Clever T-shirts and adorable dresses are guaranteed to make your kids look even cuter than they naturally are, but outfitting the pint-sized members of your household isn’t cheap. Parents can expect to spend between $838 and $1,375 every year on clothes for their kids, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, depending on their income.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend $75 to $100 every month to dress your kids to the nines. Just take a cue from savvy parents who know how to find the best deals. They stalk the end-of-season clearance racks, aren’t afraid of gently used hand-me-downs, don’t turn up their noses at garage sale finds, and use coupons judiciously.
Buying the right clothes for the right occasion will also help you save. Splurging on a winter coat your kid will wear every day for months may make sense, but there’s no need to spend a fortune on T-shirts that are going to end up stained and stretched.
“When I know my kids are going to be playing at the park, riding bikes, and heading to the beach, I look for play-quality clothes for cheap,” MoneyCrashers’ Jacqueline Curtis wrote. “I look for deals that allow me to buy two or three shirts for around $10, or discounted graphic tees, sweatpants, flip-flops, and shorts.”
Shopping at stores that are known for great bargains is another good way to keep your clothing budget in check, especially if you don’t have time to clip coupons or spend time hunting through clearance racks. What stores will help you save the most money? We checked prices at several popular retailers to find the cheapest clothing stores for your family.
1. Old Navy
Budget-conscious parents already know that Old Navy is the place to shop for kids’ clothes without breaking the bank. The store is almost always running a sale, so you can find bargains whenever you pop in. “Never make a purchase that isn’t 40% off retail price” at Old Navy, according to the Krazy Coupon Lady. If you shop online, you can use multiple coupon codes on a single order to save even more.
What to buy: Full-price infant body suits in cute patterns are $9 online, but you can get them for as little as $4 when they go on sale. Licensed NBA, NFL, and NHL t-shirts are a relative bargain at $17.
Your favorite stop for fast fashion is also a good place to outfit your kids on a budget. Cute clothes for boys and girls can be found for under $20. You can save even more if you donate a bag of old clothes when you shop.
What to buy: Boys and girls pants for just $10, party dresses for under $20, and boys button-downs for $10. Socks and tights are relatively expensive, though, so shop for those at big-box stores.
If you’re shopping for a baby or toddler, you’ll find some of the best deals at Wal-Mart, according to Money. The store also has excellent back-to-school deals, when you can find uniform pants and shirts, along with other basics, for less than $10.
What to buy: In addition to basic tees and pants, girls hosiery is a bargain at Wal-Mart. A three-pack of tights sells for under $6 (at H&M, you’ll pay as much as $13 for a two-pack) and a six-pack of Hanes patterned crew socks is $6 (compared to $13 for seven pairs of girls socks at H&M).
4. Forever 21
Trendy kids clothing can be found for a song at Forever 21, where many items sell for $15 or less. The fashion-forward items may not be built to last, but if your kid goes through clothes at lightning speed, that may not matter.
What to buy: Graphic tees for around $10 and outerwear like in-style bomber jackets for under $25.
Kids outgrow clothes fast, which leaves parents with closets full of perfectly good shirts, pants, and dresses. thredUP, a massive online consignment store, snaps up those gently used items and sells them for a fraction of the retail price. You can also sell your kids’ castoffs and earn credit for future purchases.
What to buy: Pretty much anything, especially more expensive labels (think brands like Hanna Anderson, Crewcuts, and Lilly Pulitzer) for way less than you’d pay in store.
Amazon is well on its way to becoming the biggest clothing retailer in the country. You’ll find a huge variety of kids clothing from numerous brands on the site. Best of all: Free returns on eligible items if they don’t fit.
What to buy: With such a massive inventory, finding the best deals on Amazon can be a challenge. You can shop the site’s in-house kids brand, Scout + Ro, for $10 leggings, long-sleeved tees, and more. Most items have excellent reviews, which can ease your concerns about buying online.