Some of you have Facebooked and asked how I keep my kids
pulled together on a teeny-tiny income, so I thought I'd use
this post to share a few of my super-saving secrets (most of which I also use for my own clothes).
I'd liked to have shown more pictures of my boys, but they spent almost everyday this summer playing in the water wearing their board shorts and swim tees from babyGap shown in the picture above.
(Baby Biscotti dress)
The absolute top way I save money on kids clothes is:
#1 Shop off season.
I have so many friends who just feel they cannot do this, because they want their kids to wear all the cute stuff in the stores RIGHT now, and I'm thinking, "OK, I want my kids to wear that too, and they will--next summer." In fact, right now, I already have my kids clothes for next summer sitting in their respective tubs in the shed bought for mere dollars. The clothes they're wearing now, I bought last year, so I'm not under any pressure to buy anything until it's really cheap. The same with fall clothes, sitting in the same tubs. The moment it gets nippy, I'm already prepared with clothes bought last winter.
Perfect example below: Makenzie's Madras dress from babyGap's Holiday Lodge line was hanging on the rack after Christmas the year before for $5!! This dress was originally over $40!
#2 Store Cards
I signed up for store cards at Gap, Gymboree, and Old Navy for one reason. I can use the card (which I only do when I already have the money in the bank) which earns me points towards $20 rewards cards and extra 40% off promos. This really gets you places. For example, I recently walked into babyGap and bought a $54 dollar outfit, $35 dollar dress and $17 sweater, adding up to $116 total. I used the 40% off promo and both my rewards cards and walked out spending only $8! You can't beat that!
(Osh Kosh Knit Dress)
#3 Cashback sites
I think it is absolutely CRAZY to shop online and not go through a cashback site. I know, I know; it sounds too good to be true, but it's absolutely what it sounds like. These sites give you a percentage back on what you buy at thousands of online stores, including EBAY! My favorites are:
You basically go in and sign up, then go to the site and select the store you plan on shopping from and it redirects you, giving you a percentage back on what you buy. Plus, if you recommend friends, you will also get a percentage of what THEY buy.
I usually get a $30 check each month from one of the sites.
Maybe you're thinking, Only $30? I don't know about you, but I can do an insane amount with an extra $30 a month. I could buy Kenzie three more dresses. Get myself seven of my favorite specialty drinks from Starbucks. Order a discounted pair of shoes from Endless (and get a percentage of it back). Buy my husband two new shirts from Hollister. Obtain two new headbands from Anthropologie. You see? Insane. Just for two extra clicks on my computer.
(babyGap and Children's Place)
I buy all of Kenzie's boutique dresses on Ebay. Dresses from lines like Baby Nay, Biscotti, Baby Lulu, and Zara Couture can cost $89 to $139 in a boutique store. If you search these brands on Ebay, you'll find the same dresses for $12-$24 dollars. The bids always go higher right before Christmas and Easter, but generally, you can get them pretty cheap. And I always turn around and sell them on Ebay for a profit when she outgrows them. My friend and I have joked that it would be so interesting to follow the life of a Biscotti dress through all it's owners if there were just way to tag one. =)
(Old Navy Dress)
I know some people are purists and cannot fathom buying anything at an outlet. I, however, am not. My kids only wear their clothes 18 months max, so I figure their clothes are not really a life-time investment. Plus, outlets are a great way to get something you missed out on the year before, especially for babyGap and Gymboree. The outlets are always carrying last year's lines.
(Banana Republic Paisley Dress and Children's Place on Reagan)
I've found that I save GOBS of money buying complete outfits, rather than one piece at a time. It seems like more to spend $30 all at once rather than $7 for just a piece, but more times than not, I would buy something that was "so cute", and it would languish in the closet because they didn't have anything to actually match it. I do this for myself, too. I always buy towards an outfit or something already hanging in my closet, rather than just picking up this or that because it strikes me as pretty at the time. I have a less unloved items and more money in the long run because of #6.
(Old Navy Dress and Shoes)
Wow!! Long post!! I hope some of this information saves you some money in the future. Plus, if you have any handy tips for making your money go the extra mile, I'd loved to hear about them.