Parents understand that children are expensive, and one particularly pricey aspect of having children is buying their clothes. Especially when the children are growing very quickly, it can seem like they grow out of their clothes before they have time to wear them. There are ways to buy your children's clothes on a budget, however, including getting organized, thinking about secondhand sources, avoiding impulse purchases, focusing on practical items, making compromises, and checking sales.
Get organized. Before you buy any clothing for your child, make sure you take inventory. Organize clothes by type, size, and occasion. It is important to know what your children have and what they need when you are buying children's clothes on a budget, as you don't want duplicates. Find out what clothing your children have grown out of, what they wore out entirely, and what they never touched.
Think secondhand. There are many sources for secondhand clothing now — some of it quite nice. Look online, at garage sales, in thrift stores, at flea markets, and in secondhand boutiques. Secondhand clothing sells for a fraction of the price of new clothing, and if you take your child's old clothes, you may be able to get cash or store credit. In addition, realize that very young children do not notice or care where their clothes come from, so take advantage of that fact when you're looking for children's clothes on a budget.
Avoid impulse buys. This is where being organized helps. If you love a certain item of clothing, but your daughter has three of them already, pass it up. If it is adorable but your son will never wear it, don't buy it! Keep a list and only buy what you need.
Think about practicality. It doesn't matter if the item is deeply discounted or if your child is begging for it — if it won't get worn, don't buy it. Children will not wear clothes that are uncomfortable, so don't pass up comfort for style.
Compromise. You can teach valuable money lessons at the same time as you are trying to purchase children's clothes on a budget. Propose compromises with your children. If your son wants expensive sneakers, tell him you'll get them, but only if the rest of his clothes are secondhand. If your daughter wants brand-name jeans, tell you that you'll pay for half the price if she pays the other half. When compromising, though, never forget that you are the parent and you have the final say.
Check sales. Especially right before school starts in the fall, you can find good sales on children's clothing. Watch the newspaper ads and circulars for sales and take advantage of them.
Buying children's clothes on a budget can be challenging, but it is possible. Don't forget to take advantage of hand-me-downs from other parents. Since children grow so fast, you will find that many items are almost new. Just think — with the money you'll save, you can start saving for your children's college educations!