When your children are growing at an incredible rate, finding frugal and greener ways to dress them can be challenging and overwhelming. Not only are their bodies growing out of clothing and shoes by the second, it’s expensive. As a parent, it’s truly a joy to see your children coming into their own, discovering their passions and enjoying just being a kid. What isn’t a joy is seeing that the pair of pants you just bought suddenly look like capris on your sprouting child. While children’s clothes can seem less expensive at first, when you’re purchasing and re-purchasing each year to fit your not-so-little one, the costs will add up. We’ve covered helpful tips on how to decrease the number of dangerous chemicals linked to a drop in IQ in your child and what to avoid with school lunches, now try these five tips to save money while you keep those kids in clothes that fit.
Fashion is a billion-dollar industry and arguably the second most polluting business after oil. The fashion industry has a direct impact on the environment in a staggering way. It’s hard to imagine your jeans being a contributor to the acidification of the oceans, but that is the honest truth. The processing of raw materials used in the production of textiles and the vast amount of water used (2,800 liters per single pair of dyed jeans) contributes to greenhouse gasses that go up into the atmosphere, which are causing an accelerated change in our climate beyond what normally happens. In fact, the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global emissions. In addition to emissions, there’s the whole problem of petroleum. Over 50 MILLION tons of polyester was produced in 2015, a product which is derived from the same crude oil that makes your ketchup bottles. And now that we have fast fashion, the problem has gotten worse. Cheap clothes that are quickly discarded and thrown away are intensifying the number of greenhouse gasses going into the atmosphere. Then about 85% of all textiles produced goes into landfills. In this post, we are not necessarily going to tell you to purchase more expensive sustainable clothing, but instead to become more mindful of the waste we are creating. As a parent, being frugal and being green can go hand in hand.
Buy clothes that are a bit too big.
Your mother probably pulled this trick when you were a kid, and now you understand why! Buying clothes that are a little larger than your child is currently will allow them time to grow into them. That extra time for growth will ensure that you’re purchasing less frequently — and that your sanity remains intact.
Find deals wherever possible.
Heading into the store with a plan for exactly what you need will help keep you from overspending. Watch for doorbusters, coupons, and sales on items that you know you’ll need before you head out the door. If you plan in advance and know what your child will likely need for next season, don’t be shy about buying larger sizes on clearance or in the bargain bins. Before you know it, the clothes hanging in the closet will be the perfect fit.
Consider secondhand stores.
Shopping at thrift stores, consignment shops and church sales can be one of the easiest and most affordable ways to find gently used clothes for your kids. While you’ve got to be down for the hunt, it can feel really great to snag a new-to-you, brand name pair of jeans and some tees for your little one at an incredible price. Search your area or check out an online thrift store to find your new favorite place to shop. One platform that can help is thredUP, an online thrift store (with new and upcoming retail locations) that offers an alternative way to shop for maternity, kids and women’s clothing.
Consider consigning or selling items that were barely worn.
Every parent has had a momentary lapse where they bought a sparkly dress or holiday blazer for their child only to realize that, while it looks cute in the photos, it won’t be worn more than once. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get additional value from it. Try consigning at a children’s boutique or selling in an online marketplace to get a little of your money back to put towards more classic and versatile pieces.
Don’t be shy about calling dibs on hand me downs.
Whether your relatives have older kids or you’ve got friends who dress their children well, don’t be afraid to ask for hand me downs. Most parents will gladly start a bag for you to get those clothes out of the house when they no longer fit their own kids. Be sure to pay it forward when you’re through with your kids’ things as well. You know it will be appreciated!
If you’re looking to save money on kids’ clothes, a little planning can go a long way. Once you have a system in place, it will be easy to make smart decisions that keep your children comfortable and in clothes that make them feel their best and fit them properly. After all, our time as parents should be spent enjoying the fun stuff, not stressing about finding new clothes!
Guest Post: Amanda Light is a frugal mom who shares tips for saving money on clothes for the family. She writes for her blog, Prim and Propah, and for thredUP, an online thrift store (with new and upcoming retail locations) that offers an alternative way to shop for maternity, kids and women’s clothing.