Its still February and my 3.5 month old is just about busting out of her 3 month onesies and footed onesies. I learned with baby#1 not to buy too many baby clothes in advance because you do not have control over how fast they grow. We are grateful that our babies thrive, so the trick is to stay on budget through those growth spurts.
Baby #1 was a spring/summer baby and baby #2 is a fall/winter baby. Just my luck, so I was unable to pass down a lot of the first year clothing since each girl was going to hit their size markers in very different seasons. Baby #1 was in a 6 month romper in August and baby #2 is starting to venture into 6 month clothing in late February, certainly not time for rompers. With both girls I accepted hand-me-downs and shopped consignment before I bought new. There are pros and cons to this approach. You generally get enough clothing but most of it is mis-matched and sometimes you have to pick up a few extras, which is more than fine and you CAN make it work.
With baby #2, I also accepted hand-me-downs and filled in the first few months with consignment items. I tend to shop the very large bi-annual consignment sales, not our local consignment shops. I have not been impressed; the small ’boutique’ consignment shops are over priced. Very over priced. And the Goodwill store in our area is the same. You could buy a new product for the prices you pay at our used clothing stores. It’s kind of a bummer. The two thrift stores that I really like, happen to be more than a half hour away and have wonky hours which are not convenient to get to for a working mom. Again…bummer. I only make it to the thrift stores on special occasions (like a day off that does not fall on a holiday).
Having found myself in a spot where I had one footed 6 month jammie and 3 short sleeved onesies, and it’s still winter and there are no large consignment sales until April, I ventured to the mall on Sunday morning. All I can say is thank goodness JCPenny has Sunday coupons in our area paper and all the winter items were 40% off. I have had amazing luck with Penny’s. They almost always have children’s items on sale and you go in with a 15% or 25% off coupon from the Sunday paper (I don’t have a Penny’s charge card), and you can really stay within a budget and get quality items for your kids. Last spring I shopped for my 3 yr old and spent about $25 for her entire summer wardrobe. The Okie-dokie brand (which runs a little bigger in fit but wears very, very well), was on sale. Each item was priced on clearance at $3.75. Then I had a 25% off coupon. I paid $3 or less for every single item.
My other strategy for buying kids clothes when I need something and have not had luck finding it used, is to shop end of the season blowout sales online. I usually purchase the few items I need now and then a size bigger for the next year. Once your child is in a 2T, this strategy works very well. The Children’s Place is great for this tactic. They will post their mix and match summer clothing at $5 per item – not bad, especially when our local consignment store are charging $5+ for used clothing. I have to admit, I have not tried the swap groups on FaceBook, but this is another option, as is Craigslist.
If you are not shopping based on the ethics of buying used from an environmental stand point, it’s worth planning your new purchases to get the best deal you can. Like I mentioned, I go with hand-me-downs and shop the very large bi-annual consignment sales FIRST, then supplement with new when and where I need to.
Do you have any strategies for buying kids clothes at a low cost?