We have three sons. Our oldest is five years old, and we have only spent around $50 on clothing for him and his brothers in those five years. The biggest expense many parents face with their kids, outside of filling their bellies, is keeping clothes on their backs, and it doesn’t have to be that way. A little thrifty thinking and some luck can bring your clothing budget near to zero. This is how we’ve managed to only spend around $50 on five years of clothing for three kids.
Between my husband and I, we have six siblings all of whom have children. My sister often comments that she offers her hand-me-downs to people all the time, and they won’t accept them because they are used. I will, the less we spend on necessities the more money we have for fun stuff. As kids grow quickly, second-hand clothes from friends or family are often in great condition and cost nothing at all anyway.
Freecycling groups and online clothing trades on sites such as Facebook can also be a wonderful place to find people just wanting to get clothing out of their house. If you can’t find people wanting to recycle, you will find discount offers from people selling barely used kids clothes, because what else are you gonna do with um if you aren’t having more kids? Speaking of which…
When our older son outgrew his hand-me-downs we put them into storage even though at the time we didn’t have any other children, because we planned to have more. We also accepted hand-me downs that were way too big for our kids at the time. Now we just pull clothes out of storage and again pay nothing. It’s still new to them.
What little clothing we have bought for our kids has mostly been off clearance racks. Many stores will do large clear-out sales just before they do inventory or at the changing of seasons. In either case, you’ll find 60 to 80% off racks. To sweeten the deal, I often use rewards points on credit cards or from stores that offer them like Fred Meyers to pay what little the items off these racks cost. As a result, even new clothing turns out to be free fairly often thanks to other shopping I already have to do. Thrift stores can also be a good buy, as well as bulk clothing bags off online markets like eBay.
Finally, when birthdays and other gift receiving holidays roll around and people ask me what my kids want, I say clothes. My husband and I typically get them toys as we’re more in-tune with their interests and can pick one or two things they’ll really use so we don’t end up with a flood of new toys, and we save money on clothing in the process.
I’m sure once my kids are no longer toddlers and get into the choosy preteen stage my cheap clothing ride will end, but until then these four simple tips have saved me hundreds.