Family Money Saving Tips

How to Save Money on Kids’ Clothes

How to Save Money on Kids’ Clothes
Written by Irina Vasilescu

Whether you have one child, two, three or more, you would realize early on that raising kids is an expensive feat. According to the US Department of Agriculture, a family with middle-range income spent more than $240,000 on child-rearing expenses over a period of 18 years.

This includes expenses for food, shelter, education, child care, clothing and other necessities. If you’re a one-kid family, you probably would not mind spending that much on your son or daughter. But what if you have two or more kids? There are actually some money-saving tips that you can keep in mind if you would like to cut back on one specific aspect of child-rearing: buying clothes.

Out of all the expenses involved in raising kids, buying clothes make up about 6% of the total amount. Depending on whether you are buying branded clothes or if you are taking the smart route in shopping for cheaper brands, this seemingly small percentage can still range from $800 to $1,800 per year.

In order to keep the cost of clothing for kids under control, you do need to implement money-saving tips when going shopping. Read on to find out how you can cut back on clothes buying expenses when raising kids – from infants and toddlers to young kids and teenagers.

For Infants and Toddlers

The number one thing that you need to keep in mind when buying clothes for infants and toddlers is that they grow up so fast. If you’re a first-time parent, you might go overboard in buying clothes for your yet-unborn child even before you confirm its gender.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being excited about your child’s birth, but you don’t need to stock up on baby clothes and end up paying more than necessary.

Infants and toddlers really do grow up so fast, so much so that four-piece set of onesies you bought on sale which is a great fit today can be outgrown by your son or daughter in a matter of weeks. If you don’t have nieces or nephews to hand over these clothes to, any excess garments would just be wasted.

Here are a few more ways on how you can save money on clothes for infants and toddlers:

Shop baby neutral clothing

As mentioned earlier, first-time parents can actually go a bit overboard in buying clothes for their yet-unborn kids. You don’t want your excitement for the birth of your child to be hampered, but you can exercise a bit of control as well. Purchase clothes which are gender-neutral, especially if you want to be surprised with the gender of the child upon birth. This is an easy feat for infants who can wear onesies of different colors.

Whether you have a boy or a girl, gender-neutral clothes can be worn and these items include tops, pajamas, raincoats, sweaters and pants. White is the safest color that you can buy along with yellow, light blue, pale pink and other pastel colors.

Don’t spend lots of money on clothes or shoes simply because they’re cute!

When you go shopping at the kids’ clothes section at a mall, there are lots of items that will simply get you to say “Awww”. No matter how cute you find a pair of shoes or a girl’s outfit, there’s no reason for you to say that you absolutely must buy them. Always think of your budget. If possible, look for similar items which are on the lower end of the price spectrum.

When purchasing pairs of shoes, do not spend a lot on dozens of pairs because your kids can easily outgrow them. A couple of pairs of sneakers, a pair of winter boots and a couple of casual sandals should be enough for girls. Simply mix and match their shoes with the outfit and by the time the shoes are worn out, they would have already been outgrown by your child.

Look for discount retailers

In the US, there are plenty of stores which are considered as discount retailers, and will give you great deals on clothes. Some of these retail outlets include Kmart, Walmart, Target and T.J. Maxx.

If you know where to look, you might even buy some great finds at upscale stores with designer brands – but without having to pay as much. Infants and toddlers do not really care that much about brands, although finding ones at discounted rates would not hurt. Otherwise, you can find plenty of cheap yet quality clothes for infants and toddlers at these stores.

During winter, use your kid’s old clothes for layering and bundling up

Your toddler may have already outgrown his or her clothes from infancy, but it does not mean that you cannot use them anymore. Those onesies which still fit can be altered and turned into more grown-up overalls. Simply cut the foot part of the garment and they can be worn again.

During winter, you can also use your child’s old clothes for layering and bundling them up, especially when going out.

For Young Kids

Your toddler will eventually grow into a young kid, and here are the top five ways on how you can save money when buying clothes for them:

Buy play clothes

For parents who have kids who are already attending school, the number one thing that they need to remember is that this is the age when they are at their most active. As such, the knees, backs, elbows and hems of their clothes would be treated roughly when used for playing.

It’s a good idea to purchase play clothes for them so that no matter how much energy they spend on playing, decent clothes will not be given a rough treatment.

Rent clothes for special occasions

If your son is invited to be the ring bearer to your baby sister’s wedding, he would need a little suit. Or, your little girl could be asked to be the queen in a school play. For fancy clothes which you know would only be worn once or twice, it is more practical to rent than buy.

Encourage your kids to develop their own style

Being a young kid is that age when your son or daughter would start developing their own sense of style. When going clothes shopping, encourage them to choose items which are within your budget. If they already have a complete wardrobe, you can ask them to put together an outfit for the day.

Buy clothes which are one size up

Young kids also grow up a bit too fast so if you want to save on clothes, purchase ones which are one size up. Make sure to get ones which are made from good quality materials so that they can last through several washings.

It’s also a good idea to purchase clothes which are one season in advance. What does this mean? Let’s say that your child needs swimsuits or cool clothes for the summer. Buying them during the start of the summer months will mean higher prices. However, if you will purchase summer clothes during spring or right at the end of the summer season as a stock for the next year, the prices will definitely drop.

Look for consignment sales

Consignment sales are events which last for a weekend or an entire week. This is an event when parents are invited to sell their own kid’s gently-used clothes, toys, accessories and other items to fellow parents. If you have two, three or more kids, consignment sales are a great way to buy a relatively new toy for each child without having to pay as much as you would when shopping at a mall.

If you are a parent who has accumulated lots of stuff for your kids while they are growing up, sort through the pile and look for items that you can sell at consignment events. This is a great way to add to your clothes-buying budget.

For Teenagers

Lastly, how can you save money when buying clothes for your teenage kids? This is the age when they are more conscious about style, brands and buying designer items from cool stores. If you’re an average-earning family, this is something that you can ill afford.

So how can you buy clothes for teenagers without sacrificing their coolness factor? Similar to how you would save money on your own clothes, shop for designer items only when they go on sale.

Check out the stores of discount retailers or go to consignment events for designer jeans. You can even ask your kids to chip in.

If your daughter is obsessed with buying designer brands or bags, have her work for it by giving her more responsibilities in the house. Assign chores which you would otherwise be paying for, and make your teen responsible for buying items which are not a necessity, but are considered a luxury.

By following these tips, you can significantly cut back on the money that you are paying for the clothes of your precious kids.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our money-saving and DIY expert and also the editor-in-chief as she's always on the lookout for the latest online deals.


  • Great tips! Although I am not yet a parent, I am already an aunt and one of those people who want spoil their nieces with clothes. And ofcourse I know how much they will cost me so I tried learning crochet and knitting. I think somehow, this will be less expensive with a personal touch and made with care. I can just buy bulk yarn and even if they outgrow their clothes, I can just unravel their old ones and reuse the yarn for another project or clothes that they may like. Anyway, your tips are actually great and we really have to get over the “cute” factor of baby clothes.

  • Love the input! I have an expected baby underway in about 3 months! (so excited!) and a lot of these tips have helped broaden the horizons so far. I have started buying really cheap clothing at some clearance racks at Target ( believe it or not, I found an extremely cheap top for $1.60 (my luck!). I have also gone by this interested discount retailer called Dirt Cheap. They may not be throughout all of America but they are here in Fort Lauderdale. Also I have been doing a lot of my cheap online shopping at this site called marina22. Maybe you should do an article that discusses the many physical & ecommerce sites where you can buy cheap clothing since you have such an eye for a bargain.

  • My two favorite places are Once Upon a Child and Plato’s closet. They have stories up and down the west coast, and provide high-quality name brand used clothing. It’s not such a big deal for your little ones, but as they get older it never hurts to boost their self esteem with clothing that makes them feel or look special.

  • I’m so glad to see that people are finding cheaper ways to care for their children. Kids clothes are so very expensive — and you spend all this money on an outfit they will only wear a few times because small kids grow so fast you hardly get enough wear out of the item to equal the value you paid for it. Clothing consignment is definitely a wonderful thing — especially if you have multiple children. It’s a great way to save a bit of extra money to a lot to other necessary expenses.

  • I have never thought about renting children’s clothes, but seriously…it makes so much sense! When they are a certain age they grow at such an alarming rate, I’ve often had to purchase new pants for three or four months in a row! I also know what for teenagers, Platos closet is a new phenomenon for finding ‘cool’ clothes at a discounted price. Platos will also buy your old, hip, and gently used clothes off of you. Ideal for those teenagers that grow 4 inches in 6 months…they can essentially ‘trade’ old clothes for new ones.

  • Great advice! It’s so hard not to melt in front of all the adorable baby shoes and clothing from the boutiques! It’s always a rip-off, but darn, I never saw something cuter…! My solution: knitting. There are tons of available cute patterns for kids, and since it’s for babies, it knits up super quick and costs less in term of yardage (whereas actual clothes from stores will be MORE expensive, even if there is less fabric!)

    I have also no problem with buying used… At first, I thought I would keep the same rules as for buying used for myself: no underwear and no shoes. But kids really use up their shoes super fast… So either the used shoes in the thrift shops are almost like new, or it does not really matter because in the two weeks the kid have it, they destroy it complete!

    These kids burn through wardrobes faster than a fashion new season…!

  • Infants and toddlers don’t realize how expensive or cheap their clothing is. What they want is protection from cold. It is parents who get thrilled at the sight of their loved ones and love to drape them with expensive costumes. It’s fine as long as it doesn’t hurt the pocket. But, if it does, then they need to think.

Leave a Reply