My Five Favorite Ways to get Children’s Clothes (a.k.a. How I Clothe My Kids for Little to No Money)

After the heaviness of recent posts on depression and grieving (not including the kindle article, that was supposed to be humor), I figured it was high time to move on to something light and fluffy around here.  Thus I present these two cuties:


Although upon further reflection of my extensive experience carrying them around, I must say they are neither light nor fluffy.

Here they are dressed in their Sunday best.  These days I hear so many people and news articles commenting on how expensive kids are.  In many regards they are right, but there are always strategies for how to cut costs, it just takes some creativity.

For me, I like to start from a principle of only having as many items of clothes as my kids could reasonably wear in two weeks (with extra bottoms factored in for when we are potty training).  In addition to limiting purchasing, this also gives the added benefit of incentive to do laundry every 7-10 days to stay on top of things!  I also limit each kid to around three pairs of shoes: sandals/winter boots, sneakers, dress shoes.

Using these guidelines as a starting point I make a list of how many and what types of items my kids will need.  For example Sammy’s summer wardrobe could consist of something like: 8- 10 short sleeve shirts/ polos, 2 button down dress shirts, other dressy clothes like vests, bow-ties, suit jacket, 2 long sleeve shirts, 7 shorts, 10 pants, swimsuit, light jacket, sandals, sneakers, and dress shoes.  All of the bottoms more or less co-ordinate with all of the tops so that he can get himself dressed without looking too . . . creative.

Here I present my five favorite ways to clothe my kids for little to no money:

1. Gifts/ Hand-Me-Downs – So it goes without saying that when trying to save money on children’s clothing the best place to start is free.   We have been fortunate to have friends who have passed on a lot of really good quality hand-me-downs.  I make note of what we need in my home management binder so that I can refer to it, instead of having to climb up to the attic every time I need to see if we need any size nine month boys jeans, for example.

2.  Yard Sales- These have the lowest prices for clothes, but can be hit and miss.  You can get a bunch of Gymboree clothes in great condition for 50 cents a piece, or you can invest a lot of time running around to different sales and find nothing.  If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt (and are looking for a bunch of other things, like housewares) this route is worth while, if you don’t then skip it.  This approach is great for getting clothes and shoes for upcoming seasons to fill in the gaps from your hand-me-downs.

3. Thrift/ Consignment Stores- Thrift stores usually have cheaper prices, but consignment stores usually have better quality.  In general I favor consignment, but I do a bit of both.

4. ThredUp-  Basically an online consignment store.  I have gotten both of my kids new swimsuits with tags for less than 10 bucks with shipping.  The best part?  They offer referral credit!  If you click on this link you can get ten dollars to do a little shopping of your own.  In the interest of full disclosure, if you use this link and end up getting something with the credit, I also get $10.  I love their service enough that I would send referral links even without the credit.  It makes me feel like some big philanthropist giving away “free” money.  Everybody gets $10!

5. Retail Stores- My least favorite option, not just because it is usually the most expensive, but because for me it usually involves shopping with kids *shudders at thought.*  Also, I have the misfortune of living in a town where the only retail option I like is Target, though they do have cute kids clothes.  While you can get brand new clothes on huge clearance with retail (I have friends who are seriously good at it) I personally don’t care for this option as it often requires some advanced planning around sale events.  I prefer going with options where I know I can find like new clothes for at least 60% off all the time, no need to plan around sales.


My handsome little man: dress shirt and pants were gifts; seersucker suit jacket- 50c at a yard sale; Calvin Klein vest and dress shoes- $5 from Consignment Store; Bowtie- Gymboree bought new for $3. Total spent on outfit: $8.50. Sweet!

Jenny wrote a great post recently in which she talked about how she purged her kids wardrobes when she “Kondoed” her house.  She has been loving this system and I believe using less clothes per kid than I do.

Also Kendra wrote this post last month where she showed her Tween girl’s capsule wardrobe.  This wardrobe includes more pieces than I do and is for an older child, so you can see a different approach.  It made me look forward to mommy daughter shopping trips when Ana gets older.

Thats all for today, linking up with the lovely Jenna at, for 5 Favorites!


What are your favorite tips for clothing your kids on the cheap?  Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “My Five Favorite Ways to get Children’s Clothes (a.k.a. How I Clothe My Kids for Little to No Money)

  1. Rachel

    So many great tips! I love your idea of keeping a notebook with their clothing inventory. I just scored a beautiful Easter dress for Ellie for next year for $4 at a yard sale.


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