I am so flattered that Brynne from Femme Frugality agreed to guest post for me! Brynne is a young adult, student, mother, and fellow Pennsylvanian. She writes regularly at her blog about savings and earning in all sectors of her life. I have learned so much as a reader of her blog. Check out her stuff–she’s awesome! Today’s she’s sharing with us about something very near and dear to my heart: saving money on children’s clothing! Thanks so much for all this, Brynne!
It’s always boggled my mind how clothing for a two-year-old can cost just as much as clothing for me. They’re using less material, right? So why am I forced to pay more per square inch? With the exception of being overwhelmed with onesies at your baby shower, clothing your child is almost exclusively left to you as the parent, but it doesn’t have to make you broke.
Resale and Consignment
These stores are amazing. For Goodwill prices, you get gently-used to brand new with the tags still on clothes sans questionable stains and stigma. The outfits are never beyond a year out of season, and you can even sell your own child’s clothes when they’ve outgrown them for store credit or cash. My favorite? A national chain called Once Upon a Child. There are also tons of local ones in whatever locale you inhabit, so shopping these stores can also be a convenient way to support small, local business.
Accept Hand-Me-Downs Gracefully
Even if you think you’ll hate them. They’re probably going to come with a few stained items, and you might hate the fashion taste of the donating parent. Taking them doesn’t mean you need to keep them. And now someone knows you’re looking for clothes. You’d be surprised at people’s generosity and how they will network for you. All of a sudden you may just be inheriting brand-name, barely used clothes from some lady she goes to church with.
Don’t be afraid to give your first child hand-me-downs. There’s no parenting rule saying everything must be store bought and expensive just because it’s your first time around.
If you’re having trouble finding or asking other parents to share, threadUP is a great resource. In the same vain as resale and consignment, this website allows you to purchase gently used clothing from other parents or sell them your own items for a PayPal cash out. You may just end up breaking even.
Stop Buying Brand Name
If buying or receiving gently-used items isn’t your cup of tea, a great way to cut that number at the bottom of your receipt is to stop buying brand name. When you’re purchasing a logo, you’re purchasing a status symbol; something the other toddlers won’t even notice, I assure you. In fact, you can probably get away with buying cute outfits without brand name tags (and prices!) until middle school without your kid noticing. (I’m not saying you have to, at that point, sacrifice your budget to your budding teenager, but that is when they and the other kids will start to notice whose name adorns their clothing.)
Timing is Everything
Brand name or not, knowing when to shop effects your checkbook balance a great deal. I’m a huge clearance rack lover. I bought my favorite outfit of DC’s, shirt and shorts, brand new for $3 total. I bought it off the clearance rack at the end of last summer when prices were slashed as the store was making room for sweaters and jeans. This also works great for higher-ticket items like swimsuits or winter coats for next year.
If you’re buying seasonal stuff for the current year you can save, too. Say you’re buying an outfit for the fourth of July. You’ll start seeing stuff put on the shelves about two months beforehand. For our example, that would be May. Don’t shop in May. Wait until the end of June. One or two weeks before any given holiday, retailers start to lose their cool, worrying that they won’t be able to clear their inventory and then will lose profit to those clearance prices So they start cutting early. I got a St. Patrick’s Day outfit this year for $6 this way. It was $23 mere weeks before. The caveat with shopping using this method is that things will be a bit picked over in both size and style.
Use Your Store Cash and Rewards
So many stores will give you $10, $20, $30 in their store money to get you to come back at a later date. Use it. Come back and try not to spend over the dollar amount they’ve given you by using the timing method we just talked about and sales to your advantage. Sometimes you may even be able to get stuff that’s full-price for free this way. Sign up for their e-mail reward programs to get additional coupons and deals in the future. If you don’t want your inbox flooded with this “junk,” set up a separate e-mail address specifically for this purpose.
Remember, kids clothes are going to get gross. Between grass stains, food, and potty accidents some of your and their favorites are bound to get ruined, so there’s no need to break the bank for them. But do be sure to take lots of pictures. Your kid’s going to look dang cute in your thriftily-acquired outfits, and they’re only little for so long!
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Meredith blogs at The Mom of the Year, dedicatedly earning her title one epic parenting fail at a time. When her kids aren't busy pummeling each other with Legos or requiring their 16th sippy cup refill of the day, she tries to offer quick, relatable laughs for fellow parents of the world and all their empathizers. She remains entirely terrified by crafts, promises to never share any useful household tips, and is fully committed to a less serious look at the world of parenting.