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I think you’ll agree with me when I say that even though money is tight as a stay-at-home mom, I don’t necessarily want the way my kids are dressed to reflect that.
So I was thrilled to learn that there are many ways to dress your kids well on a budget.
When I became a stay-at-home mom I knew I couldn’t keep paying to dress my kids in boutique clothes.
But I also didn’t want my new budget to mean that I had start buying their outfits at Walmart.
Luckily, as I chatted with other stay-at-home mamas, I picked up some tricks of the trade.
And now my kids wear adorable high quality clothes.
And I don’t blow my budget to buy them.
Here Are 6 Ways How To Dress Your Kids Well On A Budget
1. Use The Currency In Your Attic
Save the clothes your kids outgrow.
If you don’t already have younger children who will wear them within the next few years, then turn them into cash to buy new clothes.
Get rid of anything that is ripped, stained or has significant wash wear.
And sell the rest. I sell my kids’ outgrown clothes on eBay.
But you can also sell at a children’s consignment event.
Just Google to find an upcoming event near you, and follow their instructions for signing up and prepping clothes to sell.
To get the most for your things, group items by size, gender and season.
Then list the clothes in lots (meaning an entire season of the same size together).
List your lots on eBay about a month before the start of a new season to get the highest bids.
For example, I list fall/back-to-school lots in August. People like to bid on items with a low starting bid.
So I set the shipping for my lot according to what it will cost to ship in flat rate boxes.
And then I start the auction at $0.99 and list for at least five days.
For most children’s brands, you can expect to recoup about $2 per item.
If you have truly high quality big ticket designer items, such as a winter coat, list those individually.
Have you started wearing a capsule wardrobe since becoming a stay-at-home mama?
Thanks to the success of this book about minimalism and decluttering, many mamas have pared down our closets to our favorite essentials.
But when it comes to your kids’ clothes, have you done the same?
There is no real reasons that your daughter needs ten pair of leggings and seven different church dresses.
Especially since she’ll outgrow them as quickly as you buy them.
Beth, at Natural Mama Cafe, has a great post to help you pare your children’s closets down to a yearly wardrobe that works.
When you buy less for your kids you will not only spend less money, but you will also have fewer clothes to wash.
And your kids will have fewer choices to overwhelm them.
3. Tell Grandma The Truth
When your family members as what your children need for upcoming birthdays or Christmas, do you answer, “Nothing.”
Yeah, I did that too for a few years.
But mama, these people want to buy gifts for your kids.
And they are probably going to do it anyway, whether you give them ideas to work with or not.
We all want to spend our money on things that our loved ones will like and use.
And you want to be able to dress your kids well on a budget.
So the next time Grandma asks what the kids need, tell her!
Take some time to look through their closets, and think about upcoming events, seasonal changes, and growth spurts.
And then give loved ones specific ideas about what you actually could use.
You will save money, and your relatives will get to treat your kids to things that they will actually wear and enjoy.
4. Handle With Care
Mama, how frustrating is it when you do spend money on new clothes, only to see them come out of the first wash cycle with rips, stains or two sizes too small?
The clothes you buy need to last as long as possible in order to make your kids’ clothing budget stretch.
And for that to happen you need to wash each article of clothing the right way.
I personally don’t like to take the time to read the care instructions on every single label, so I wash all of my laundry in cold water and, with the exception of a few delicate items that I hang to dry, I dry everything on the lowest heat setting.
Usually this means running clothes through the dryer twice.
But that’s a price I’m willing to pay to reduce the chances of shrinking anything. I also suggest saving the receipts for everything you purchase until after you wash it at least once.
That way, if something is damaged, you can return it to the store.
5. Play The Long Game
Mama, when you buy new clothes for your kids, do you head for the stores where you can get the most items for the fewest dollars?
These options are fine when you need a specific item for an occasion, like a red shirt for the Christmas dance recital.
But for everyday clothes that will be a part of your child’s regular regular wardrobe, buying high quality items will cost less in the long run.
These clothes will look newer longer and stand up to wear.
So while they may cost a little bit more upfront, they will last through multiple children for many wears.
I like Gymboree and Hanna Andersson for high-quality brightly colored clothes that are durable and wash well.
6. Size Up
It’s frustrating to spend money on new clothes each season, only to have to do it all again once the next growth spurt hits.
But I’ve found that some clothes can easily last two full years if you’re willing to sacrifice a tailored fit.
I buy some items in the largest size that my kids can fit into at the time of purchase.
These include dresses, shorts, night gowns, overalls, snow pants, jackets and one piece swim suits.
Then we can get two or even three summers or winters out of each one.
This won’t work for pants or leggings.
But once you get used to the general shape of your kids’ bodies you will get a feel for which items you can get the longest wear out of.
Stretching Your Budget To Fit Growing Kids
Learning how to dress your kids well on a budget takes some effort.
But it is absolutely doable.
Start by going through your kid’s drawers to take inventory of what they will need in the coming months.
Then take out any clothes that don’t fit well or that your little one just doesn’t wear, and decide whether you will sell them on eBay or at a consignment sale.
Then set that money aside to buy the clothes your family needs for the next season, focusing on high quality items that will last through multiple sizes.
Once you have gone through a season or two of restocking your kids’ clothes this way, it will become second nature.
Which tip will you start with mama?
Let us know in the comments!