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10 Ways to Save on Kids Clothing


When you first had your baby, clothing was easy to procure: hand-me-downs were abundant, and onesies and sleepers were cheap. But as your tot grew, things changed. Because toddlers and preschoolers are no longer growing out of their clothes every few months, there are fewer offerings from friends and family, and the stuff you do get is often worn out. When you hit the shops it’s $15 to $25 for a pair of pants, rather than five onesies for $9.99. So, if, like us, you’re experiencing sticker shock, here are a few ways to fund the duds you need without doling out the mega-dough.

1. Mom Swap

Mother Holding Newborn Baby Talking With Health Visitor At Home

You had a boy followed by a girl. Your friend has a daughter with a younger brother. If the ages work out, you can swap wardrobes from the first child and clothe No. 2 for free.

2. Join a Listserv

Mother enjoying time with kids

These days, most neighborhoods have listservs catering to local parents. You should be able to find yours by doing a search for your neighborhood on Yahoo and Google groups. These lists are full of posts of people either giving away kids clothing or selling it fairly cheaply.

3. Buy Gender Neutral

Cute baby girl resting outdoors

Not only can you use those green and yellow items for younger siblings of the opposite-sex, you also have a better shot of selling or swapping them through your local listserv since they will work for either sex.

4. Head to a Clothing Swap

second hand baby clothes and pyjamas for reusing or reselling

These events are usually held in church basements, school cafeterias, or other community spaces. You bring your kids’ outgrown clothing and then hunt through piles from other parents. The clothing is usually roughly organized by size, but you’ll still spend a lot of time looking without a guaranteed payoff. You’ll most likely find out about these events on your local listserv.

5. Hit the Thrift Shop

Clothing hanging on a rack in a store

Goodwill, the Salvation Army and other used clothing stores are a great way to get a large chunk of your child’s wardrobe on the cheap. Because the clothing is donated, there may be small stains or minor wear, but in terms of price, these stores usually offer the biggest bang for the buck. Plus, many of these stores are raising money for their charitable projects, so you can feel good about your purchases.

6. Check Out a Consignment Store

A picture of a close of children clothes

Consignment shops usually have more expensive brands than thrift stores because parents are reselling their clothing rather than donating it. In addition, most consignment stores won’t accept lower-cost brands such as Old Navy and Children’s Place because they don’t think they will fetch a high enough resale price. (One exception is the franchise Once Upon a Child.) You’ll pay a lot more at consignment shops than other options, but if you’re looking to buy or sell like-new items from such brands as the Gap and Ralph Lauren, then these stores are just the ticket.

7. Consign from the Couch

mom and her daughter on laptops on the couch

One problem with local consignment shops is that the selection is often quite small. Plus, taking your kid along on a shopping trip is rarely easy. Luckily, there are a number of online resale shops. Since they collect clothing from across the U.S., these places usually have much larger selections than brick-and-mortar stores. Plus, they offer the benefit of shopping from home. A few online options are ThredUp, Baby Outfitter and Rascal’s Resale.

8. Sell Outgrown Clothing

a woman holding up cash

Sell your kids' outgrown duds and earn cash to buy the next size up. To do this, you've got a few options: You can bring it to a consignment shop or sell it yourself through a local listerv, a yard sale, or on such sites as eBay and Craigslist. Selling it yourself is time consuming, but you’ll likely earn the most per item. Yard sales tend to garner the lowest prices. Consignment shops do the selling for you but take a hefty commission and usually only accept high-end, like-new items. ThredUp is a particularly easy option: they send you a prepaid shipping bag, you fill it with clothing, and give it to your UPS carrier. They will return rejected items for $9.99.

9. Get Out to Garage Sales

Garage sale posted in suburbs

You can usually get clothing at garage sales incredibly cheaply, but the trade-off is the legwork. If you find the sales through Craigslist or a listserv, you’ll have contact info available so you can ask the seller in advance if they have what you need. Another time-saving method is to look out for multi-family and neighborhood-wide yard sales, where your chances of hitting a match are increased.

10. Check for Online Coupons

Laughing woman looking at laptop

If you end up shopping retail, and you’re doing it online, make sure to check out such sites as Retail Me Not and Coupons.com, which have up-to-date discount codes for a plethora of children’s clothing stores.