There is no beating around the bush – kid’s items are expensive. Sometimes they cost just as much as their adult counterparts, but with far less material and they outgrow everything so quickly. It’s vital to save money, especially if you’re on a budget, but your children also need to be clothed, entertained and educated. Here are a few tips on how to save money on children’s items.
Buy in the next size up during the off season.
Those end of season clearance events can generally work to your advantage. Purchasing clothing that is the next size up during the off season is a great way to start building a wardrobe after they outgrow their current size. I have found shirts/sweaters/pants at Carter’s Oshkosh for as low as $2.99 which I simply buy in the next size up to store for the next season. New wardrobe at the fraction of the cost!
Purchase children’s clothing and shoes used when they’re younger.
Babies and young toddlers aren’t super tough on their clothes in the first two years of their lives. You can often find secondhand shoes or clothing on swap/sells or garage sales for much cheaper than what they retail for in store.
I found my daughter some size 6 Nike shoes that fit her well. They were very gently used and showed almost no wear, and they would’ve been close to $50 new! That’s highway robbery. Don’t get me wrong, supportive shoes are important, and as children age they wear out shoes more quickly. I wouldn’t suggest purchasing used shoes when your children are older, but when they’re younger it’s a great way to save a lot of money!
Bog boots are all my daughter loves to wear in the wintertime. I purchased some for her off of a swap/sell for $20, and they retail for close to $100 new. They lasted her the whole winter and they’re unisex, so my son will get to wear them too.
Purchase big ticket items during end of year clearance.
I’m talking snow suits, rash guard bathing suits, hats and mitts and more. A good quality snowsuit can often run an upwards of $100 which is crazy considering the amount of time children actually spend wearing the suit. Wait for the end of the year clearance, and purchase the big ticket item in the next size up. My daughter’s Columbia one piece? $35 ($100+ regular price). Her rash guard from Carter’s? $7.99 ($34 regular price). It pays to shop off season.
Purchase books and toys from thrift stores, swap/sell groups and garage sales.
Kids are into “fad” toys for a very short period of time. Often times, those popular toys are cheaply made, and don’t survive more than one child. Shopping garage sales and thrift stores for the classic toys will save you loads of money. I’m talking Barbie cars (I got mine for $1 at Salvation Army, and they still sell for close to $40!), Mr. Potato Head ($2 for a giant container with three men and accessories versus $15 for ONE new in store) and a push car for outdoors ($10 on a swap/sell, $65 in Toys r Us).
Check out a previous article I wrote about the best children’s items to buy used here.
As for books, I purchase most of them from thrift stores or garage sales so if they get destroyed it really isn’t the end of the world. We visit the library on a weekly basis and enjoy picking out new books to read together. If we REALLY love a new book, and request it over and over, I have been known to purchase it new. In that case, I will either shop online (Amazon, Indigo and BookOutlet are my go-to online bookstores) or use a gift card or points to purchase the book from Indigo.
Don’t fall for gimmicks.
People market things are “must have” all the time. Keep your money in your wallet and search for a suitable alternative to the miracle products that everyone seems to swear by. Most of the time it’s up to the babies preference, and the baby doesn’t care how much you pay for certain items.
Some items come with rave reviews and groupies (Graco car seats for example) but don’t always believe the hype. People swore up and down that the Graco 4ever and Extend2Fit were miracle car seats, but I find them bulky and the straps hard to tighten. The Safety 1st one I purchased for a third of the cost? Much easier to install and tighten the straps. Check it out here. It’s all about preference.
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