Everyone knows that raising kids isn’t cheap. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a middle-income family can expect to spend about $245,340, or $304,480 adjusted for projected inflation, to raise a child born in 2013 until age 18. This amount includes housing, childcare and education, food, and other expenses.
As of August 2013, 6% of that amount was going toward clothing costs. Parents want their kids to look nice, and many kids want to have brand-name clothes as they grow older because they begin to understand that brands often go hand in hand with status. This can lead to an expensive tab for parents who want their kids to have nice clothing.
However, there are many ways to save money on the best brands, and current trends (think clothing with Angry Birds from a few years ago). Here are a few ways to go about saving money.
1. Check out garage sales
This one might seem like an obvious bet, but many people don’t take advantage of garage sales the way they should. Instead of simply stopping at random sales and perusing the items, take a more targeted approach. Neighborhood sales are ideal for finding great deals because you can quickly drive or walk by multiple sales in search of what you want. Also, consider going to garage sales in neighborhoods with a lot of kids, and if possible, choose affluent neighborhoods if you are looking for popular culture items or brand-name clothes. Lastly, try to make a deal. Some people are shy about asking for a deal, but especially if you purchase multiple items, you can probably negotiate a lower price.
2. Check out group sales
Group sales are often a great way to find deals on kids’ clothes. If you are part of a parents’ group, you might receive updates about these sales, but otherwise you will need to do some detective work. Sometimes churches will host these, but often they are hosted by moms’ groups.
There are also themed sales, such as sales for parents of multiples. The great thing about these sales is that you don’t need to be a parent of twins (or whatever the theme is) in order to go; at the same time, fewer people may know about the sale if it is directed toward a specific audience. You can still find great clothing deals at a themed sale, and like a neighborhood sale you can quickly look at many different items at once without having to travel very far. Also, if you attend a group sale directed toward parents, you will be surrounded by items that you actually need, which saves time.
3. Check Craigslist and Facebook
Craigslist has a garage sale section, but it also has other items that are for sale outside of garage sales. Kids’ items are very popular on Craigslist, and you can search for specific needs as well. Facebook is also a great resource for saving money on kids’ clothes. There are many different groups and pages on Facebook that are designed specifically for buying, selling, or trading items. If you search for kids’ items in your area, you will probably see many different groups you can join, or pages to look over. This is a great way to get a good deal on local clothing. Some of the groups require you to request to join, but this helps administrators monitor posts, and also allows administrators to make sure that members are actually local and really selling items related to the category (like kids’ clothing.)
4. Shop at the end of the season
One of the best ways to save money when purchasing kids’ clothing is to purchase items at the end of the season. For example, right now you might be able to find kids’ jackets and pants on sale at a large discount. The only problem with this method is that you really have to think ahead and determine what size your child will be wearing the next time the clothing will be weather appropriate. However, thinking ahead will really save you a lot of money.
Although buying clothing at the end of a season can be a great way to save money, you can also target your shopping around specific sales. According to Consumer Reports, the end of summer can be a great time to purchase several items as well. Back-to-school season can mean a 20-25% discount on basic wardrobe items. Some states also drop sales tax for specific sales, and these sales can be a great time to stock up.
5. Anticipate the trends
Anticipating clothing trends isn’t easy, unless you are a fashion guru. However, anyone can pick up certain trends just by looking around. Some brands have been popular for decades, but others are becoming more popular now. If you start to notice certain brands becoming more popular, now is the time to purchase these items before they become more in demand. You also might notice that some brands periodically make a comeback, as do certain styles. You can actually find quite a bit of trendy clothing at used clothing stores, and many of the clothes from previous decades are coming back in style.
Used clothing stores are a great idea to save money any day. Certain stores used to have a certain social stigma that caused many people to avoid them, but those stigmas are often unfounded. Many used clothing stores have name brand clothing at a great price, and you don’t always have to go to the more expensive thrift stores to find quality clothes at a great price.