Lets face it. Nothing is better than a bag full of decent hand-me-downs. When it comes to babies, toddlers, and fast growing kids, clothing costs for brand new items at regular store prices would break the bank. Even Carters are upward of $24 for a cute outfit these days. Don’t get me started on children’s boutique stores…especially when the child will wear the outfit one time for the family photo or holiday.
I know, I know. Some parents will think “used clothes…ewww! Gross! What if some kid pooped in that outfit or puked on it?”. My response, “get over it”. Do you know how many harmful chemicals are on new store-bought clothing? A wash is a wash. So wash your used, new-to-you clothing in hot water and call it good. Besides, I guarantee if you gave your child the choice between the used or the new outfit, they would chose the used one because the fabric is already soft, broken in, and comfortable. Don’t believe me? Give it a try. 🙂
If you don’t have parent friends with kids close in age to yours, rest assured there are many options for getting great deals on clothes. I personally – though hesitant at first (mainly because I don’t like crowds) – take advantage of the large community consignment sales. In our area, there are several of them that happen two times a year; spring and fall. If you are a consignor (it’s a great way to get rid of the kid clutter in your home in exchange for some extra money), you get incentives like early shopping passes. If you don’t want to sell you stuff, you could volunteer for a few hours and get early shopping and discount deals that way. Also, the last day of the sale is usually half-price day. If an outfit is marked at $3, you can buy it for $1.50. Most of the ‘good stuff’ will be picked over by this point, but you will still find quality items.
There are a few items I always go for at these huge sales. Large ticket items like ride-on toys, wagons, sleepers, bouncers, baby carriers. You will buy a good, clean product (maybe even new with tags) at LEAST 50% less than what you would pay in store, and usually much cheaper (75% discounted).
During the fall/winter sale I head right to the winter coats for snow pants and boots. My daughter has been rocking two different pair of LL Bean winter boots for 2 years for the grand price of $10. Yes, $10. Brand new with tags Polo snow pants with fleece top – $15. Seriously! You can’t beat these prices. I also scored a 2 piece Carters winter jacket and snow pants set for $10. In store they are $50. You do have to take your time and dig through the items (there are a lot), but you can find real quality clothing for a deal. I usually check out the next size up (this year I will shop 4T and 5T) in preparation of growth spurts and to make sure I have a few items for the next year as a starter.
During the spring/summer sales, I head right for the bathing suits, suit covers, and fun outdoor stuff. My daughter also loves sun dresses and I can usually find a few for $1.50-$3 each. I have bought shoes and sneakers as well. I just make sure I wash the insoles first. I throw them right into the washer/dryer.
I buy a lot of puzzles (think Melissa & Doug for $3!), learning games, children’s music and books. When I find toys that are new and never opened, I buy them and save them for gifts (Christmas, Birthdays, etc…).
I also incorporate a fun money lesson for my 3 year old. I give her $5 and let her pick any toy(s) she wants. Last year she scored a gallon plastic bag of play/dress-up jewelry for $1. She was THRILLED! You would have thought she was buying real diamonds. In her 3 year old princess imagination, this WAS diamonds and gold.
Do you shop large consignment sales? What is your strategy for getting good deals?