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
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.
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.