Clothes. Love ’em or hate ’em, you pretty much gotta wear ’em.
I think Olivia fits into the ambivalent category at this point. She loves carrying clothes around, sorting them out, and playing peek-a-boo with her shirts, but I don’t think she gives two hoots about actually wearing them. It’s just one of those things mama makes her do sometimes.
It’s also something mama does not want to spend a fortune on every year. And so far, we’ve managed to keep our clothing costs incredibly low. Like- we we’ve probably spent $15 on clothes so far. And Olivia is 12 months.
What are my secrets?
Showers & Birthdays
Hands down the number one way we have received clothing for Olivia is from our family and friends on gift giving occasions. We’ve never really asked people for clothes, but you know how
people females get around cute little baby girl clothes. It really has been such an awesome gift, for both baby and parents. Anyway, it’s always on the list when people ask, “So what should I get Olivia?”
On a whim when Olivia was a few weeks old Mike and I decided to stop at a garage sale we were passing. I am soooo glad I did. It turned out that the people holding the garage sale were getting rid of a TON of baby stuff, including clothing. Almost all of it was name brand, and a good portion of it still had the tags on. Good grief people. I’m betting they let the “cute little baby girl clothes” thing get away with them too.
I walked away from that sale with a bag stuffed with clothing for $3. And since Olivia’s baby showers had pretty well stocked her wardrobe through 9 months, I purposefully only bought items for 12 months and beyond, trying to keep in mind her projected size at various seasons (12 month= summer; 18 month= winter). $3 and I outfitted Olivia through 18 months. Not too shabby.
My garage sale luck was a semi-fluke, but you can actually plan trips like these, to some degree. Lots of people are starting to register their garage sales with Craigslist, and they often times also list the items they will be selling so you can actually determine whether it would be worth your time to swing by. You should also show up at garage sales ready to bargain. I got to fill a bag for $3… it’s worth asking!
Whatever we haven’t gotten in gifts or that one fabulous garage sale find, we have gotten from other friends. We have several friends with daughters older than Olivia, and many of them are basically done having kids, or at least they are just trying to make some room in the closet. These friends have graciously given us bags upon bags of clothing… so much in fact, that we now have Olivia outfitted up to 3T!!! We have never actually asked our friends for these gifts, they just show up from time to time.
We have put a call out from time to time when we are looking for a specific item- white sweater? Winter jacket? And usually there is someone out there, on Facebook or just in face to face encounters, who will say, “Oh I actually do! It’s been sitting in my closet/basement/attic for months!” Perfect, thanks!
And the best thing about this is that it keeps going around and around. I know we’ll pass along bags and bags to the next round of babies to be born.
A Few Other Ideas
There are a few things we haven’t tried, but I know they work for others. One is threadUp, a website where, for $5+shipping, you can select a box of gently used clothing to be sent to your door by another mama looking to clear out the closet. And then when you have your own box to get rid of, you register your own for someone else to pick to receive. It’s a great resource to recycle kids clothing.
Other resources are: ebay, local thrift stores like Plato’s Closet or Once Upon A Child (where you can also sell your old stuff for cash!), and Craigslist. The more personal your interaction with another person, though, the better the deal you can get. And don’t forget to keep the cycle going by donating or giving away what you don’t need or use anymore.
In A Pinch
In a pinch we will visit Target or Wal Mart or whatever is close. We forgot pants for Olivia one time when we went to visit our parents and it was a rather chilly weekend to go pant-less. So Mike made a trip to the local store, Meijer, to get Olivia an outfit with pants. We also had to pick her up a hoodie one time because she didn’t have anything with a hood to wear over some clothes in her particular size at the time. And that basically rounds us out to our $15 spent on clothing in the past year. Not too bad.
How About You?
What do you do to save money on clothing for your kids (or yourself!) Share your tips and experiences in the comments!