Kiddley reader Jen from Semantically Driven submitted her tips for dressing your kids a tight budget. We decided to turn her ideas into topics for a series which has been running over the last few weeks.
In the first week we looked at Hand-me-downs while last week we had lots of great pointers from Jen and other Kiddley readers on buying second hand kids’ clothes. Next week’s article will be about buying and selling kids’ clothes on Ebay and finally making clothes for your kids… If you are interested in submitting your own tips on these future topics please do so. If you have any tips for this week or the first two weeks’ topics please leave them in the comments.
This week we are looking at (one of my personal favourites) Buying clothes on sale at the end of a season.
“There are always sales on at department stores and other shops and you can browse through to find clothing for the next season. Obviously you’ll have to guess what size your child will be but that’s usually fairly easy to gauge.”
Personally I love a good excuse to gather huge amounts of clothing in my arms in a department store. Shopping for next year in a size up is something I love to do. As with any sale there often isn’t too much left that will really WOW you or your young clothes horse, but I stick to really cheap, cheap, basic pieces in natural fibres (t-shirts, socks, jeans, shirts and so on) which they must over-stock on and I usually come out feeling satiated by some totally guilt free spending. I also love to pack all the purchases into plastic storage containers and then rediscover them the following year.
My favourite experience was hunting through a Target store in a big country town. It became clear to me that my “city mouse” taste is pretty different from the rural shoppers that had already been through so I found mountains of good stuff including gorgeous things I had eyed off months before in the city at full price and here they were, totally reduced ($2 for a beautiful dress? Heaven!). Perhaps my city taste vs. country taste is a bit of a furphy and it was just a wonderful shopping day for me, but if not, I wonder if this same idea would work for people from the country coming in to the city stores? I am guessing that the city sales are never going to be as good as the country sales.
Another thing I do when I am shopping at sales is that I keep in mind that while the item might be incredibly boring (but cheap!) as it is (plain overalls, plain t-shirt, plain pair of basic pants and so on) I can add embellishments, transfers or appliques to turn something very dull into something quite unique. Stay tuned to our fifth part in this series “Making clothes for kids” in a couple of week’s time for some more ideas in this area.
Good things about buying kids’ clothes at sales: Brand new, basic clothes for sometimes about the same prices as thrift store finds.
Bad things about buying kids’ clothes at sales: Sales are usually busy and almost the worst place on earth to take a child. The number of frantic, clothes flinging people is overwhelming and I am often flabbergasted by how rude and mercenary some shoppers in children’s boutiques suddenly become in the heat of the moment. Most times I decide that finding that extra special child’s poncho on sale for a few measly dollars less is not worth the trouble and I will wait until the sale has been on for a few days or a week. This often means sorting through the leftovers but prices will usually be even further reduced.
Another thing is that sale prices are sometimes pretty pathetic and only a few dollars off the original price. Make sure you are thinking clearly and are not just in a frenzied-sales-mindset which is so easy to get into. Use the tip from last week of asking yourself if your child really needs the piece of clothing and also perhaps ask yourself if you would pay twice the price for it anyway.
The only other negative thing about sale shopping for the following year that comes to mind is that your child will be wearing last season / year’s clothes. Probably not really a major concern for thrifty shoppers but I know that it does matter to some and maybe to those who have picky pre-teens.
“I stock up on basics, like t-shirts, cardigans, shoes, socks, and leggings at the end of the season sales. I buy the same thing in several sizes ahead and various colors. When something is outgrown, I just go to the closet to get the next size.”
“A lot of the kids boutiques give discounts when you buy more than a set number of items at the end of season sales. There’s one that gives 75% off their designer wear when you buy 8 pieces or more at the end of the season. I grab what fits my boys (or will fit my boys) and make up the eight with stuff I can sell on ebay. It works out so that I don’t pay anything for the stuff for my kids because I’ve made up the difference selling the other pieces.”