Parents often note that kids seem to grow like weeds. Pants that once reached to the tops of a youngster’s feet quickly become too short, while once-loose shirts may soon become too snug. Many parents find themselves regularly in children’s clothing departments stocking up on the basics, which can put quite a dent in already stretched-thin budgets.
Although children’s wardrobes are added to at various times of the year, the bulk of shopping occurs just before the school year begins. Though clothing can be expensive, families need not bust their budgets when shopping for kids’ clothing. By shopping smart and concentrating on fashion staples, it’s easier to stretch money further.
* Spread out purchases. Shopping early allows parents to make the most of sales. Warm weather clothing generally goes on sale in July to make room for new fall lines. Considering the first few months of school still may be warm, short-sleeved shirts will still have utility and are generally less expensive than sweaters and sweatshirts.
Staggering purchases also enables parents to develop a clothing allowance each and every month instead of having one large bill at a certain point in the year. Parents can even add to their children’s wardrobes during the holiday season, when clothes tend to get reduced again for holiday sales.
* Don’t discount hand-me-downs. It’s trendy to recycle clothing and also to be environmentally conscious by putting items to good use again and again. Aside from you and your wallet, no one will know if your child is wearing a secondhand pair of pants or a brand new pair. Many school moms are anxious to swap clothing with others to lessen their own financial burdens with children’s clothing. Start a clothing swap with a group of friends, and you may find you have more than you need in the way of clothes for the kids.
* Take stock of what you already have. How many times have you run out to the grocery store for a missing ingredient only to find that very item buried at the back of the pantry? The same thing happens with kids’ clothes. Before taking kids clothes shopping, take inventory of their closets. Have little ones try on clothes to see which items still fit and which can be discarded or donated. Make a list of the items you need to cut down on impulse spending at the store.
* Invest in the right high-quality pieces. Spending a fortune for a trendy pair of pants that may end up getting ruined on the playground is not the best way to shop for kids’ clothing. However, investing in a quality pair of shoes that will last much of the year is a good investment. Know when to splurge and when it’s okay to shop at the discount store.
* Stock up on staples. A straight-leg cut of jeans, some solid colored polo shirts and an A-line dress or skirt are some classic foundation pieces for children’s wardrobes. Such items tend to last longer than trendy items that may only last a few months before the next trend arrives.
* Learn to layer. Layering items can make pieces look like new by putting them together in different combinations. Layering a summer T-shirt under a fall hoodie gets use out of two different season’s worth of clothes. It also enables kids to be comfortable during unpredictable weather.
* Leave it to the kids. Parents often worry about what other parents will think of their own children’s clothing. Children do not typically worry about such things until their preteen or teenage years. You may spend less money on clothing simply because your child has a few favorite shirts and pants he or she wears over and over. That’s less laundry for you and less money you have to spend on new clothes.