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.
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.
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!
Update: Some people like to send me their physical mailing address, asking me to ship them free clothes. That’s not what this article is about. I do not ship clothing. It would be too expensive to do so.
What are your best tips to save money on children’s clothing?