As any parent can attest, there are countless expenses synonymous with raising children. Between food, health care and entertainment for their little ones, many parents have little left to work with when it comes time to buy clothes. Additionally, since toddlers and young children sprout up like weeds, many of them outgrow clothing as quickly as parents can buy it. However, this doesn’t mean parents have to resign themselves to spending a small fortune on kids’ clothes.
The following pointers are sure to help budget-conscious moms and dads save a bundle on their children’s clothing when they are shopping.
Buy Clothes During the Off-Season
Purchasing seasonal clothing during the off-season is among the most effective ways to save money on clothes. This means purchasing cold-weather clothing during the spring and summer and buying warm-weather clothing during the fall and winter. Off-season shopping means having your pick of name brands and being able to take advantage of deals you could never find while shopping seasonally.
Of course, this can be somewhat tricky for parents of growing children. Since their tots are constantly getting bigger, purchasing clothing months in advance can be a risky gamble. With this in mind, take your children’s respective rates of growth into account when buying clothes during the off-season and make size decisions accordingly. Your calculations may not be accurate 100 percent of the time, but if name brands are important to you, off-season shopping is a great way to save big. Whether you’re looking to buy your toddler girl’s shoes, boots, jackets or pants, the off-season is a highly opportune time to shop for your little ones.
Shop at Discount Stores
Of course, off-season shopping isn’t the only way to find deals on brand-new children’s clothing. A number of well-known retail chains specialize in selling dramatically marked-down name-brand clothes. Stores like T.J. Maxx and Ross are home to heavily discounted kids’ clothes from a variety of high-caliber brands. Parents who are accustomed to paying standard retail prices for clothing are liable to feel like they’ve stepped into another world after seeing the price tags at these establishments. Similar deals can often be found at outlet malls and individual outlet stores, proving that frugality doesn’t have to entail an abandonment of name brands.
Join a Swap Group
If you’re a cost-conscious parent, you’re not alone — and there’s no better way to hammer this point home than joining a swap group. As the name suggests, these groups are built around parents giving each other unneeded children’s clothing. These groups used to grow through word of mouth, but in recent years, they’ve started bolstering their numbers and communicating through social media. So if you’re on the hunt for a local swap group, finding one may be a simple matter of conducting a quick Facebook search.
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid giving people clothes that are noticeably damaged. This is considered poor etiquette within many swap groups and is likely to be frowned upon by other members. If an item of clothing isn’t good enough for your children to wear, you shouldn’t assume that other parents would want it for their kids.
Save Clothes for Hand-Me-Downs
Turning clothes worn by one child into hand-me-downs for another is a great way to ensure that you get the most out of your clothing budget. While older kids often resent wearing hand-me-downs, most babies, toddlers and small children couldn’t care less about what they wear. Still, when determining which pieces of clothing to save, you should adhere to the swap group rule: If it’s worn-out and/or damaged, get rid of it.
Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs a person can take on. However, childrearing is not cheap, and as new moms and dads quickly discover, little expenses have a way of adding up.
Given how quickly most children grow, many parents are constantly purchasing new clothes to accommodate their kids’ ever-changing statures. While there’s no way around having to go shopping for children’s clothing on a consistent basis, there are ways to limit the financial impact. Putting the previously discussed tips to good use can go a long way in helping parents save money while keeping their little ones sharply dressed.