Okay, I love shopping at Carter’s Outlet, Baby Gap Outlet, Gymboree, and of course, OshKosh! However, as the number of children in our household grows, so does our family clothing budget! Here’s a different way to look at stocking your children’s closets: shop at secondhand stores and shop year-round! Lord knows I enjoy walking into Babies “R” Us and looking at the adorable toddler outfits that I would wear myself if they came in my size. But I simply can no longer afford to pay even the $15 clearance price on some outfits—much less the original $30!  With my first child, I had the “have to have new” syndrome. I felt like I would be cheating her if I dressed her in used clothing. Well I’m WAY over that now!  The clothes I find at secondhand stores look new, feel new and last just as long as items I would find at any other store. So here’s how to really save and get a huge variety in your little one’s wardrobe.

1. Get to know your thrift stores

Know when they put out their children’s items and when they have sales. If you aren’t sure what thrifts shops are in your town and surrounding areas, try looking them up on TheThriftShopper. They have a pretty extensive list there based on your zip code, so make sure you’re well aware of the thrift shops in your local area. We live in a small town and have a hospice store here, but the rest of the secondhand stores benefit smaller local charities.
  • Know when they put out clothes: One of our stores donates to our local food bank and puts out kids’ clothes every Tuesday. Also, every first week of the month is 50% off everything. So, when do I make sure to be there? The first Wednesday of the month!  Knowing when your local thrift shops put out clothes gives you an advantage.
  • Stack the discounts: Hospice now has a loyalty rewards card, so you can get points for each dollar you spend! When it’s filled, you get a discount off your next purchase. Combine that discount with a sale on kids’ clothes and you’re golden! At Goodwill, there’s usually a different special running every day on certain colored tags. I’ve found that the specials and sales can vary by location, so make sure you know what your local Goodwill has to offer!

2. Get out there, and go often

If I had my way, I’d be at each of our local thrift stores every week, but I simply don’t have time for it. I do make sure I go often, however. Things change very quickly at thrift stores, so if you see an awesome buy, then grab it right away!

3.  Shop for future seasons

Here’s the big one. I learned this the hard way when my oldest was almost two. It was the start of winter and just starting to get cold, and all she had were summer clothes. I went to the outlets and had a blast shopping but spent way too much money. But what was I gonna do? She needed clothes! How do you avoid this? When you shop during the summer months, look for fall and winter items. Heck, shop for clothes for next summer! Already this summer, I’ve picked up some adorable pieces for next winter at $.50 each!
So, learn when things will be on sale, and get to the thrift stores as often as possible. Grab anything you like in larger sizes for future seasons. Keep those coupons for your favorite children’s clothing stores and use them during a sale, but don’t go and purchase everything they need there—you’ll spend so much more than necessary! Instead, every week or two, head to your local thrift shops and grab all the cute and unique pieces that they have to offer there!  Then, you can fill what’s missing from their wardrobe by heading to the outlets (with your coupons, of course!)
This is a guest post by Angie from Pine Grove, CA.
How to Properly Purchase Kids' Clothes at Thrift Shops