It’s kind of a cliche that kids tend to outgrow their clothes after only wearing them a few times, but especially in the first few years it’s also very true. That being the case, one of the things that really shocked me when I started shopping for my son is how expensive kids’ clothes can be. I balked at paying so much for items that I knew he’d only wear for a few months at most.
At the same time, I wanted to enjoy choosing clothes for him and I love to see him in cute outfits. So I’ve really worked at finding ways to have cute, quality clothing for my son without breaking the bank. And today I’m sharing some tips that I’ve found helpful with all of you!7 Ways to Save Money on Clothing for Kids
1. Accept hand-me-downs
This is pretty much the ultimate way to save money on kids’ clothes because hand-me-downs are FREE. Even if some of the items you’re offered don’t work because they’re off-season or just not something your child would wear, chances are at least some of them will fit and help fill your child’s clothes needs.
One tip to get the most out of hand-me downs: sort through them as soon as possible and then organize the clothes according to size and season. Place them in large plastic ziploc bags and label them clearly. This makes it easy to find what you need as your child grows.
2. Shop secondhand.
Not only does this save you money, but it’s also environmentally friendly to re-use rather than purchasing everything new. You can shop secondhand at brick and mortar stores like Goodwill and Once Upon a Child or at garage sales. You can also shop online on sites like Letgo and VarageSale (which also have apps you can download) or in Facebook groups.
Even though you’ll see lots of great deals, try to avoid the trap of buying items just because they’re cheap. Have a list (see #4 below) and only buy what you actually need. Try to pick brands that hold up well to repeated washing since they’ve probably already been washed quite a bit–unless you can find items with the tags still on, which is always a bonus!
3. Shop sales.
What you can’t find secondhand, try to purchase brand-new but on sale or with a coupon. Stores like Carter’s, Kohl’s, Old Navy, and Target run sales on kids’ clothing regularly. Sign up for email updates to get coupons and offers sent to your inbox. Another great place to shop for inexpensive kids’ clothing is Wal-Mart.
4. Have a capsule wardrobe.
Rather than purchasing lots and lots of items, many of which your child will probably never have a chance to wear before growing out of their current size, create a capsule wardrobe for them made of essential items which are mostly interchangeable. I will be sharing a post about how to create a capsule wardrobe for your child soon and I’ll be sharing a free printable to help as well, so stay tuned for that.
5. Choose quality over quantity.
Good quality kids’ clothes hold up well to repeated washings and don’t shrink or stretch out of shape, so you get more use out of them. And good quality doesn’t require a high price tag. You can get good quality clothing on a budget from some of the stores mentioned in #3 or when shopping secondhand. Take a look at the stitching, the stretchiness of the material, and the quality of any designs — over time you’ll get an idea of what good quality looks and feels like.
6. Wash and dry clothes gently so they’ll last longer.
Our kids will probably be hard on their clothes because, well, they’re kids and they’re supposed to play hard. But we don’t have to be hard on their clothes when we launder them. By washing and drying clothes as gently as possible, you’ll help them last longer, saving you money.
Here are a few tips:
- Treat stains before washing and then check the results before placing items in the dryer. Re-treat and re-wash if the stain is still present because drying the item will set the stain.
- Zip and button all clothing before laundering to prevent zippers and buttons from catching on other items.
- Turn clothing inside out before washing to help limit fading and pilling.
- Place kids’ socks in a mesh delicates bag to keep them from being lost in the washer/dryer.
- Use an appropriate amount of detergent–using too much is actually counter-productive.
- Wash clothing on the coolest cycle that’s appropriate–you don’t have to use hot water unless you’re washing something that needs to be sanitized.
- Try using a lower heat setting on your dryer as well. Think about switching from fabric softener to wool dryer balls since this can help laundry dry faster among lots of other benefits. Or, if possible, dry clothes outside on a clothesline.
7. Store clothing to be re-used correctly.
This way when you pull it out for the next baby, it’s in the best shape possible. Launder everything correctly before storing it and sort it by size and season. Since most of us keep our stored clothes in a basement or attic, it’s a good idea to place them in plastic bins to keep out moisture and critters. You can also put them in vacuum-sealed space bags or heavy-duty plastic bags before putting them in the bins for some extra protection and organization. Label everything clearly to make it easy to find what you need when you’re ready to pull the clothes out of storage.
I hope these tips help you find some ways you can save money on clothes for your kids! If you have any other great ideas, please share them down below, I’d love to hear them! And keep an eye out for my post about capsule wardrobes for kids — I’ll be sharing it soon!