5 Tips to Save Money On Kids Fall/Winter Clothing
I don’t know about you, but I just can’t stomach paying $30 for a pair of jeans or a t-shirt my child will wear for maybe three months before they outgrow it.
And even the items my rough-and-tumble boys don’t outgrow may end up with holes or stains, and even though they might still wear these clothes from time to time (especially for playing in the backyard)— I hate the thought of throwing down a good chunk of change for something that they will basically destroy in less than five wears.
It’s also actually pretty amazing how fast kids grow (hello, three shoe sizes in four months!), but it’s not so amazing for our family’s budget. I look for ways to cut corners wherever I can without skimping too much on quality. Here are my top five tips for saving money on kids’ clothes.
- Go to the thrift store. OK, yes, this is a thrift store blog, but I’m almost always impressed at the variety and quality of clothing at America’s Thrift Stores. At a recent trip to the Huffman store, I picked up a North Face fleece jacket for my older son for $2.99 (TWO NINETY-NINE! Do you have any idea how outrageously great that is?!) and a Columbia half-zip fleece for my younger son for $3.99. I also got them jeans, button-down shirts and T-shirts from name brands like Children’s Place, Old Navy, Gymboree and Wrangler. All total, for two jackets, a fleece, four pairs of jeans and four shirts, I spent about $30 — which is less than the retail price of the North Face jacket alone.
- Shop off-season. This one’s a little trickier, because you have to be pretty good at predicting what size your child will be in the following year. Many retail stores discount their clothes heavily at the end of the season; this is actually one of my favorite ways to buy more expensive brands. Pro Tip: The thrift store even discounts items on a rotating basis, so be sure to look for which color tags get an extra percentage discount.
- Learn the sale cycle. Retailers often put items on sales in a specific cycle, so if you pay attention, you will rarely have to shell out the full retail price for most items. This is also where it pays to plan ahead. If your child waits until the last minute to tell you they need a very specific item for their school dress-up day (we just finished Red Ribbon Week and Halloween, so there have been a lot of themed days lately for us), you are at the mercy of the store and whatever price that item happens to be. On the other hand, if you’re able to wait a week or two for it to go on sale, you’ll definitely get a better bargain. Also, don’t assume the most heavily advertised sales mean the best prices. Sometimes you can find items cheaper on a random Tuesday than you can on a holiday weekend or back-to-school time.
- Shop online. Even if you are going to pick up items locally, use the Internet to comparison shop, especially for bigger-ticket items (like shoes or jackets). It takes a lot of time to drive from store to store, but you can find the information you need in a few minutes with the power of Google. Pro Tip: Avoid paying for shipping when possible. Many retailers give you the option to ship to the store for free, and some even offer free shipping with no minimum purchase.
- Embrace the power of hand-me-downs. With two boys, I take advantage of hand-me-downs as often as I can, and it saves us a lot of money. This also is my best argument for seeking out high-quality items whenever possible, because they are more durable and actually last through two kids.
Altogether, like so many things, it’s all about balance — knowing what you’re comfortable spending and what you need and figuring out how to get the best items for that price.
Written by Misty Mathews