We all love our kids…but they sure are expensive, aren’t they? Buying fun new clothes for your babies can be a ton of fun, but there is always a catch to everything. From sports fees to buying new clothes and shoes every few months, the costs of having a child can be high. But if you’re a smart shopper who is willing to devote some time and energy to the process, you can save money on at least one part of having kids: their clothes and shoes.
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Buy Gender Neutral
Modern retailers have figured out a secret: by making clothes and shoes with lots of characters and very specific colors, they can sell twice as many clothes and shoes to parents who buy one of each style for their sons and daughters. But if you buy gender neutral clothes and shoes, you can get twice the wear out of them — saving you money in the long-term.
Consider snow gear. There is no reason for your kids to have a gender-specific pair of snow pants, gloves or even boots. By buying the clothes and shoes in a primary or neutral color, you can get much more use out of the items, enabling you to spend a bit more on quality items.
Of course, not every item of clothing can be gender neutral. But for basics like jeans, plain t-shirts, hoodies, outwear and some shoes, there is no reason to buy gear that is specific to one gender. Buy a pack of white or gray t-shirts for your kids, or jeans with a gender-neutral cut. That way, your kids can pass on the clothes, regardless of gender, and get even more use out of them.
Buy Play Clothes
Kids play hard. It isn’t unusual for a pair of pants to have the knees worn through or a shirt to be stained or shoes to be torn up well before your kids have grown out of them. While you can’t wrap your kids in bubble wrap to prevent them from ruining their clothes and shoes, you can have different clothes for playing to save wear and tear on their better clothes.
Play clothes can be defined as anything that is less expensive and that can be worn out in the mud or when playing rough. Keep a pair of inexpensive shoes for your kids to run around in outside, saving their nicer sneakers or dress shoes for school, church and other outings. Buy cheap jeans or pants, shirts and sweatshirts that are used only for play. You may spend slightly more putting together a “play clothes” wardrobe, but you’ll ultimately save money by not having to replace the more expensive school clothes and shoes.
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While it’s nice to have new clothes and shoes, it isn’t always practical or affordable. Take advantage of the wealth of options we now have to buy quality used kids clothes and shoes online and in stores to save a bundle on your clothes.
Locally, check out thrift stores and consignment shops. Shopping at thrift stores may require you to sort through items more carefully, checking for stains and tears, but remember that even an imperfect piece of clothing or pair of shoes can be used as play clothes for your rambunctious kids. At consignment stores, the quality will likely be better but the price may be higher. Offset that cost by selling your kids’ used clothes back to the store.
There are also online options to buy, sell or trade clothes and shoes. Consider joining Facebook groups where local parents post pictures of clothes and shoes for sale, or search Instagram for sales. There are also apps and sites devoted specifically to buying and selling kids’ clothes. You can often get high-quality kids clothes for a fraction of the price that you would pay in stores.
Ask for Hand-Me-Downs
While this isn’t an option for everyone, for those with friends and family with older kids, hand-me-downs can be a great way to save money on clothes. Many parents have bags full of clothes that their kids have outgrown, and would love to help out loved ones by giving them the clothes. Even if they aren’t in perfect condition, they’re free — and they can help you save a bundle on clothing and shoe costs.
Just be sure to ask you friend or family member what they want you to do with the clothes and shoes when your kids have outgrown them. Most won’t want them back, but be sure to ask before you hand them off to someone else or sell them at a consignment store or online.
Sales, Deals and More
Buying new clothes and shoes can be expensive, but there are times when it is simply unavoidable. In those situations, putting in a little time or effort can help you save money on these necessities.
Start by watching for sales, and clipping coupons. Consider going to outlets, or shop off season to get the best deals. Search for promo codes, and take advantage of programs where you get coupons towards future purchases by buying a certain amount. With some smart shopping, you can buy brand new clothes for a great price.