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Save Money Buying Kids' Clothes




Children outgrow their clothes rather quickly. What’s a parent to do? Go shopping, of course. Before you spend a small fortune on clothes, consider these money saving tips.

Get the family on board. Talk with your children about your budget. Explain that you have a limited amount of money. Together go through the dressers and closets and discuss what they need, want and what’s most important to them. Be firm on your budget, but flexible on how it’s spent.

Sell What You Don’t Need. While you’re going through the closet, pull out items that your child no longer wears or likes. Pass these on to a younger sibling or sell them at a garage sale, a consignment shop or on eBay. Add the proceeds to increase the clothing budget, a great motivation for a child to weed his wardrobe.

Buy Used. You can find gently used, second-hand clothes. Check out yard sales, thrift stores, consignment stores and eBay for good deals. If you’re patient, you’ll be able to find many items on your kids’ list. Ask your friends if they shop this way and learn their techniques or work with them. It’s fun to have a partner in this adventure. For tips, see www.ehow.com.

Buy Online. Some Internet vendors regularly offer reduced or free shipping. On www.ebates.com, a rebate program gives you cash back on all purchases. Check their database of more than 1,000 online stores before you shop. At www.retailmenot.com you’ll find a database of online coupon codes that can be redeemed when you make an Internet purchase. Websites such as www.oldnavy.com and www.landsend.com regularly host great clearance sales and specials, and if you need to return something, you can do it at a local store. (Lands End purchases can be returned at Sears.)

Buy On Sale/Clearance. Stores sometimes reduce prices after items have been on the rack a mere six weeks. Check out a store’s clearance section before you look at the newest arrivals. Clothing stores often feature special deals. Stick to your shopping list and don’t be swayed by “bargains” you don’t need.

Buy Classic. Purchasing trendy clothing doesn’t generally get the biggest bang for your buck. Discuss this with your kids and do some negotiating. Consider building a wardrobe of basics, such as jeans, tennis shoes and shirts, and using what’s left to buy hip clothes and accessories.

Buy Less. Chances are your kids don’t really need all that they have. Let’s teach our kids that excess is not best. Younger children don’t need more than 6 outfits if you do regular laundry. Older children may want more variety. If that’s the case, lean toward fashions that mix and match so they can make more combinations.

It won’t be too long before your children are responsible for the shirts on their backs and many other bills. Teach them now to “act your wage.”

Jessica Fisher is a freelance writer.

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