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The year that my daughter was three, I spent $200 on hair bows.
I wasn’t exactly focused on buying kids clothes on a budget.
We lived in a small town in South Carolina where little girls were dressed like little dolls.
And I loved it.
So I took my Jersey-raised booty to the kids shop with the cutest name in the world.
And I happily caved to the social pressure to decorate my toddler’s braids for every conceivable holiday, season and occasion.
And since I was working part-time from home, I never had to say out loud the amount that I had spent.
On hair bows.
For a child.
Who didn’t even attend school.
I still very much like to dress my children in high quality clothes.
But five years, one son and one mortgage (in NJ) later, my fun money budget is not the same as it once was.
Here are 6 ways to stock up on beautiful kids clothes on a budget.
1. Buy Quality
If every article of clothing your purchase is the best quality you can afford, you can make clothes last through several children with no problem.
This will save you a ton in the long run.
2. Choose Gender Neutral
As I already mentioned, I love to dress girls like girls.
And little boys like little boys.
But for some items, choosing a gender neutral color, or a boy’s color, is fine for either or.
When I buy pajamas, snow pants, snow boots and sports equipment, I always go for the boys’ department.
Because my daughter can wear feet pajamas with rocket ships and a navy tee-ball helmet just fine.
Otherwise you will spend money on items that you could have handed down from one kid to the next for no reason.
3. The New Ways To Buy Secondhand
As a kid my mom took us to consignment shops for clothes often.
She had five kids and she stayed home with them, so new clothes were just not an option most of the time.
Now I follow her example.
But as a mama shopping for kids clothes on a budget in the 21st century, the options available to me are much more appealing.
Check eBay for both new and high quality secondhand items (I got next-to-new Hanna Andersson one piece swimsuits for my son last year for a tiny fraction of what they cost retail).
And search for local consignment sales for seasonal wardrobes.
These sales typically occur two times a year for three days each.
Many moms come together to sell their outgrown children’s clothes, so the selection is awesome.
And there is typically a huge discount off of most items on the final day of the sale (Although the selection is the best on the first day).
When you are looking for something very specific, let your friends and neighbors know.
It is very likely that someone else’s child already has a pair of size 11 snow boots that are too small.
Most mamas will be happy to hand these over for free or for a very small price compared to what you would spend to buy new ones.
5. Know When To Coupon
If I am looking for a particular high quality item (such as the Hanna Andersson swimsuits I mentioned earlier) I generally head straight for eBay.
But when I need to stock up for a new season on an entire wardrobe, secondhand is not always the most cost effective option.
Kids are hard on their clothes.
And some items, such as leggings for little girls, or jeans for little boys, just don’t wear well enough to make buying secondhand an option.
When you stack a coupon code, which can easily be had by signing up for the company’s emails, with sales, it becomes hard to beat new with secondhand.
If you aren’t using this site, you are leaving money in the table for no reason every time you purchase something online.
Just go to the Ebates website and sign up for a free account.
Then you have to link it to your PayPal account.
This is very simple.
Then any time you buy anything online, instead of going to that company’s website, go to the Ebates website.
Then type in the name of the website you want to make a purchase from in the Ebates search bar.
Ebates will redirect you to the company’s site, and you make your purchase like normal.
After you complete your transaction, Ebates will transfer a percentage of your purchase amount into your PayPal account.
It really is that simple.
No cost to you.
Mama, dressing your kids in clothes that flatter them and stand up to wear is a tall order.
Especially when you are trying to be as responsible with your family’s budget as possible as a stay-at-home mama.
But when you make your purchasing decisions deliberately, taking steps to use that budget as wisely as possible, it is absolutely possible.
First make a list of the next round of purchases you need to make for your children’s wardrobes.
Circle any big ticket items, and as on Facebook whether anyone has any of them in your kids’ sizes ready to sell or hand down.
Then, look at the rest of the list and circle the items that you can purchase gender neutral.
By considering your list one step at a time you can give your kids everything they need for the season ahead with the money you have.
What other tips do you use to get your kids clothes on a budget, mama?