Saving Money on Kids Clothes
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There are many alternatives outside of the grandparents that offer a great bargain – if you shop smart.
Consignment Stores: There are lots of great kid only type consignment stores. Stores like Once Upon the Child know the merchandise that will sell. Look for these types of places in your community. This is where you should look for high ticket items, winter coats, outfits or special occasion, weddings, family reunions, and religious gatherings. There is no need to buy “play clothes” for your children at consignment stores. Also, consignments will also take your child's old clothes that they have outgrown and either gives you money or store credit towards future purchases for the chance to sell them in their store. Children’s Consignment shops can also be an excellent resource for furnishing your child’s room or nursery.
Used Clothing / Yard Sales: Some people may not think that second hand clothes are an option for you – if you are one of this – skip ahead – if not read on… Many of us grew up in families where we all wore hand me downs. Good articles of clothing that someone “above us” had grown out of. Second Hand clothes can be a bargain. Make sure it is a true value. Do not pay $3.99 for a T-shirt – you can get that elsewhere new for that price. But if you can find a pair of Duck Head kaki pants for $4.99 in great shape – grab them.
Clearance Sales – I love buying off the clearance rack. Stores such as Kohl’s, JC Penny and Target have great clearance racks. At the end of August or even July buy for next summer, remember to adjust for what size your child will be wearing the next time you have a July 4th BBQ!
Keep in mind:
Buy durable and be willing to pay more for certain items such as coats and dress clothes. It is worth it. Basics such as jeans should look the same washing after washing. Inspect items for quality construction. Feel the fabric to see if it seems sufficiently heavy to withstand wear and tear. Check that buttons and zippers fasten securely.
Know what the kids like to wear. If your son hates to wear courdorys, is the $1.25 pair at Goodwill really worth the morning hassle?
Make sure clothes are easy to take off and put on, when toddlers start the “I want to do it myself "stage, lots of buttons and zippers can be challenging.
Know what your children already have. If they have 3 swim suites, even though you find one for $1.00 walk away – spent the $1 on something else.
Know your budget, spend the most money on the things your children wear 80% of the time
Know how to launder it and make it simple – dry cleaning your children’s clothes is not a good use of your monthly budget unless the garment is for a very special and rare occasion.
Buy socks and underwear to fit, in bulk and in the same color, style and/or brand for each child. These items wear out fast and are uncomfortable if they're too big. You don't want to have to throw out a good sock just because its mate got lost.
When buying seasonal outerwear, leave room for growth. When your child puts on their winter coat in November remember they may still be wearing it in April.
If you buy – know what happens if you have to return - file your receipts. This is especially true for higher priced items such as coats and dress clothes.