Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Erin
Kids are expensive! Are you trying to figure out how to save money on clothes for your kids? This post shares the four clever ways I’ve avoided spending and ultimately made money on my children’s clothes as well.
So, you’re trying to save money on clothes for your kids…I’ve been there! In fact, it’s a never-ending, ongoing process for me.
We all know that kids grow like weeds, which can quickly drain our wallets if we’re not careful. So, if you’re looking to save some cash, consider investing in (or thrifting) some affordable yet quality clothing options for your little ones.
If you’re new here, welcome to Mom Meets Midlife! My name is Erin and I’m, as you probably guessed, a mom entering midlife.
While experiencing an early midlife crisis I made the life-changing decision to change careers. As I prepared for the change, I had to become acutely aware of my finances, which was something I had honestly not spent a lot of time thinking about. Now I’m hyper-aware and sharing the tips and tricks that have helped me save and make money.
I suspect you’re pretty serious about saving money since you are currently visiting a blog post about savings challenges. So before you keep reading, consider downloading my Low Buy Year Printable Companion. It’s 20 pages of completely free goodness.
- monthly budget trackers
- savings tracker
- meal planner
- closet inventory
- wish list planner
- gratitude journal
Ok, on to the good stuff.
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How Much Does the Average Parent Spend on Clothes?
Credit Donkey reports that families spend almost $400 on shoes and almost $2500 on clothes each year. That’s for a family of four.
When I see those numbers, it makes me a little sick to my stomach. I think of all the other things that money could go towards. While those numbers might be budgeted and factored into your lifestyle, I personally feel it’s so much more important to live below your means rather than within your means.
That’s my motivation for being frugal when it comes to my kids’ clothes.
Saving Money on Clothes to Live Below Our Means
One of the major changes I have made to help us live below our means, is to be more conscious about our spending on clothes and shoes.
It’s tough being a parent in the age of social media, isn’t it? All those flashy ads and influencers pushing the latest and greatest can make it hard to resist buying every cute and trendy thing out there. But trust me, I learned the hard way – my daughter has her own sense of style, and headbands and bows just weren’t her thing!
That bow subscription was a complete waste of money for 6 months before I accepted the truth.
I promise, even by being frugal, you can still keep your kids looking sharp without breaking the bank. Be savvy about your kids’ clothing purchases and you can free up more of your budget for other important expenses.
Tip: If you’re curious how much you are spending on clothes, give Empower a try. My husband and I use their site to have a very detailed look at all of our finances. Not only do we see our income, assets, and investments, but we see a detailed breakdown of our spending habits. The best part? It’s free. Can’t beat that!
Think Long Term When Saving Money on Clothes
I wasn’t able to stop spending money on baby and kid clothes until I changed my thinking.
Of course, you want to do what is best for your kids but what is going to help in the long term? Is it better to spend a ton of money (trust me, it adds up) to ensure sure you kids look trendy while they play at the park? Or is it better to save up for their future and spend money on the things that are truly important to your family.
Maybe you are a fashion-forward family, or an influencer, and it really is important. That makes sense! BUT ask yourself if you kids would appreciate those boutique dresses, or would they appreciate a fun family vacation? That’s the question I try to ask myself regularly when I’m tempted to click on that influencer link or sales ad.
Plus, using these tricks makes it feel like I’m somehow hacking the system. In reality, it’s just finding a system that works really well.
Now let me share with you how to save money on clothes for you kids. Using these four clever hacks, I spend pennies (if I spend anything at all) and then turn around and make money. No joke.
Four Ways to Save Money on Clothes for Your Kids
1. Accept Hand-Me-Downs
When I was a new mom back in 2015, I had friends and coworkers give me bags and bags of clothes. I accepted graciously but was hesitant to actually use them. Truth be told, I almost sent the bags straight to a donation center. I snubbed the idea of putting my infant daughter in these used *gasp* outfits because I wanted to have full control of her wardrobe. I had an idea of what I wanted her to wear, and I wanted her to have the very best. That was the whole point of a registry, right?
Boy was I wrong.
Babies go through clothes at an incredibly fast rate and oftentimes, they end up staining them with food, spit up, and diaper mishaps. There is no point in filling up your registry with clothes, unless you truly don’t know anyone who can provide hand me downs. You WILL receive clothes as gifts. Grandmas and aunties can’t help themselves.
My advice- use your registry for bigger items or gift cards.
Back to the bags of clothes…after reluctantly opening them and sorting through everything, I realized most of the items were in fantastic shape. I ended up happily using them and hanging onto the outfits that survived, just in case I ended up having another girl. Two boys later, I realized there was no point storing it in a bin in my daughter’s closet. (More later on how to pass along your kids’ clothes, clear up some storage, and make some extra money.)
For my boys, I am lucky enough to have three nephews who are older than my sons. My sister-in-law has been gracious enough to pass items down whenever they visit. My boys are rough on their clothes, so I have completely let go of the notion that they need nice shiny new outfits. We rarely have a need to dress up so as long as we have one pair of khakis and a button-down, we are good.
2. Save Money on Kid Clothes by Thrifting
There have been times I have had to purchase clothes for the kids because we wore out the items we had been given or we needed something specific we didn’t have. Usually, these items were coats and shoes. My husband and I LOVE thrifting, and we have happily discovered that we can find high-quality brands in great shape at our local thrift stores. We might have to visit a few before we are successful, but we typically find what we need.
When shopping I try to stick to brands that are higher quality and are more likely to resell. I typically find Vans, Converse, and Natives in the thrift stores and these are incredibly trendy shoe brands right now! Here are a few other clothing brands to look for that have great resale value:
- Hanna Andersson
- Mini Boden
Just last weekend I found three Hanna Andersson sweaters, 100% cotton with no holes or stains. I bought them all for less than $10! My daughter will get some great use out of them and then I will post them on a reselling platform to make a profit.
Make sure to join your thrift store rewards programs. It’s pretty exciting when I go to checkout and realize I get a discount. If you regularly participate in suggestion #3, going to the thrift store could mean you use your earnings to buy items and then resell. Rinse and repeat.
Thrift for Kid Clothes Online
Did you know you can even buy thrifted clothes online? I mainly use two different platforms to find used clothes for my children that are in great (or even new) condition. The first is thredUp. ThredUP operates by receiving clothing items from sellers, which are then inspected, photographed, and listed for sale on the website. Buyers can browse through the selection and purchase items at a discounted price compared to buying new clothing. When you use my referral link you can earn $10 in store credit.
I especially love thredUp because of their commitment to sustainability. By encouraging the reuse of clothing items, thredUP aims to reduce waste and the environmental impact of the fashion industry. In addition, the company has implemented various measures to reduce their own carbon footprint, such as using renewable energy and promoting eco-friendly practices in their offices and warehouses.
The second platform I use is Kidizen. You can find amazing deals on name brand and boutique clothes.
3. Resell Kid Clothes to Fund New Purchases
Reselling can be incredibly intimidating, and I will admit it took me a few years before I took the plunge. I honestly regret not starting sooner, because it’s much easier than it seems.
The only items you really need to get started are:
Just be sure to be honest about the condition of your items. Round down if you aren’t certain if something should be “Gently Used” or “Fair” condition. Bad reviews will absolutely hurt your shop. I’d much rather have a buyer be pleasantly surprised with the item and leave a great review.
I do not spend a lot of time doing this and it’s not something I would consider a “side hustle” but I do use the $10-$20 here and there to invest in more items for my children (or myself) to use. My hope is to get more serious about reselling this summer when I have more time.
If you are interested in giving Kidizen a try, you can use my referral link. I have made 176 sales in the last few years, and I promise I’ve only had the supplies I mentioned above. You don’t need much to get started. It’s legit! You can read my detailed post about Kidizen here.
4. Create a Capsule Wardrobe for Your Kids
By creating a collection of versatile, mix-and-match pieces, you’ll be able to stretch your dollar further than ever before. Think of it like a mini wardrobe of essentials that your child can wear all year round, with just a few seasonal updates.
Not only will you save money on buying fewer clothes overall, but you’ll also save time and stress by streamlining the getting-ready process. When everything matches, your kid can put together a stylish outfit without any support required from you. That’s a parenting win!
How Many Pieces in a Kids’ Capsule Wardrobe?
You will want to tailor this to your own child’s needs, but this is a general guideline.
- 5 basic short sleeve tops
- 5 basic long sleeve tops
- 3 athletic shorts
- 2 denim and/or khaki shorts
- 2 athletic/casual pants
- 1 pair jeans
- 1 pair khakis
- one lightweight jacket
- one winter coat
- accessories: 1 sunhat, 1 winter hat, 1 pair sunglasses, 1 pair gloves
The goal is to create a versatile, mix-and-match collection of items that can be worn in a variety of ways, so you don’t need a ton of each item.
The wonderful thing about using this system for buying and selling clothes is that you are not only saving money, but you’re helping prevent clothes from heading to landfills. Billions and billions of clothing end up in landfills each year and I guarantee most of it could be reused or recycled.
Making these types of changes to our shopping habits can have positive, lasting effects. Ultimately, the ones who will benefit are our children and our children’s children. What could be better?
To summarize, here’s how to save money on clothes for your kids (and make money):
- Say “yes” to hand-me-downs
- Buy used (thrift/consignment)
- Resell what your child outgrows
- Create a capsule wardrobe for your kids
I’d love to know if you’ve ever tried these tips and how they’ve worked out for you! Let me know in the comments.
And of course, if this post was helpful to you in any way, feel free to share and pin it 🙂