Buy the clothing off-season for the following year. This is especially great if you have a baby or young toddler, as they pretty much wear whatever you put on them and do not follow trends. I would get five dollar plastic crates and save them for when the seasons changed. When my kids were 6 months old I was purchasing size 18-24 months for the following year. Things to stock up on: onesies for babies (you need them no matter what the season) and items like jean shorts and khakis. Classics.
Shop the clearance racks. I know it is not as glamorous as walking into Neiman-Marcus and buying right off the mannequin, but a deal's a deal! We have found in-season kids pajamas for half price similar ones that were not on clearance. My kids never noticed the difference.
Go to a clothing swap or exchange. Clothing swaps are typically free meet-ups where moms can bring outgrown maternity, baby, and childrens' clothing and go home with "new" items for their own kids. Some go by way of "bring a bag, fill a bag" and others just require you bring something to swap out. Check with your local MOPS group, churches, and community centers to see if they participate. In addition, many organizations host Halloween costume swaps in the fall.
Check out your online garage sale group. This is a newer trend in the Northeast but from what I have been told, extremely popular in the Midwest. If you have a Facebook account, find one local to you and hit "request to join." Think a combination of craigslist and a local garage sale combined online. Pictures, prices, and locations are all posted on the wall and are centralized to where the group is located.
Special clothing items can be gifts. This can be either from you or from a relative. For example, if your daughter is in ballet, the recital costume could be "gifted" from Grandma as a present in lieu of toys. Often times relatives do not know what to buy and would love to help out, especially if they get to see their little sweetie wear it on stage! We also always got small clothing items for Valentines Day and Easter when I was a child. While it never dawned on me growing up that the Easter Bunny bringing me socks and underwear is a bit odd, my basket was always full! Get creative and "double dip" on clothing purchases by giving them to your kids on special occasions.
Don't buy what you don't need. This is something I did not learn overnight but that holds a lot of weight. If your child already has a pair of water shoes, don't buy another pair just because they are on sale. If a shirt is 50% off and you buy two, you are still spending the same amount of money as if you had bought one at full price. Follow me? Yes, you have two shirts out of it, but unless you truly need two shirts, you are still spending the same amount at the register. The best shoppers buy what they need at a great price - and stop.
Clothes shopping for kids is a never-ending cycle, since they never stop growing! Here's hoping your kids have a fabulous wardrobe and that you still have some money to treat yourself too!
|Image from Glouchester Rd- UK|