According to a recent study, it will cost approximately $226,920 to raise a child born in 2010 to the age of 18. Yes, that sounds like a lot of money, but I can't say that I'm surprised. After all, somebody has to pay to keep today's youth in their Uggs and iPads.
I'll admit it, over the years I too have spent ridiculous amounts of money buying things that my kids don't really need. For me, one of my largest expenses has been children's clothing, mostly because I'm addicted to those adorable miniature outfits from Baby Gap. But as my kids have grown older (and my clothing budget has grown smaller), I've learned that it actually isn't difficult to find stylish, good-quality clothes without spending a small forrtune.
How to Dress Your Kids for Less
There are many simple ways to save money when you're shopping for children's clothes. A few of my favorite tips include:
1. Visit resale and consignment shops.
Gently-used kid's clothing usually costs a fraction of the price of new. And many resale and consignment shops will pay cash for the clothes your kids no longer wear (cash that you can use to cover the cost of any new items you may purchase).
2. Shop the outlet stores.
If you like a certain name brand like Gap or Gymboree, look to see if there is an outlet store in your area. Yes, technically they carry last season's styles, but they're still the same brands you love.
3. Ask for hand-me-downs.
Many parents keep clothes in the back of the closet long after they've been outgrown. If you know someone with a child a little older than yours, see if they're willing to pass clothes along.
4. Use gift cards wisely.
When friends and family ask what they can get your children as gifts, suggest a gift card to a clothing store. It may not be a "fun" birthday present, but it is a practical one. Also remember that you can usually return any unwanted gifts you receive in exchange for store credit, and then use this credit to purchase clothes.
5. Do your homework.
6. Share your email address.
Yes, it's annoying to receive all those store promotions, but it is also a good way to receive special discounts. Consider setting up a separate email account specifically for this purpose.
7. Host a clothing swap.
Gather a group of local moms who have clothes they want to swap, then let the sharing begin. You can acquire new clothes while getting rid of your old ones all at the same time!
8. Shop end-of-season sales.
Buy seasonal apparel at the end of the season when it's on final clearance, instead of at the beginning of the season when it costs full price.
9. Head to the clearance rack.
You can always find great deals on the clearance rack. And if the item you want isn't on clearance yet, wait. There's no reason to full price for something that will cost half as much in a week.
10. Get a store credit card.
Nobody needs yet another card in their wallet, but many retailers like Target and Kohls offer discounts when you make purchases with their store cards. The trick? Pay with your card, and then immediately head to customer service to pay off the balance in cash in order to avoid interest and late fees.
How do you save money on children's clothing? Do you frequently find yourself spending more than you should?