Kids aren’t cheap, but they don’t have to be super expensive either. If there’s an area Mike and I can save on, we do. Children’s clothing is an area we can always find big savings. Maria is definitely on the shorter side (thanks to her parents) but every six months (when we measure her height for records) she grows at least two full inches, sometimes we’ve recorded as many as four inches in a six month period. Needless to say we go through a ton of clothes.
To add to the whole ”growing like a weed” thing is the fact that kids are messy. I’m definitely not the kind of mom who rushes to change her kid as soon as a drop of mud gets on them but especially in the summer, she changes outfits at least once per day. Running in the grass and dirt, playgrounds, pools, Popsicles and sunscreen mess means they get dirty! All these reasons are a huge reason why we’re not willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money on her wardrobe.
For her clothes it’s a balance of quality and quantity. She definitely needs more clothes than us given how often she changes but we don’t want cheap clothes that fall apart after a handful of washes or a few trips down the slide. To do this we capitalize on a few areas.
Buy Used for High Quality
Given how fast kids grow, often wearing an item for a few months of their life, I always check second-hand stores. This is where I pick up a lot of high quality, gently worn pieces for cheap. Things like her Polo sweaters, Hilfiger shorts and GAP dresses, no way would I waste my money paying full price for them but at $5.00 per piece I’ll scoop them up. I usually stay away from second-hand cheaper stuff like WalMart brand opting to buy new from store like this instead as my experience is the shelf-life isn’t great on these pieces to begin with, they usually are a one-kid use only.
Only Shop Sales (Online shopping is a God send)
Unless it’s a cheap t-shirt or socks from a store like Target or Walmart I never pay full price for anything for Maria. If you hit the sales right (Old Navy is my favorite), you can score a ton. Just recently with an online two-day sale, I scored five shirts, two pairs of shorts and a bathing suit, with shipping and taxes for $49.00. With these pieces alone I made 10 outfits as all shirts match the two different style shorts. Given how little time I actually have in my day, online shopping for kids clothes is a huge blessing. The sizing for her is almost always bang-on and with easy in-store returns if there is a problem it’s a perfect choice.
Obviously if you live in a place that experiences four seasons you’ll need multiple wardrobes but that doesn’t mean you need to go out a buy full wardrobes every season. Buy pieces that can be used through multiple seasons. For instance we usually buy t-shirts for Maria and during winter months layer them with a few cheap long sleeve shirts underneath or top with a sweater rather than buying all-new long-sleeve shirts. The sweaters are usually cardigan styles which look cute over just about anything and can be used in almost all seasons.
Kids Don’t Need a Billion Shoes Options!
I get that you want to buy your kid 2573 pairs of shoes, they’re super cute but it’s a complete waste of money. Maria has at any given time: one pair of sneakers, rainboots, snowboots and summer sandals. The sandals we buy are usually multi-use with good grip and easy for her to get on and off. I don’t spend a lot of money on footwear as kids are tough on them! The most I’d honesty spend is probably about $20. Her snowboots were an end of season sale for $15, sneakers were about the same and her new summer sandals were $18. We also bought her a cheap pair of knock-off croc style shoes for $5 which will work for the beach or send to daycare on days I know they’ll be playing in the sprinkler or something.
It is so easy to go nuts dressing kids, both boys and girls have so many sweet clothing options but if you’re practical about it, as well as savvy you can dress you kid in style without breaking the bank!