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Since becoming a parent, I’ve found that one of the biggest expenses associated with having children is their wardrobe. Unlike most adults, our children change sizes every year (if not more often). Beyond this, they’re incredibly rough on clothes, leaving holes and stains galore – I’m talking to you boy moms!
It can be extremely difficult and stressful to keep up with your children’s ever-changing wardrobe needs, so here are a of my favourite tips to staying frugal while doing so.
Thrift Stores Are Your Best Friend
My 10 year old daughter’s wardrobe is made up almost entirely of thrift store finds. I subscribe to emails letting me know when our local thrift stores have 50% off sales and this is where we thrive. I regularly find her Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas hoodies for under $5, which certainly beats retail of $60+.
So many people are weary of thrifting, but the truth is that you can find nearly-new items for a fraction of the price. You might have to dig, but there are hidden gems everywhere. Check out both chains and locally owned thrift stores!
Find the Right “Basics”
There will always be basic items that your kids will need and can be tough to thrift or find used. These items include undergarments and plain pants for our family. For obvious reasons, we choose to purchase undergarments new. Something I’ve learned over the years is that thrift stores run low on things like plain sweat pants and leggings for children. Why? Because pants are the #1 thing that kids destroy as they play.
A basics collection usually consists of plain t-shirts, leggings, sweatpants, hoodies, etc. for a lower cost than the rest of the seasonal clothing in stores. Finding the best fitting and most cost effective basics collection for your family can seriously save you some energy and cash.
H&M and Walmart carry my two favourite basics collections. When my kids need plain old sweats or plain t-shirts, I know exactly where to go, how much they’ll cost, and exactly what size I need. There’s no stress involved. Amazon also has a fantastic line called Amazon Essentials that can eliminate actually visiting a store for basics!
Shop Out of Season
I’ve mentioned this before, but this is my #1 tip for finding amazing clothing deals. Right now it’s end the of Winter and Spring collections are rolling out. In the coming months, I’ll be shopping for Winter clothing for next year.
Always shop a season behind for next year’s clothes. Both in store and online, places like Old Navy and The Children’s Place will discount out of season clothing and shoes to rock bottom prices. Walmart will even clear out seasonal shoes for $1!
You’ll have to anticipate your child’s size a year in advance, but in my 10 years of doing this, I’ve never regretted purchasing anything.
Join Mom Groups & Buy and Sells
If you don’t have friends with kids older than yours, try joining local mom groups and doing clothing trades. A lot of the time, you can find hardly worn shoes and snowsuits for sale or trade simply because someone else’s child grew out of them.
This is also a great way to make a return on clothing or shoes your children have outgrown. There are always parents looking for what you no longer need!
Visit Your Favourite Places Often
I never ever leave a store without quickly browsing the clearance section. Even if I’m shopping for me, there’s no way I’m not checking out the kids section and missing a deal.
Places like Winners and Marshalls add new items to clearance almost every single day, and I want to be there to get it. It’s a total toss up, but it’s worth the extra 2 minutes of looking. Visit your favourite stores often, and always, always check their clearance racks.
What are your best frugal kids’ wardrobe tips?