Shopping for Children’s Clothing on a Budget

Having kids and raising a family can be expensive, here’s some tips on how to clothe your children when money is tight.

I’m raising five kids on a single income. I’m a stay at home mom while my husband works outside the home. He makes a decent living, but let’s face it, kids are expensive. They go through clothes and food as if money grew on trees.

The most expensive aspect of raising kids is their clothing. Children grow like there’s no tomorrow, especially when they’re young. They need all new clothing with every changing season, because last years clothes no longer fit them. If they haven’t outgrown it, then they’ve probably destroyed it by staining or ripping it. That’s why I’ve become a frequent shopper at all the local thrift and second hand stores. I personally see no sense in buying brand new clothing for my children all the time. I find it a huge waste of money since they won’t wear it for longer than a couple months. I hit the thrift stores once a week, every pay day and look for anything my kids might use. It’s usually hit or miss with thrift stores, sometimes you can find a great buy, othertimes you may leave empty handed. This is why I shop there often. You usually find the best items when you’re really not in need of anything.

I’ve been known to buy a winter coat in the middle of summer. It always works out cheaper, and you can just save it until the child needs it. Look for those clearance items or sale prices at the end of a season and save it until it’s needed. I’ve also bought Halloween costumes the week after Halloween for use the next year. Just buy a size or two bigger so the children can fit into it.

It also helps if you’re good at sewing and fixing things up. I tend to save all my childrens old clothes for use as repairs to new clothes. You can use buttons off coats and pants to repair the newer ones, or patches from old jeans.  If you knit or crochet you can make the children’s hats and mittens for the winter time, which saves a bundle. You can even make slippers, sweaters, and blankets, which save a ton.

Instead of buying two sets of clothes, one for school and one for play, I buy one set, for school. Once it’s stained or ripped, it becomes play clothes. Anything that still fits from last year immediatly becomes this year’s play clothes.

You can also find ways to get free clothing for your children, either through outreach programs, neighbors who have older children, or through the Freecycle website. 

We all want our kids to look good and dress well, but there’s no reason to spend a fortune on their clothing. With a little patience, know how, and shopping savvy, your kids can look like a million bucks, even if you only spent $20.

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