As the weather warms up and the kids start their much-anticipated summer vacation from hitting the books, many parents are faced with the expense of buying a summer wardrobe for their children. After all, kids grow fast and the trendy shorts and sandals you purchased last year definitely don’t come close to being a perfect fit a year later. While spending some money to clothe your children this summer is inevitable, it doesn’t have to put a strain on your pocketbook. There are tons of ways to save on your summer clothing bill and make sure that the entire family is looking great.
Summer weather means one thing, particularly in the suburbs: yard sales. They are called by many names: rummage sales, garage sales, moving sales. Whatever you call them, they are a great place to find clothes for growing children. Yard sales are held primarily at people’s homes, but some churches and other non-profit groups gather together to have big ones as well to profit their charities. There are many ways to find good yard sales. Most local newspapers have a listing for people to advertise their various sales. These sales are primarily held on weekends when most people have more time off work, so look for their advertisements from Wednesday through Saturday typically. While most of the time you are only going to find used clothing at yard sales, some times you will run into things that are new with the tags on that they never got around to wearing. Kids grow so fast though that sometimes the used clothes don’t have time to show considerable wear. The greatest part about shopping rummage sales is usually the prices are low and they are oftentimes negotiable. However, you may have to do a considerable amount of shopping around to find what you are looking for. Avid yard sale junkies will tell you the searching is half the fun!
Consignment stores are another good bet for those bargain shoppers. Some consignment stores, like the national chain Once Upon A Child, even specialize in children’s clothing. Consignment clothes generally are in better shape than the yard sale finds, since they are combed through by the store’s staff before put on the racks. Also, consignments will also take your child’s old clothes that they have outgrown and either gives you money or store credit towards future purchases for the chance to sell them in their store. The store credit or profit that you earn coupled with their discounted prices on children’s fashions, is a winning combination for anyone trying to save as much money as possible for summer clothes.
Lastly, if you are unwilling to purchase second-hand clothing for the kiddies, timing your purchases is the best way to save a bundle. Buying summer clothes at the end of the summer or beginning of fall when stores would much rather sell summer fashions at a deeply discounted price than to incur the expense of shipping them back to a warehouse is a great way to save some cash. The only problem with buying children’s clothes this way is that you have to estimate the size you think your child will be the following summer. Growth spurts may end up wasting your money and effort instead of saving you. However, it is a great way to shop all your favorite stores and brands while pinching pennies.
Regardless of whether you buy clothing in a department store or the church rummage sale, make sure that you select versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched with a child’s entire wardrobe. Brand name items that are good quality are also an excellent idea when you buy new or used because they are likely to wear better and stand the test of time or at least the test of a backyard football game.