Friday, April 24, 2009

Frugal Friday: Clothing

There are some super cute kids' clothes out there...there are also some very expensive kids' clothes out there. I fully understand that you want your children to look 'acceptable' while going out in society but there is no reason to pay a lot of money for it. I find it very challenging to pay a lot of money (more than $25) for a single item of clothing for anyone in the house. Adult-sized jeans are about the only thing I will pay money for.

There are a couple reasons I refuse to pay a lot of money for children's clothing.
1. They only wear each item for up to 6 months before it is too small.
2. They trash their clothing (and should) while playing, painting, eating,potty training, etc.
3. There are so many resources of inexpensive and free clothing.

Where to get clothes.
Cheap option...Target, Walmart, Meijer, and Old Navy are good sources for reasonably priced new clothing. The quality is good enough to last handing down to multiple children and the styles are current.

Cheaper option....Goodwill and Salvation Army resale stores are good sources. It takes a bit more time to sort through to find the best quality but the prices are unbeatable. Consignment shops are a good option if you want higher quality or high-style clothes. You may also be able to trade your own used clothing. Garage sales (this is the season) or One-week Boutique-type community sales are great but are hit-or-miss.

Cheapest (Free) option...find someone in your inner-circle with kids on either side age-wise of your own. Then hand the clothes around. It never hurts to ask someone you know if they have any clothes their kids have grown out of. Also, obviously, if you have multiple children, invest in some storage bins and save everything. This also helps me justifying buying clothes since I know it will get at least two kids worth. Lastly, check your local Freecycle group.

Final tip...reconsider buying special occasion clothing. Even at a Christmas party, my kids will spill juice, crawl on the floor, and wet their pants. Instead go with 'nicer' play clothes (jeans and a non-stained t-shirt). Kids look cute all the time...they don't need velvet and lace.


The Fearless Freak said...

Older boy clothes is a real headache to find. Apparently boys either completely destroy their clothes (says the mother of the 7 year old who has completely ripped the knees out of every pair of jeans he owns) or parents aren't buying them as many "cute" outfits so they have less excess.

When the last pair of jeans bit the dust a couple of months ago, I didn't want to pay full price from clothes that would likely only be worn a couple of months. I went to all the resale shops in town and found nothing. At All Things Kids, there was one rack of boys clothes size 6-18. There was a rack of each size for girls clothes!

Something else to add to your cheap option, with a little work, is Kohl's. I was really surprised when we managed to find TB exactly the shorts he wanted (he likes athletic shorts and pants all of a sudden) for 2/$12. That is cheaper than Walmart. You just have to look for sale items because there were some shorts that were $30 for a pair as well

Jenna said...

I was so spoiled having a girl first. I can't believe the desparity of boys clothes (probably 1:4 ratio to girls options).

Kohl's is good...I avoid going there because I buy too much but overall, it is great..especially their sale racks. I go there at the end of seasons and buy the the next year.

Suzanne Rielle said...

I actually have a unique point of view on this topic. Have you noticed that when you purchase clothing at Walmart, Target, Kohl's, Penny's, ... anything from a big-box or lower-end department store, it's like driving off a car lot - the immediate value instantly depreciates dramatically? Sure, maybe you only paid $12, but it won't hold up to washing well and won't be worth much on the resale market.

I have learned it's totally possible to outfit kids for practically free in quality designer clothing, which tends to hold its value. To do this, I buy at a deep discount (60-80% off), buy a little more than needed (so everything doesn't get worn out), and plan to re-sell. I also feel good about this approach because it's less wasteful and it supports the many awesome small designer clothing businesses (vs. mass manufacturing and cheap labor).

Thanks for the opportunity to comment :)

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