saving on kids clothes

5 Tips for Dressing Kids on a Budget

I’m sure many parents will agree with me that it’s so easy to get caught up in buying baby and kids’ clothing, simply because the styles are so darn cute! Dressing kids on a budget is much easier these days, thanks to retailers like Walmart and Target offering trendy designs at affordable price points.

However, keeping your little ones in the latest trends and looking presentable can be a challenge since they outgrow things so fast. For frugal moms like me, the main goal is to have kids who look neat, clean, and cute. Luckily, I’ve found some pretty easy ways to do just that without spending a small fortune. Here are 5 easy way to dress kids on a budget:

 Thrift Stores & Secondhand Sales

Thrift stores can be hit or miss, but if you take the time to hunt through the racks, you’ll find decent items. I’ve gotten a lot of good clothing for my kids at Goodwill, and sometimes they still even have the original sales tags attached from stores like Target. Kids can be really hard on their clothing, so it’s not always easy to find items in great condition. However, thrift stores can be a great place to find play clothes. It’s definitely worth a look.

Another favorite place to shop secondhand are sales like Just Between Friends. These sales occur a few times a year, usually before the change of seasons. They’re more selective about the items that they’ll accept, making it easier to find quality items and labels. Check for these types of sales in your area and take note of the sale dates so that you don’t miss out.

Flea Markets & Yard Sales

Take a look around any flea market or yard sale, and you’ll notice that people are always unloading old kids’ clothes. They’re more than happy to be rid of the stuff and are looking to make a few bucks off of it. I’ve picked up practically new baby clothes for as little as 50 cents each at flea markets. Many of them look like they were worn a grand total of once by the original owner.

Local swaps and sales that are organized online via Facebook are also a good place to check. There’s a twice-a-year sale held by a local mom’s group in our area where I get some great deals on gently worn clothing and toys. Do a quick search to see if there are any of these kinds of sales happening in your area. They’re typically held in the spring and the fall.

Before my oldest was born, I was incredibly fortunate to have a family member clear out her attic and give me all of her old baby clothes and other items. It was a win-win for both of us, as she wanted to minimize, and I was in the feverish process of preparing for my new arrival. She gave us boxes of clothes in great condition and I could not have been more thankful.

And when it comes to baby clothing, once friends and family know that you’re expecting, you may get similar offers for clothes and gear. Babies outgrow and stain things so quickly, it makes perfect sense to accept the offers that come your way.

So many people are minimizing these days and just donating their outgrown and unwanted clothes. Put the word out that you’re happy to take hand-me-downs.

Gifts- Ask for Clothes Instead of Toys!

When birthdays and holidays roll around, people often ask you what to get the kids. If your child already has enough plastic junk taking over the home (which is very likely), then ask for clothes!

Now, I do get it, some people may not want to get kids something “boring”, but others will be happy to. I’ve found that my female friends and family can’t seem to resist buying cute kids clothes, which is totally fine by me! Anytime we can reduce the amount of junk in the home and get something useful instead, I’m all about it. So unless your child has a wish list of things that they definitely, absolutely want for birthdays or Christmas, simply tell those who ask what to buy to get clothes.

Explore Creative Homemade Gift Ideas

Shop End of Season Sales

This one is my personal favorite hack for dressing my kids on a budget. I once scooped up an entire summer wardrobe for my girl for less than $15 at Target by shopping the clearance section.  Each item was marked down to $1.50! I snagged cute screen printed t-shirts, tank tops, and shorts.

At Kohls, I’ve purchased my son’s seasonal wardrobes a year ahead of time just by shopping the clearance racks. I stick to a rule of not spending more than $4 on any single item. Most of the pieces are less than $2 when on final clearance and combined with a coupon. You seriously can’t beat it!

I’ve been doing this since before my oldest was born. I pick up clearance items in larger sizes that will be seasonally appropriate. This is really easy to do during the toddler years. I love that it saves me the stress of having to shop for a new wardrobe each season.

Dressing kids on a budget is easier than you might think. It takes a little effort, but it’s well worth it when you get the benefits of saving money.

14 thoughts on “5 Tips for Dressing Kids on a Budget”

  1. Stephanie@ ClothingRIC

    Great post Lauren, every mother wants her child to look neat clean and cute 🙂 The budget for kids clothing is always higher because they keep growing and to find such clothes in affordable price is a tough job. I normally uses deals or coupon Otherwise waits for the end of season sale.

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  3. We buy our daughter’s clothes from a consignment store. It is a little more expensive than thrift stores and yard sales but I can get all my shopping done in less than a hour and still spend less than $30.

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  5. Lauren,

    Great tips! Like many others here, our kids own almost zero “new” clothes. It’s all hand-me-downs and yard sale stuff. We’ve probably saved tens of thousands of dollars by taking the approach. As fast as they grow, and as tough as kids are on clothes, you’d be crazy to buy items at full price.

    Neighbors can also be good for hand-me-downs if they know you’re interested.

  6. I’m one of five children, my parents have boxes of our old clothes in the attic. We did lots of hand me downing and I’m sure I’ll probably raid the attic of my parents to continue to hand me down process when I have children of my own.

  7. I had my cousins hand-me-downs when I was younger, and I’m pretty sure my mom gave some of my clothes to my younger cousin, too. Might as well! Clearance sales are awesome. Can’t beat $1.50 for brand new clothes.

    1. I can remember being pretty excited to go through hand me downs from relatives- it’s like going shopping for free!

  8. All of my kid’s clothes are used! They literally have nothing new, aside from clothing they have gotten as gifts. I can’t imagine how much money I’ve saved over the years.

  9. John @ Sprout Wealth

    These are all great options Lauren! Having three kiddos we deal with this a lot and do several of these things. The big thing we do is there is a local consignment sale here twice a year. We get to sell a bunch of our old stuff and use that to turn around and buy new to us stuff. We usually breakeven or even get a little bit back out of it.

  10. This is NOT an option for everyone (if you hate to sew…) but my cousin makes a lot of her children’s ADORABLE clothing! None of it looks all ‘made at home’ either. She usually sews like dresses and stuff like that.

    1. That’s a great idea! Unfortunately, I’m lacking in the sewing machine skills department, but I don’t doubt that one could make some awesome stuff for cheap. My grandmother used to make us nightgowns, pajamas, and dresses all the time when I was growing up.

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