping, and putting together outfits. I adore those knit sweaters, corduroy pants, and striped polo tops.
While this is the case for me, it may not be for many parents. I am sure many worry about the cost of clothing, shoes, mittens, hats, and coats. Well, here are my top tips on dressing the kiddo(s) on the CHEAP!
1. BUDGET & ORGANIZE
As always, this is the first and most critical step to ensuring you curb excessive and unneeded spending. Have a set budget for each child and a detailed list of what they need. If your child needs turtleneck tops and jeans, stick to finding those items. Don’t forget to add important items such as, Halloween costumes, holiday clothing, shoes, mittens, hats, hair accessories, and any special occasion items into your budget.
I will preface this by saying, not everyone has gobs of hand-me-downs flowing their way; however, one need not look very far for hand-me-down clothing. Post a swap notice at church or on a community Facebook site. You could simply ask to swap needed hand-me-downs for an afternoon of yard work or other helpful task. Many sites like Free Cycle and Craigslist are great for finding needed items, like hand-me-downs, for free. Many people want to get rid of unwanted items and will either toss them or donate them. By doing a little groundwork, hand-me-downs are easy to obtain. I am beyond blessed to have mountains of hand-me-downs passed along from my family and friends. I have also put want ads on Craigslist and have found great items through Free Cycle. http://www.freecycle.net/
2. THRIFT STORES & CONSIGNMENT SHOPS
There are a few important differences between thrift shops and consignment shops. Thrift shops take donated items and sell them for profit or charity. These stores are often cluttered and will eat up the most time because clothing is often not organized by size. Consignment shops take hand picked items directly from their consignors and sell them at a 50/50 or 60/40 split with the consignor. Consignment items are often slightly higher in cost and may be of better quality in some cases. Both may have a ticket sale system and consignments shops usually have a deep clearance rack. Shopping at thrift and consignment shops will undoubtedly save you major cash as long as you stay focused.
3. YARD SALES
Yard sales are a great way to save on clothing. You will need cash and time to hop from sale to sale and to check each item for quality and size.
4. RETAIL SEASONAL DISCOUNTS
Most stores begin their summer to winter seasonal clothing transition at the the end of July and keep pushing the discounts out the door until the end of August. Target and Kohls are my two favorite stores for clearance shopping at the end of the season. It is important to note, the items in the seasonal discount are more than likely for the current season (if you are shopping in July and August, clearance items will be summer items). At the end of last winter, I picked up a few 4T, long-sleeved tops at Target for $2.00 a piece. Jack was wearing 3T at the time and I knew I could stash them for this fall / winter. Sure enough, they fit perfect.
5. OUTLET SHOPS
This one is questionable; however, for a seasoned sale shopper, outlet stores can offer rewarding finds. Outlets often have deep discounts especially during their transitional season. Outlet shops also offer coupons and bulk discounts throughout the year. Outlet shops are a great way to pick up coats and shoes for a huge discount. Just remember to be stay away from tempting stores!
6. SAVVY SPLURGE
The word “splurge” is enough to send a smart shopper into a panic. Splurge means to spend money on something far out of one’s budget. A savvy splurge is two things; a needed sale item and an item bought with remaining budgeted money. If you have purchased every item of clothing needed for your child and have extra cash left over, you can do two things; save it for the next needed clothing purchase or a savvy splurge. For example; last year after organizing all of our hand-me-downs and purchasing any additional needed items, I had some money left over. I decided to go for the savvy splurge and buy Jack’s Christmas sweater for the following year. I purchased a (brand new with tags) $58, Heartstrings Christmas sweater on EBAY for $14.00. A splurge would have been to purchase a sweater outright for $58.00. It would have broke the bank and been a foolish purchase. No kid needs a $58 sweater! My splurge was a savvy splurge for two reasons; the sweater was a needed item and in my budgeted clothing money. I do not need to buy a Christmas sweater this year and a have extra money in this year’s clothing allotment in the holiday category!
Hopefully, my 6 savings tips for purchasing kid’s clothing is helpful. How do you save money on kid’s clothes? What are some of your favorite places for bargins? I would love to hear your ideas!
The Joyful Homemaker