10 ways to clothe kids for less
A child goes through approximately eight clothing size changes in the first two years of life. As he or she continues to grow, it’s not unlikely to see clothing sizes increase every 6 to 12 months, and then annually once the child enters school. It can be an expensive venture to clothe a child, and many parents express frustration about having to frequently shop for children’s clothing.
So what can a parent who is looking to keep expenses down on kids clothes do? Here are 10 ways to scale back and keep kids fully clothed.
- Swap clothing. Children grow so quickly, oftentimes they are in the next size before they have even worn everything in their closets. Get together with family or close friends and devise a hand-me-down policy. You may end up with bags full of gently-used clothing without having to spend a cent. Return the favor when your child grows out of the items and pass them on to another person who can use them.
- Shop thriftily.Thrift stores have become the “in” place to grab deals and items that in many cases look brand new. Many even sell designer items. Check out thrift stores for supplemental pieces to your child’s wardrobe, including coats and other pieces that tend to be pricey. Basics, like socks and underwear, can still be purchased from major retailers.
- Buy a size larger.Look for well-made pieces that can be purchased in a size larger to ensure at least two year’s worth of use. Pants can be cuffed or temporarily hemmed. Many pants also come with adjustable waistbands so they can be cinched if too large. Sleeves can be rolled up. Children may actually prefer a more baggy style anyway.
- Learn to sew. You don’t need to be a professional tailor to make many items for your kids. With easy patterns for skirts, vests and shirts, you can add to a child’s wardrobe with handmade items. The basics of sewing can assist you in tailoring certain items into others, like turning a long shirt into a cute dress for a girl or revamping worn-out jeans into shorts. You may be able to use the fabric from unworn items in your own closet to make clothing for the kids.
- Patch and mend before tossing. Many people are quick to throw out clothing with tears or holes. Repairing these items adds years to their life and saves you money. Iron-on seam menders and easy-use adhesives can assist with repairs when sewing skills are limited. Also, patching jeans or pants doesn’t have to look obvious. Girls may love adding star- or heart-shaped patches cut from frilly fabrics to holes in their pants as a fashion statement.
- Shop sales. When visiting retailers, shop at the end of the season and load up on items in a size larger for next year. Cash in on warehouse sales or when stores are unloading overstock to make room for the new season. Some will take your e-mail address and let you know when insider sales are taking place.
- Sign up for a loyalty card or the store credit card. Many stores give discounts to cardholders that go beyond the deals offered to the general public. Stick to stores that don’t charge a fee to open or hold the credit card. Having the store’s card does not mean you have to use it, but it could entitle you to advertisements and discounts not available all the time.
- Search for coupons and use them. Before heading to the store, scour the newspaper or check your junk mail drawer for coupons. Shop at the stores offering discounts, even if they’re not your normal places to get kids’ clothes. Also, it doesn’t hurt to go online and do a query for “discount codes”or “store coupons” for the retailer you plan to visit. Chances are there is a deal floating around in cyberspace that you can use.
- Don’t be stuck on gender-specific items. Many items of clothing cross gender lines. Hold on to items like solid-colored shirts and Ts, jeans, undershirts, and pajamas. Unless it specifically screams boy or girl print on it, you may be able to use it for a younger child who is a different sex from his or her sibling.
- Don’t over-buy.Kids do not need a dozen pairs of shoes, four coats or three different hat-and-glove combinations. Exercise good judgement with regards to how much clothing is necessary. Cutting down on kids’ clothing saves money and saves work laundering all of those items, too.
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