When I became a mother, I did so with bang by having twins first, so the expenses were intense immediately.
We had two cribs, a double stroller, two car seats, and twice the amount of diapers and clothes to buy.
And as a family with little income at the time that was rough.
Over the last five years we’ve learned a lot about what kids really need, and how to better afford the growing costs that multiple children bring (as we have three children now and another on the way).
When it comes to children’s clothes, we’ve learned several tricks on how to save money on kids clothes.
One of the absolute best tips I have for affording lots of kids clothes is to stop caring about dressing your kids to the nines in awesome, expensive, top of the line name brands, and go with clothing brands that work, that are functional, that mix and match, that are easy to wear, easy to clean, easy to be a kid in.
Because, in the first year alone kids will only wear an outfit a handful of times given how quickly they grow out of one size and into the next!
Because, when it comes to clothing multiple children, you really need to get the biggest bang out of your buck!
That’s why the following tips should be adhered to when it comes to saving money on kids clothes:
7 Tips Worth Embracing to Save Money on Kids Clothes
1. If someone offers you kids clothes, take them.
If they smell, wash them first. (I recommend THIS laundry additive for removing odors – use code FAGANS15 to take 15% off your order).
If they are holey, fix them or toss them.
If they have a character/phrase on it that you can’t stand, donate them somewhere else.
If they have stains try to remove them (here’s how to remove baby poop stains from clothes) or just ignore them unless they are terribly noticeable, then toss them or pass them on to someone else.
If they are outdated, by like a decade or more, enjoy the “vintage” style, and put them on your kid.
If they are faded, wear them anyway.
Hand-me-downs are not perfect, and sometimes they aren’t our first choice in what we would buy our own children, but they are FREE.
And depending on the age of your child, your child could be going through multiple outfits a day, so who cares if the shirt already has a stain, or there’s a small hole in the knee already? Your child won’t wear them for long, and they are FREE.
Remember, try not to look the gift horse in the mouth.
2. Buy Secondhand.
Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Buy Nothing groups, Facebook mom groups, Facebook Buy/Sell groups, yard sales, ebay, Swap.com, consignment sales, Goodwill, Once Upon a Child, Kid to Kid, and other local thrift stores can be goldmines when it comes to scoring dozens of clothing items for practically nothing, and sometimes even have the items in crisp, like-new conditions.
I love it when you use up what is already out there rather than contribute to more textile waste and overconsumption.
3. Buy Cheap Kids Clothes
If you shop clearance racks and use coupons, you can sometimes get brand new clothing items for the exact same price you would for secondhand, but then have brand new clothes.
That’s why the Garanmials brand from Walmart is a great way to stretch your clothing budget for multiple kids. The Garanmials brand outfits children from newborn to 5T sizes in great clothes for so much less. They are quality clothes at a great low price.
We also often pick up cheap kid clothes from Sam’s Club including jackets, coats, and pajamas.
Or you can scour clearance rack clothes, trying not to be too picky, and often thinking ahead.
If it’s a Thanksgiving T-shirt and it is now January 1, buy it for next year, or just have your child rock it now because it doesn’t matter. Turkeys are cute year round right?
Again, if your child is going through multiple clothing changes a day, it’s nice to have extra clothes on hand. Or just put the shirt on them on a day you don’t leave the house.
Kids just need clothes, right?
Other great stores that have everyday affordable kids clothes and great clearance discounts (which we love to shop at) are:
I have also enjoyed the items we received in our KidPik box and they aren’t too expensive.
4. Keep Clothes for the Next Kid.
If you plan on having multiple children, it is wise to hold onto clothes from your older children to hand down to your future children. Then there is no need to rebuy an entire collection of clothes when you’ve already clothed a same-gendered child just a few years before.
And if they are born around the same time of the year, it will greatly decrease your future clothes buying needs for your new baby.
5. Borrow or Swap Kids Clothes with a Friend.
Not done having kids? And neither is your friend? But your kids are at different ages or genders?
Think about borrowing or swapping clothes.
If your friend has an older son and you are having a new baby boy, and you have an older daughter and they are expecting a girl, think about swapping all those baby clothes you’re keeping in storage from your first child, but won’t be using still for years.
Why limit their use when someone else could benefit?
If you want them back, just mark the tags with your initials.
6. Opt for the Bigger Size Every Time
While this tip doesn’t work as well for diapers (and I would argue you should opt for the smallest size that works for your child as long as possible in order to save money on diapers), when it comes to clothes and shoes, buy big.
Kids grow faster than you think they will, and buying bigger clothes just guarantees they will get more use out of the clothing items, because it’s okay for children to wear big and baggy clothes. Plus, many pants for toddlers now come with those elastic adjustable waistbands so they can wear them for months if they are long enough (and you can roll up the bottom of the pants, or the the length of the sleeves). But, you cannot squeeze babies into those small outfits, and they start to look silly being so tight and short.
*Bonus Tip: Ignore the sizes on the label and have your child keep wearing clothes as long as possible. We’ve been surprised that certain tops and bottoms have lasted our children for years! We’ve even had dresses for our girls that we let them keep wearing as shirts when they got too short (we have tall skinny kids). And capri pants that turned into shorts eventually but still fit at the waist.
7. Don’t Buy Pajamas
I’ve said it before: pajamas are totally overrated. Pajamas are often more expensive than other clothing items, the footed part is too small (at least for my long footed children) and start to wear holes almost immediately, and no one ever seems them outside of the home (or at least very rarely, right?) and they are only worn for a few hours to sleep in.
You can dual-purpose your kid’s clothes if they have sweatpants, T-Shirts, Onesies, leggings, or otherwise loose, comfortable clothing that will keep them warm through the night instead, that will cost less to purchase, and can also be worn outside the home.
Something we’ve done is buy large Halloween costumes, and have them wear them to bed for a few months until they outgrow them. That way we get longer use out of those Halloween costumes (and when our kids were toddlers we bought warm fuzzy onesie-type costumes) that are also ridiculously expensive.
What is you biggest secret to saving money on clothes for multiple children? Do you care what your young children wear? Or do you just embrace it?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Garanimals. The opinions and text are all mine.