Having both a 5-year-old and a newborn (a girl and a boy), I’ve done my fair share of buying … and selling what no longer fits.
We know how fast they grow, so shelling out tons of cash to keep them clothed—especially as the seasons change—can present a budgetary challenge.
With that in mind, here are nine of my best tips for keeping your kids in threads and your bank account plump, tried and tested by a “real” mom!
1. Buy Gender Neutral
Exactly as it sounds, buying gender-neutral clothing means that your son and daughter (or even future ones) can share the same duds. For example, babies can wear onesies in neutral colors like yellow or navy. Kids can share items like pajama pants, winter gear, raincoats, tennis shoes and even sweaters. My 5-month-old son has a seriously substantial onesie collection because friends and family smartly purchased neutral options the first time around with my 5-year-old daughter.
2. Buy (Gently) Used
It’s simple, yes, but it’s amazing how inexpensive perfectly good secondhand clothing can be. Many parents have large quantities of clothes to unload. Since kids grow so quickly, used kids’ clothes are likelier to be better quality and less worn than adults’—and new sites catering to families make the search easier. A few good places to look:
- SwapBabyGoods: This site allows parents to buy, sell and swap their kids’ outgrown clothing, toys and accessories. Once you complete the free registration process, you list your goods—either noting the cash price you’d like for an item or what you’d want in return. Users can then connect with each other through the site to hammer out a sale or swap deal on their own.
- eBay: You can often score brand-new clothing here, and some items even have tags. Loads of sellers troll outlets and resell on the site at very reasonable prices—and those selling used pieces often take very good care of them. To be a savvy bidder, look for items that say NWT, which means “new with tags” and NWOT, or “new without tags,” and consider steering clear of items in “play condition,” which means the clothing has marks and/or shows signs of wear. For more advice on how to master eBay, click here.
- Local parents listserv: Most major cities offer an online parents group that serves young families looking for advice, social outings, local tips or to exchange outgrown clothing and toys. Just search “[your city], online parents group” and see what comes up. Parents often offer to sell individual pieces or bags/boxes of clothing by size and season (for example, you might find “a box of winter clothes for boys’ size medium”). You could be lucky enough to scoop up an entire seasonal wardrobe for anywhere from $20 to $40 … total.