Kids grow really fast. This makes buying clothes for them an expense that keeps adding up, especially when they outgrow perfectly good clothes in mere weeks.
In addition to the growth spurts, kids are also very active. Which means the clothes that they do get to put on will wear out very quickly. Before you know it, you'll be spending a huge portion of your budget on your kids' clothes and there's nothing you can do about it. Or is there?
If you are a frugal parent, you've probably already given this a lot of thought. The good news is that with proper planning, it is possible to save quite a lot of money on kids' clothes. This guide will show you some of the best ways to do that.
So, without further ado, here's our ultimate guide on how to save money on kids' clothes.
1. Start shopping at the back of the store
If you shop for all your kids' clothes online, you can probably skip this step. However, if you frequent physical stores, this is the number one trick that you need to have up your sleeve.
Kids’ clothing stores usually display their latest collections at the entrance of the store where everybody can see. This is where they put together pretty outfit combos to convince you to get the whole collection. You don't want any of this.
Collections convince you to buy the skirt, the top, the cute bow, the hair clips, and the matching shoes, all at the same time. Sure, if you love the skirt, it is perfectly alright to get it. Just be sure to ignore all the other pieces of the outfit.
A pro shopper move is to shop starting from the back of the store. This is where all the real deals are. It’s like a treasure hunt; you won’t find the good stuff until you dig deep. The deeper in the store you go, the more likely you'll be to find cheap kids' clothes.
Also, keep an eye out for special sales and offers. You’ll make extra savings on your purchases when the store does a percentage-off sale. Some of the deals may even be 50-70% off the original price!
2. Shop in the off-season
Another way you can save on kids’ clothes is by shopping in the off-season. This is when most children’s stores are eager to replace their seasonal clothing in preparation for the upcoming new season. This is why there are always steep discounts on kids’ clothing at the end of each season.
Off-season shopping has its risks, though. Kids grow like weeds. It's quite tricky to predict what would fit your child in the next six months. As a rule of thumb, always get clothes that are a size or two larger than what you expect. If your child is in the middle of a growth spurt, buy even larger-sized clothes.
Keep in mind that this system won't work for infants. They just grow up too fast. Even if they manage to wear the clothes in the next season, they’ll outgrow them in no time.
3. Sell clothes
This is one of the cleverest ways of saving money on kids’ clothes. Consider selling your kids’ best unworn and gently used clothes. These are clothes that they rarely used and can still be worn by someone else.
Start by washing them and ensuring that they are wrinkle-free to make them more presentable. Then take them to a retail store or sell them on platforms like eBay and Facebook.
When you take them to a retail store, they will first be inspected by a retail worker. If the store is not currently overstocked and the retail worker likes what they see, they’ll make you an offer.
Remember that the best offers are made on clothes that are new or look like new. Once you make a sale, you can then use the money to buy new outfits for your kids. This way, you won't have to dig into your savings!
4. Buy secondhand clothes
You can also save a lot of money on kids’ clothes by buying second-hand or pre-loved clothes. There are many places where you can buy budget clothes for kids, including NCT sales, eBay, charity shops, and various Facebook groups.
Although the idea of purchasing someone else’s clothes may seem unappealing at first, consider giving it a shot. Start small and work your way up.
A great way to start is by going to local consignment shops and thrift stores to buy the kids’ clothes. There are plenty of great deals and offers on clean and gently used kids’ clothing. Start small by only purchasing special occasion clothing in secondhand stores. Clothes like Easter dresses which your child will only wear a few times need not be expensive.
Once you are more comfortable with buying from thrift stores and consignment shops, branch out and buy even more secondhand clothes. Just to be sure to always wash the secondhand outfits thoroughly before adding them to your child’s wardrobe.
5. Shop at discount retailers
Shopping at discount retailers is another great way of buying budget clothes for kids. This is a good way of getting quality designer kids’ clothes at a hefty discount. It will save you lots of cash that would otherwise have been spent paying full-price at a boutique or the brand’s retail store.
6. Swap with friends
Clothing swaps are popular in community buildings and church basements. All you have to do is take in clothes that your children have outgrown and trade them for clothes that your children can wear.
You can also make a swap group with a few of your friends and agree to swap clothes annually or once every six months. These swaps are a good way of getting new additions to your kids’ wardrobe without spending a dime.
7. Buy good quality clothes
Cheap clothes are almost always expensive in the end. With the rise of fast fashion, there are clothes that look really good but are of poor quality. Clothes that don't last are a waste of money. Poor quality clothes tend to fall apart after just a few washes.
Although good quality clothes may seem expensive when you are buying them, they can save you a lot of money in the long run. They are able to withstand a lot of washes. They can also be mended with ease and still look good. Plus, they can also be passed down to other kids. With good quality clothing, you get to buy fewer clothes, saving you money in the long term.
8. Avoid themed clothing
As much as you can, avoid buying holiday-specific clothing. All those Christmas suits and velvet dresses are unnecessary purchases that will only get worn once or twice.
Themed and holiday clothes are often really expensive yet can only get worn within that one season. By the following year, your kids will have outgrown them, and you'll need to buy new ones.
Instead of buying holiday-specific outfits, you could get your kids outfits that would be appropriate for other occasions as well.
If you have several kids, you also want outfits that can be handed down. Themed outfits are terrible for this. Your daughter may love Frozen but your younger daughter may be into Moana. Instead of making your child’s entire wardrobe theme-specific, try to limit yourself to just one or two outfits based on their favorite shows. This will make it easier to pass down clothes, and you won't have to force your younger daughter to wear clothes depicting a show she does not love.
9. Buy gender-neutral clothing
If you have more than one child or plan on having more children, consider buying gender-neutral clothes for your child. Children grow at an alarming rate and will outgrow the clothes within a short time. If the clothes are still in good condition, store them safely until your second child needs them.
Of course, buying gender-neutral clothes is convenient because you can never be sure of the gender of your future children. It allows you to pass down clothes to your younger children no matter what gender they are.
If you want, you could also pair the gender-neutral clothes with gender-specific outfits to create a unique look. Being able to hand down clothes to a child of the opposite gender will save you a lot of money especially when it comes to baby clothes and nursery items. Instead of having to buy new clothes, you get to use the outfits you already bought.
10. Repurpose clothing
You could always find new uses for the clothes your child has outgrown. For example, you could convert your child’s worn out pants into a pair of shorts by cutting off the legs. You could also do this when your child has a growth spurt and the pants become too short for them. In the same way, long-sleeved shirts can be converted into short-sleeved ones with some basic sewing skills.
Repurposing your child’s clothes will help you save money that would have otherwise been spent on buying new ones.
Take good care of the clothes your kids have. Having good clothes after your kids have outgrown them gives you lots of options. You could sell them, hand them down, repurpose them, or swap them for outfits that fit them. Any of these methods will end up saving you lots of cash that would have otherwise been spent on kids’ clothes.