Kids go through clothes like boxes of Cheerios. We say: don’t spend a lot of money on play wear and school clothes. By the time kids wear them or use them once or twice, who can tell if they’re new or used anyway?
You can find some kids’ clothes in excellent condition at thrift stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army and other thrift stores. We did a little reconnaissance for you. They have jeans for $2, winter coats and jackets for $5 and backpacks for $3.
So check out your favorite thrift store for trendy items or things that might get worn once – like a SpongeBob SquarePants T-shirt (next week, they’ll want Toy Story) or a Halloween costume they’ll outgrow before next year. Don’t forget garage sales, which proliferate this time of year.
Also look at consignment stores. There are some that handle only children’s clothing. You can find quality clothes (some with the tags still on them) for a fraction of what they cost at Macy’s or Sears. Yes, sizes might be limited but you could get lucky and find just the right dress for Christmas or Easter. Worn once or twice, you can take it back to the consignment store later and make part of your money back. You also can take your barely worn kids’ clothes to consignment shops to sell, to help defray the cost of dressing your youngsters. (Buying and selling at the big consignment sales is also an option in major cities.)
Also check out the sale racks at the big department stores or outlet shops right after the season is over for 70% to 80% off original prices. And Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s always have decent deals, often on name labels. An employee of JCPenney just told us that the company now hauls armloads of clothes from the regular-priced racks to the sales racks the first and third Fridays of each month. “It’s the very best time to shop,” she says.
LOTC tip: When buying new or gently used clothing, check the laundry label to make sure the items are machine washable. If possible, have your kids try on the clothing — it may be the item was discarded because it shrunk.
What are your favorite tips for dressing your kids on a budget?