Every mom should have an option to stay home with her children, regardless of income

How to Get Kids Clothes Free

I never pay for my children’s clothes. It’s a cardinal sin in my home. Kids clothes are SO expensive. A new shirt can run you $10. A new pair of jeans, $18. If I were to clothe my kids with brand new clothes, I’d be broke! Shoot, I’m be homeless again! Nope, that’s not for me.

Paying for clothes in our house is a sin. Click to read how I get all my kids BRAND NAME clothes for FREE! You'll never go back to paying for clothes again!

Here’s why.

Kids grow so quickly. Infant clothes last only 3 months! As children get older, even then, we have to replace the clothes every year. If the child has a growth spurt, forget it! You’re looking at 6 months. That’s not even counting seasons. Winter clothes, the kids wear 3-6 months, summer 3-6 months, depending on where you live. So, for me to invest a ton of money into something like that, it’s just not in my vocabulary.

But, as you know, I’m a quality girl. I love Children’s Place, Gymboree, GAP, Old Navy. I’m not talking Walmart brands here, no offense, okay a little. 😉 I want to make sure my kids clothes last them the 3-6 months they wear them, you know. So, they have to hold up to a rambunctious 5 year old boy and an equally rough girl.

There are three ways in knowing how to get kids clothes free…

How to Get Kids Clothes Free

1) I buy all the kids clothes at yard sales, garage sales, off Craigslist, Facebook groups, etc.

This means shoes too. The most I will pay for a pair of shoes, if they are super nice is $2. My max for each clothing item is $1, only if they are brand names and super fabulous. The reason is because I KNOW that after the kids are done wearing them, I can resell them in a large lot for the same price. You see people LOVE to buy at those prices and Craigslist is the perfect place. I take all their clothes of the whole year, 1 size, and sell all together and price them at the same price I purchased them. Many people use these for their own kids, but I’ve had several purchase to put in their yard sales to make money, or brand names they sell on eBay, etc.

Listen, I don’t have time to sell all these clothes on eBay. If I did, I’m sure I could make a small fortune. But, I’m just happy to buy them at the same price I sell them for, thus providing for my family and getting them FREE. 🙂 Occasionally, I’ll get an item that I have to throw out, it’ll get paint all over it or something. If the knees get blown out, I cut them off, roll up the bottoms, and the kids have shorts the following season!

2) Kids consignment stores

I want to add this to a whole new section because it’s that DARN good! There is a kid’s consignment shop in my area that sells only twice a year. I go to every one of the sales. I wait until the last day, a few hours before it’s closed, as they mark down a lot of the prices of good stuff to only $1, which is my price point. They have them all hung up, nice and neat, so I go through every single one of them, with my kids. They think it’s fun. My oldest daughter likes to pick out the clothes. I usually spend a good $100 for 100 pieces of clothes and shoes are usually $1 each pair as well. Most are brand names and this has become one of my favorite ways to shop for kids clothing.

THE SECRET TRICK:

You absolutely must save up for clothes a few years in advance! So, if your child is 8, you want to have up to size 10/12. If your child is 5, you want to have stored up until size 8. Just keep saving in advance each year, buy them when you come across them, and you’ll always have a nice stock of children’s clothes. We always have an abundance, and I keep a short list of what I’m looking for, so I don’t get TOO many duplicates for each season. I like to have at least 3 pairs of shoes for each size, each child, because they are in P.E. now and hard on shoes. I don’t want to be stuck paying $20 for a pair of shoes, when I can pay $1 if I plan ahead.

Jackets are the same, I like to have at least 2 of each size, for each child. I do NOT buy used unmentionables for my kids. I get those usually at Ross or on clearance. Socks I don’t usually buy used either, more because I can’t find them. They are fairly cheap at Old Navy, Children’s Place, and stores like Fred Meyer on sale. Even Amazon has them on sale. I don’t pay over $1 per pair of socks, so if it’s a package of 6 pairs of socks, my total should be $6. Since my son likes to tie his socks in knots and make ropes all the time (UGH!) I have to buy extras, in which case, when I come across the deals, I stock ahead as well.

These ideas may not work when the kids become teenagers, as I’m sure they will be more picky, but I will cross that bridge when I get there. I’ve got plenty of time. 🙂

My favorite score was a really nice brand name snow jacket (2 in 1) with cell phone holder, etc. like top of the line $120 jacket, at a yard sale for $2!!!!! For something like that, I would even pay up to $5-$10 depending on how good condition, brand, etc. It is my daughters’ favorite jacket and she’s worn it all year. It’s super cute. Wish it was my size. 😉

3) Children’s Place

Children’s Place has a wonderful, wonderful website to utilize for getting clothes super cheap. They run a lot of sales, where they offer huge discounts on already clearanced items, free shipping for any purchase amount, the whole 9 yards. I love to buy from them on such sales because I know that I can get that same amount for the items after the kids are done with them. Mostly for my daughter. I’ve scored mittens and headbands for $1, those were my favorite scores, but even pants and shoes for a couple bucks.

Tips:

Be responsible and generous with your finds. I usually like to help others if they need a certain item in a pinch from our church. It has become somewhat of a ‘store house’ for others and a blessing used by God in which I can give to others and bless their lives as God blesses ours.

Be a smart shopper. It’s amazing what you can do with ANY size budget. Our family lives WELL on $18k/year and you can too!

Paying for clothes in our house is a sin. Click to read how I get all my kids BRAND NAME clothes for FREE! You'll never go back to paying for clothes again!

What are your best tips to save money on children’s clothing?



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    • That is so awesome! 🙂 I go against the grain so much in our culture; it’s always nice to hear someone can relate. 🙂 I don’t have any brothers or sisters, so I’m totally on board with having a twin. haha.

  1. I still shop at GAP, Gymboree, etc. but only the clearance racks (the ones with stains are the best because I get an extra discount just for using a pre-treat stain remover!). I have a higher price point than you but still save hundreds a year compared to those who don’t plan ahead. Plus, I don’t see a need for layaway. Plan ahead and you’ll have the school clothes you need. It’s not a surprise expense, it comes the same time every year. Okay, I’ll stop rambling but it’s so nice to “meet” another frugal friend. 🙂

  2. Thank you for visiting. I follow your site, so it’s an honor you stopped by. : ) Absolutely. #1 plan ahead. Every month when I am budgeting, I set aside money for birthdays, Christmas, back to school, etc. When I see a great deal on clearance that is perfect, I buy it. I save so much money by simply planning ahead. Great observation Ashley!

  3. Very nice post Sarah! Saving some money from your monthly budget for kids clothes is a very wise choice. The next thing is to find a store that offers affordable dresses that are made of quality fabrics.

    • Thank you. 🙂 Most towns now have facebook groups for mom’s where you can buy/sell. You can also check Craigslist. That is where I get my quality dresses for my daughter. Sometimes yard sales will have them, but most of the time, they are about $5 each off those groups. 🙂

  4. I agree. I do try to buy my boy’s clothes but I am also in a smaller community where there is only Walmart so I hope to find sales from people who make it out of town to shop for kids clothes. I also sell wholesale clothing for cheaper than going downtown and I sell other products as well. I agree that moms should be able to have the option to stay home. It took a lot for me to have that possibility and my oldest is already 8! Thank you for posting this, I am sharing it!

    • Angie, thank you for sharing. Oh man, living in a town where Walmart is your best option…I feel your pain! Years ago, I lived in Klamath Falls, Oregon, a smaller community where Walmart was the best option as well. There were no children’s consignment shops, and the yard sales stunk! They had a Big Lots there and Big Lots has better quality than Walmart, so I tried to get much of the stuff there. I also drove around finding the ‘richer’ areas and solely went yard saleing in those communities to score the best stuff. Often times, there are stores there that we are not aware of. Maybe a mom/pop shop or something. Or a thrift store that is really low-key. In that city, there was one for Hospice so not much in the way of children’s clothes, but some. And since it was marketing for Hospice, not many knew about the children’s clothes there. My best suggestion is look around as your driving for new spots. Whenever you see anything that could be remotely a possibility, don’t judge a book by it’s cover and check it out. Every option in a small town is an option. Find the stores with the best deals, best quality and just do your best. It sounds like you are an amazing woman and I love how you sell things to be able to stay home with your kids. Great job Angie!!! 🙂

  5. I agree, yard sales are a great way to save on kids clothes. Sometimes I find people want too much for their stuff. Do you have any techniques for getting them down in price?

    • Just be sure to get them for the price in which you can sell them for and they will end up being free. 🙂 I always go for brand names like Children’s Place, GAP, Old Navy, and Gymboree as they hold their value and my kids don’t blow out the pants at the knees like the other brands.

  6. I purchase a majority of my 13 year old son’s clothes at Goodwill. All children’s clothes are $2.99 and under. They have 50% off sales frequently and have colored tag sales weekly. All of his clothing is name brand and I only buy it if it is newer condition. I’ve also found items that still have the original sales tag on them.

  7. I work at a local retail store and we sell what is called repack socks and undies. These items come from packages that have been torn open and sometimes a pair is missing so the package can not be sold as a whole. The socks are normally priced at .75 and the undies range from .75 to 1.00 and most times they are an additional 50 percent off the marked price. I check these bins every time i work i rarely pay more than .35 cents for socks and .75 for undies. At these prices i can keep my family of 5 well stocked in socks and undies.

  8. I have three teens, Goodwill is our best place, most of the time we find some really great clothes, many with the tags on. If you put a donation in, you get a 20% off Mon-Thurs coupon. We also swap clothes with my friends, I hand down clothes from my oldest to her daughter, and she sends me clothes from her daughter to my youngest. We both tend to buy only quality clothes so they look great even after going through all 3 girls.

  9. Your article gives amazing advice on saving money. Just purchased a cute sweater sized big, Going to put the new and super easy to make full tulle skirt or consignment store tutu under it. Leggings and well broken in cowboy boots passed down by a friend should pull this together for today’s new style. When the weather turns cool, a white collar shirt underneath the sweater, Goodwill distressed jeans, boots and a homemade infinity scarf makes two outfits and more for a whooping six dollars. Would love to know about the wrap being worn in the Fall picture, the one with tassels.

  10. Great tips! I also like to shop ahead. I will look at the clearance racks at the end of the season to get clothes for the next year. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what size to buy (you cannot predict how fast or slow a kiddo will grow!). I have learned to buy larger rather than smaller and do not overbuy from the clearance racks! Even $2 items can add up if you buy too many. 🙂

  11. Wow! I love this.
    I’ll have to try some of these out,
    But if you would really like to get rid of some of your children’s old clothes. If you have anything 4t/5 I would love to buy from you! I have a little girl!

  12. Hi Sarah,My kids are grown now but back when they were little we employed all your techniques for low cost clothes that you have shared. I do have to say that by the time we it size twelve it was hard to find updated styles.However, I thought this was a post about how to get freeee clothes. I was a little surprised to see it was not. I thought I would share with you an idea that can be truly free. If you have friends, a play group, or a church group etc you can do a kid clothes swap with them. Bring some take some. Set up the parameters for the swap and have a ball. Everyone could bring tea and cookies to help create a social event at the same time.

    • I guess it would depend on how one looks at it. In my mind, if I’m selling the clothes and getting the same amount that I paid for them when I bought them, it makes them free. It makes me a borrower, not a spender of money, but I can see where you are coming from. 🙂 Great idea about the clothing swap. I hope to implement something like that in the future. 🙂 Good to know about ages 12 and up too. My daughter is almost 10 and I have through size 12 clothes that are cute. I think after that, it might be really hard to find. I should start looking now for plain pieces she can add her own flare to! LOL.

      • I see what you are saying there. I guess I am a more of a not spend it up front kinda person these days.I love your site and am still in very frugal mode. It has been 20 years and I am still going strong. I amazed my daughter when I managed to buy almost everything my grandson needed as a baby through four years old for a song and a dance at yard sales. I love it. This years best yard sale find was a stainless steel 150.00 Jack LaLane juicer for 2.00. It makes the best cider,,,,mmm good, A little off topic with that last part.
        have a great weekend.

  13. I don’t know how many cities have this Facebook page, but I use Buy Nothing. Like I live in North Seattle so my page is Buy Nothing North Seattle. People post things up for grabs, you comment. They pick a random number out of the number of comments they recieve, and that person wins the item posted. Tons of kids clothes, and other really useful items. 🙂

  14. Amazing!!!! You are a true inspiration!!!! I have the same belief about Wal-Mart clothing and normally do not buy them!!!!! My girls are now 12 & 14 and children’s place and others are now “too young”. Any suggestions?

    • I’m not really sure for those ages, to be honest. My kids are still young, so I can still get away with yard sales. 🙂 I have stocked away as many 12-14 clothes as I can for my daughter. Even if I pay 50¢-$1 per item and say when she gets that old, she hates half of it, it’s still a great investment, because I can resell it and she can still pick what she likes and I can get her through those years. Outside of that, probably places like Ross or Old Navy that have lower price tags and clearance sections…?

  15. Excellent article! I don’t have children yet, but when I do I intend to follow many of these suggestions. I will make one important exception: shoes. Everyone has different arches, width, and walking patterns, so wearing shoes worked in by others can cause chronic back and joint pain. My mother works in physical therapy and sees this kind of pain in Depression-era patients everyday. The only used shoes I would use or give to my children are if they come from a relative or friend I know has a nearly identical foot shape. (I.e. I do own 2 pairs from my mother, but both of us have narrow feet, high arches, and no supination/pronation tendencies.)

  16. I have a question…you end this article stating that you live off of $18K/yr, but there are articles that say you made $10k year 1 and more in year 2 blogging. I am genuinely curious because I am a working mom of 4 with an ill husband and I want to know if making money from home to live on is really possible. Feel free to reply privately.

  17. Love these tips and follow them all too! I heart yardsales for clothes. I also swap clothes with other mommas that have kids bigger or smaller than mine. It’s fun to help each other out. 🙂

  18. I absolutely love Carters! They’re always having sales and clearances, which is the only way I buy my son’s clothes. If you register on their site, you get points too..which turns into $10 off your order. Another way I save $$ is I’ll buy whatever clothes one of my cousins have for sale. I bought a huge bag of clothes off her and shoes for $60! I’ve also been given clothing a coworker’s son out grew. When my son out grows his, I’ll either sell them or give them to a friend who’s got a little one.

  19. Thank you for some of these ideas! I’m a stay at home mom of 4 girls… 5Yrs 4yrs 2yrs and 1yrs old. I’m so frugal, I don’t even grocery shop without coupons. I write my list of needs, match my coupon, and look in circulars for items on sale. My oldest is normally the only one I have to buy new for. I save every piece, I’ve learned the best ways to removes stains. lol. As well as we have been very blessed with great friends and family who give great hand-me-downs and buy new for girls on holidays and birthdays. I was a chef for 13 years until I almost miscarried with my 2nd and birth control not working blessings with my last 2.
    You are an inspiration and help moms like me feel better about my penny pinching frugal ways!