If you’re in the throes of back to school shopping, you are anywhere on a scale from busy to frantic. Let me help lighten your load (and your cost) with my favorite places to save on kid’s clothes.
1. Avoid the Crowds & Shop Online
Avoid retail prices and claustrophobia from crowded aisles by shopping online. There are a plethora of online discount stores. My favorite is Schoola. Schoola collects donated clothing (both used and new) and sells them at up to 40% off retail to benefit school programs. They are almost always running promo codes, but they change quickly, so do a quick search before you shop. Plus you can save $10 off your first order with my referral link! They even carry women’s clothes (including maternity clothes). The items can go very quickly, so once you fill your cart, check out right away. If they do miss an item in your order, send them an email and they will give you store credit (I’ve gotten credit for way more than the item that was missing). The service is prompt and friendly, and you can find some really good things. I shop here when I’m looking for something specific (I usually buy $50 at once to qualify for free shipping). P.S. They will also stack promo codes. I’ve gotten $50 (about $80 retail) free before.
2. Buy Used
Kids often grow too fast to wear out their clothing, making thrift shops such as Goodwill a great fit. Now, Goodwill isn’t a novel suggestion for saving money but there are a couple of things about shopping at Goodwill you may not know. There are Goodwill Outlet stores that charge by the pound for clothing instead of by the item. For kid’s clothing, which is small, this is a great deal. The Goodwill in my area (double-check that your Goodwill participates in this) also offers a 1/2 off on holidays. So, wait a few more weeks for Labor Day and you can get a lot of clothes for a little cash. (I’m not sure if the outlets do 1/2 off, but it would be worth it to ask).
Don’t forget that yard sales will be wrapping up as the weather turns cooler, so hit them now. We recently went to a neighborhood-wide yard sale where I was able to buy almost half of Man Cub’s next wardrobe for four bucks. You can’t beat that. Well, except for free (read on, I have two ways of doing that).
3. Buy During Seasonal Sales
There is often a small discount to be had by beginning of the season sales, but the real value is in thinking ahead. Buy the size your child will be next year at the end of this season. When fall FINALLY comes (it’s my favorite season, and not just because it contains by birthday), instead of buying jackets (which we already have), I’ll be buying Man Cub’s swim suit for next year (which will be the lowest price of the year as stores try to make room).
4. Get Them From a Friend
Hand-me-downs are a classic way to go if you have friends whose kids are slightly bigger than yours. Man Cub just got great shoes from his (3-year-old) best friend for when he outgrows the ones he has now. You can also swap clothes with another family or even borrow if someone has nicer clothes that they want to save, or just wants to save their clothes for their next child. Just be sure when borrowing to write down exactly what you borrowed and keep them nice. If you’re planning to have a subsequent sibling and have the space, don’t forget to store clothes to hand down to your own kids. All of Man Cub’s clothes have gone into bags (those jumbo ziplock bags that you can carry soccer balls in) as he outgrows them, for Baby #2 to enjoy.
5. Ask for Gifts
I have spent less than $50 on clothes for Man Cub in almost 2 years. Part of this is because I shop carefully, and part of it is because I have gotten a LOT of clothing as gifts. We received a small mountain of clothing at my shower (and carefully exchanged for a different size when needed), and Man Cub’s Grandmas love to shop for him (I’m not going to argue with that!). When he had his birthday, I asked for clothes in the next size up. The showers & Grandmas got us to 18 month clothes, and I asked for 2T clothes for his birthday. We are not doing a big party every year, so that was probably my last time getting a whole size for free, but it was awesome and we use them every day. Toys are fun to buy but no one wants to buy something you aren’t going to use, so don’t be afraid to ask for clothes if that’s what you need. You don’t have to be pushy about it, just answer honestly if people ask. Right now Man Cub is in 2T clothes, so when a friend came from out of town and asked if she could bring a gift for him, I told her that her coming was enough but if she wanted to bring something he could use 3T clothes. She brought the most adorable pajamas I’ve ever seen (Man Cub was wearing them as a cape the whole night).
I hope that helps. Happy shopping! Where is your favorite place to save on kid’s clothes?