Save Money on Children’s Clothing
Here are some of my best tips for saving money on children's clothing. Some of them may be surprising but they are true and tested. First - let me explain how I learned all of the tricks about how to dress my kids cute and save or even make money at the same time!
I have three children, two girls and a boy, and my girls are less than two years apart in age, which may seem ideal clothing-wise. Yes, size-wise I could almost just transfer the clothes from the older one's closet to the younger one's, but in reality it isn't that easy. The two girls have quite different taste in clothing, already at a young age, and I can only imagine it's going to get trickier as they grow older.
I started my first online business by selling my children's used clothes on an auction site, and realized that well kept children's designer clothing sustains value well, and if I had purchased the clothing on sale I could almost get 80% back what I had paid for the clothing when selling it on the auction sites. I grew a passion for helping moms to find perfect clothing for their little ones, and transferred it into a personal shopper service and ultimately owning my own children's clothing boutique. I don't sell children's clothing anymore, but I still use these tricks on saving money on my kids' clothes, while the moms at the schoolyard say "your kids always look like it's picture day", which in the schoolyard mom-to-mom talk is quite a compliment.
1. Choose Quality Over Quantity - Buy Less!
Buying less might seem like a too easy tip, but I also recommend buying less and buying better quality. This especially applies to children over 3 years old. Better quality clothing will last from one child to another, and if you buy well known brands, they are easy to resell.
2. Know How To Take Care of Clothes
Many moms think that cashmere, silk, Merino wool, or even 100% cotton are not the best materials for children's clothing, or that they are difficult to take care of. I always choose clothes that are made of natural, high quality fabrics, because they are more comfortable and tend to stay better for longer. That is when you know how to take care of them. I collected 10 tips on how to take care of your clothes to make the clothes last longer and ultimately save money in the long run. Many of these tips work for children's clothing as well, and I don't shy away from silk and cashmere even in children's clothing. I also think having the right kind of washer & dryer can make all the difference!
3. Buy Used
There are of course many flea markets where you can find children's used clothing, but look and see if your town has a consignment store as well. Consignment stores are great because you can take your children's used clothes in and swap them for bigger ones. Of course online auction sites like eBay are great for scoring gently used children's clothing and selling the used ones. When my kids were younger, we also loved going to garage sales.
4. Swap & Donate
The best ways to save on children's clothing is to start a swapping system with some of the other families. My best friend's daughter is older than my daughter and we always get her old clothes. I have two nieces and two nephews, and I give our too small clothes to them. Talk to your friends, and see how many you can get teamed up for a swapping system. One great resource is also thredUP, a website where you can connect with other families for children's clothing swaps. You post & send a box of used clothes, you get a box of used kids' clothes, as easy as it can be.
5. Don't Buy For The Season
I know it's tempting to buy school clothes for the entire fall in July and August, but don't. The prices are the highest, and with bad luck your kiddo has almost outgrown the long sleeved clothes by the time it's December and finally cold enough to wear them.
Buy new clothes a) when your kid needs them OR b) when they are at a highly reduced price (if you are lucky, these two are the same time).
For example, I wait with winter jackets until it's freezing and most of them have gone on sale - or I buy them on the last days of spring for super sale prices, two sizes larger. Another idea is to buy from pre-season sales, several stores have a pre-season sale, if you are among the first ones to buy the new lines coming in. Sometimes it might require using in store coupons, like with Gymboree, or Tommy Hilfiger.
6. Sign Up For Newsletters & Be In The Know
As simple a thing as signing up for your favorite brand's newsletter can save you hundreds of dollars a year. Many offer exclusive coupons for their newsletter subscribers. If you have a favorite store you go to all the time, you might also ask the sales person when they typically mark down clothing. Often Thursdays are the days to make the best finds, many stores mark down the prices ready for the weekend on Wednesday evenings or on Thursdays.
7. Sign Up for Invitation Only Shopping Sites
My favorite way to shop for clothes for my kids is right at home from my computer. And when that is combined with cheaper prices and better quality designer clothing - I am in clothing shopping heaven with the invitation only shopping sites, which offer designer clothing for up to 90% off. Many of them have iPhone apps, so I also scroll down and shop for kids clothes in the school pickup lane while waiting for the kids. I buy nice luxury clothing brands for my kids for less money than what I'd pay for normal priced clothing at Old Navy. Here are my invitation links for you to join me in this ultimate shopping experience and a way to save money on kids' clothes:
Zulily - for moms, babies and younger kids, they also have great finds for kids' rooms.
Gilt Children - Gilt has fashion, home and travel sales, and their children's department is awesome. They have Tea Collection on sale often, and they also have clothing for tweens sometimes.
Hautelook - I have ordered several pairs of designer shoes for kids from Hautelook. Also I like that they have had several sales for tweens, which is typically the most difficult age to buy.
Totsy- for babies and younger kids. I don't really find anything for older kids from Totsy, but they typically have great selection for babies and toddlers, and also toys, and baby shower gift ideas.
Rue La La - Their children's clothing selection isn't as large as many other sites, but worth checking out every now and then.