Buying clothes for three kids can be expensive! I love buying cute, high quality clothes that are going to last. Better quality clothes tend to wash better, wear better, last longer and resale better. With two boys, I especially want clothes that are going to last and that they can both wear.
This post contains affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy for details.
I’ve found a few ways to buy brand name clothing without breaking the bank while staying on budget.
Buy Brand Name Children’s Clothing on a Discount Store Budget:
Use coupons: I have shopped Gymboree clearance when they were having an additional % (I don’t remember if it was 15 or 20%) off sale on clearance items and used a 20% off coupon on top of the sale and got many items for $2-$4. I often find Gymboree 20% off coupons in Family Fun and Parenting Magazines. Get on your favorite stores’ mailing list. I often receive Carter and Gymboree coupons in the mail. Also sign up to receive emails from your favorite stores; they will often email you coupons. Do an online search for coupons before you head out to shop or before you purchase something online. Read your coupons carefully. Gymboree coupons can usually be used on clearance items, but Carters and Osk Kosh don’t allow coupons to be used on clearance or doorbusters.
Know when sales are: Sign up for emails so you will be notified of special offers and promotions. Many retailers offer sales and special pricing around holidays and occasionally you find this sale extended for a number of days after the holiday. I have found clearance an additional 15-30% off during sales at Carters, Osh Kosh, Gymboree, Gap, and The Children’s Place.
Shop Off-Price Retailers: Off Price-Retailers include Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, and Gordmans: While they don’t offer sales, promotions, or coupons, they do offer brand name and designer fashions at 20-60% less than department and specialty stores. These are great stores to buy Nike, Addias,and Under Armour, but everyone else wants those brands for a great price too so you have to grab them when you can. They eventually move everything left to the clearance ranks, but it is usually slim pickings…Nike pants with the neon green strip down the side.
Buy a season ahead: This is tricky unless you have a magic ball that tells you what size your kids will be wearing next year. I have heard that it happens, but my kids have as of yet to skip a size. I have two boys, so on the rare occasion when my oldest has not worn something, his brother does. Shop from a store that does not have a time restriction on returns. Khols, Osh Kosh, and Carters, offer returns at anytime. Gymboree offers a 180 day return policy which does not help you for next season, but is generous. As long as you are organized and keep the receipt with the clothing you can take it back if it does not work out next season. If you can’t return it, try selling it on Facebook or Ebay. You won’t be able to sell the clothing for the original retail price, but if you bought it for a really good price at the end of the season, you should be able to make your money back and maybe even a profit.
Sign up for emails: Stores will email you sales, coupons, promo codes, and notices of free shipping. Some retailers offer first time email subscribers a special welcome offer. Gap currently offers 25% off to first time email subscribers. Khols is offering 15% off your next purchase right now. Macy’s currently offers first times subscribes 15% off next purchase of $100. The Children’s Place is currently offering 20% off next purchase to first time subscribes of their emails.
Shop for gently used clothing: Shop at local thrift shops, resale shops, consignment sales or online through Facebook, Craigslist, or Ebay for gently used clothing. Consignment sales offer a huge inventory of clothing and other children/baby related items in a large area over a 2-3 day time period. Volunteers and consignees get to shop first. Thrift and resale shops are constantly getting new items, so check back regularly. I recently found some brand name button down shirts in great condition for one of my sons at Goodwill. He decided that he wanted to dress like Grandpa for church and wear buttons downs with ties. I am lucky to get his older brother in polo shirts, so we did not own any button down shirts. Special occasion clothing, such as holiday and church clothing, can often be found in great condition because it is worn a lot less.
Hold off buying your children’s clothing: Don’t buy clothing at the beginning of the season wait until the retailer has a sale or starts to markdown clothing. I have never understood the need to buy back-to-school clothing (unless your kids wear uniforms). What is wrong with the clothing they have been wearing all summer? A couple of years ago we were headed home for Thanksgiving. When we pulled over for lunch, I spied a Gap Outlet. It was located in a shopping center, but it was the only outlet around. While the kids and daddy played at the playplace, I went shopping. I was pleasantly surprised to find their clearance (long sleeve shirts) an additional 30% off. Sometimes there is not much left on clearance racks…it is slim pick-ins, but they had a huge selection. I stocked up on clothes for my oldest son. He wore many of the shirts last year and is still wearing them this year. His brother will be able to wear them in another year or two.
Avoid Overbuying: The best way to save money on children’s clothing is avoid overbuying. Unless you have an ebay business in which you sell children’s clothing you don’t need to buy 20 shirts for your child just because you can get them for a couple of bucks.This was a problem for me when my oldest was young and the clothes were so stinkin cute and it was only a couple of bucks on sale. How could I pass up it…right! Throw in the gifts we got and wow did we have way too many clothes. Know what you have and what you need. I often buy stuff ahead and I have a friend who passes on her granddaughter’s clothing to my daughter, so I go through totes often to remind myself of what I have and what I need. I recently had a frustrating kick myself moment. At the beginning of winter this year we had to buy my oldest new snow boots. I did not have any in his size bought ahead and could not find any at the local thrift stores (I don’t often buy secondhand shoes, but snow boots sometimes are rarely worn…so far my kids have been this winter). My daughter wanted a pair too. I was certain I had a pair for her, but I had searched the tote with shoes and the tote with winter clothing more than once looking for them. We bought her a pair and just last week I pulled down her tote of clothing and there was a nice pair of size 8 (her size) snow boots that had been given to us for free. Ugh!!! I bet I won’t make that mistake again.
You might also like:
- How to Save on Winter Outwear for Your Kids
- Get More from Summer Dresses: Transitioning to Fall
- Make Money from Your Children’s Clothing
- How to Save Money on Halloween Costumes for Kids