Having little tiny bodies to dress is one of the funner parts of parenting-wouldn’t you agree? Everything is cuter in miniature sizing.
However, the price tags are sometimes pretty awful. As a new mom I was totally guilty for spending a little too much hard earned money on the most adorable baby clothing, but as I learned the ropes and became a little more
financially savvy, I found that I could snatch the same cute stuff at much fairer pricing. I thought that I would share my tips with all of you in the hopes that you can save some moo-lah in your clothing budget and instead put it towards your super fun family vacation budget, because the amazing high of a vacation will probably stay around longer than those cute Baby Gap Skinnies will (give it a few weeks, your babe will be grown out of them…).
1. Wait For Sales/Coupons
I totally understand that some of you want THIS season’s goodies and you want it now. Here’s the deal. I once added $257 worth of baby clothes to my shopping cart online at Baby Gap. They had just released their Beatrix Potter Spring line, and I just had to have it (or so I thought). Hattie had just started to grow out of all of her baby gifted clothes, so I had recently begun having to shop for her-therefore I was a newbie. I checked out, excitedly and waited for my package to arrive. Two days later I received an email from Baby Gap that said 40% off in-store and online. Vomit. Vomit. Vomit. Sorry, I was busy vomiting. I would have saved $102 if I would have waited. That’s like my electricity bill (okay, it’s never been that low, but you get the picture) or a week’s worth of groceries. Or a tank of diesel in my husband’s truck. I could go on and on. Since that day I have never bought anything at Baby Gap for full price. The same goes for Old Navy. Baby Gap and Old Navy are owned by the same company, Athleta. Old Navy runs a tad bit cheaper than Gap, but both of their lines for babies are super adorable, spot on with trends, and also great quality. I notice that her clothes from these two stores holds up much better than cheaper alternatives, and since I save everything for future sisters and brothers, I’m thankful for that. Sign up on both Old Navy and Gap’s sites to join their email list, and wait to snatch your goods when a sale hits. Just yesterday Gap emailed me that if I used the code TREAT I would get 40% off my online purchase. Also, any order at any time on Gap and Old Navy over $50 ships free. Be careful to note in your coupon codes whether the discount is online only or in-store or both. Many times I will go into the store to size things on Hattie, then go home to order because more colors/sizing is available online.
Another way to save is by waiting for coupons. Gymboree and Crazy 8 send out 20% off your entire purchase coupons quite often in Parents magazine and other avenues like this. J.C. Penny also sends me coupons in the mail often, and have 20-25% off coupons on their site quite often that you can have the associate scan straight from your phone. I would definitely search online for coupons before your shopping trip and print a few out if need be. I like to keep my coupons separated in this.
J.C. Penny’s baker by Ted Baker and Joe Fresh lines for baby is so cute lately! The associates always let me check out separately so that I can use a few coupons when I check out, saving even more money in the long run!
2. Shop Ebay/Amazon
Some of you may be thinking, “Gross, someone else’s stuff?” or “I don’t have time for that”. Well, I can’t help you with either of those arguments, but I can explain to you how I’ve saved some money using this avenue. I’ve encountered a few “gently used” items that once I paid shipping for, I could have bought brand new on sale. Darn. But you live and you learn. In other ways however, I’ve also came across some grand deals as well. Last winter when we were prepping for our New York trip I was literally clicking the “complete purchase” button on Nordstrom’s website when I thought, hmm…I should check Ebay. I was buying Hattie a pair of Uggs, and although they may have seemed like a splurge to some people, I knew from reading around that they would be the only thing that I would need to keep her feet toasty. They were $60 with free shipping at Nordstrom, and I just so happened to find the exact size and style that I wanted on Ebay for $36.00 + $5.75 shipping. They were brand new, still in the box, still with the tags on, and I saved $18.25 for the exact same thing. Baby items like this are steals on Ebay usually because of 2 things. 1. Kids grow out of things so swiftly that at times people forget to actually use something before they grow out of it, or they just completely miss that season in that size. 2. If it has been used it has only probably been worn a couple of times-maybe even just once since babes grow so fast. You have to make sure that you read every possible description of a product, check the cost of shipping (sometimes it doesn’t even pay once you calculate in shipping), check out the seller’s rating (how many stars do they have? How many bad reviews lately?) and see if you can “buy it now” or if you have to bid. Things that I’ve successfully saved a lot of money on have been: Smocked dresses, snow jackets (people pay $110 for these things, use them once, and then sell them), and clothing with the tags still attached, like bathing suits, and dresses). You can use Paypal, which is a super safe way to pay online with Ebay, and it’s actually recommended, so you can feel confident paying for your items.
3. Stocking Up During Sales
I think that this is my favorite way to save money on baby clothes. I like to shop, so this gives me the opportunity to do so frequently without feeling guilty. My favorite stores to stock up at are Gap, Old Navy, and JC Penny. If you check the backside of displays at Gap and the lower wall racks, you will usually find sale items. These items often go for less than a dollar to just a couple of dollars. I recently stocked up on $39 sweater dresses in next winter’s size for Hattie for around $3. At Old Navy their sale rack is marked with a sign and their sales go for quite superb prices as well. Many times I see something and think, “Hattie would be so cute in that when she’s about 2!” So I’ll wait until it goes on sale, and then buy it in that size for later. I keep a flat storage container under her crib with “to grow into” sizes. Next time you are browsing these stores, check out the sale racks for next season steals for your littles. You should be able to find a thing or two! I know that you don’t get the immediate satisfaction of seeing them wear it soon after, but you would be buying it anyway later, so why not save money now instead? Plus, when you pull it out of your box in a few months you’ll be so excited that you forgot you had it!
4. Shop At Consignment Stores/ Discount Stores
I have a hard time perusing-I like multiple sizes to be available when shopping (I know, drama queen over here) but if you have time and patience to browse, stores like Once Upon a Child and Kid to Kid offer low prices on items that they’ve “bought” from previous owners. The good thing about this clothes is that is HAS to be gently used and meet certain standards for the stores to buy them from the owners, so you know that they’ve been evaluated already for quality. My sister in law used to work in advertising for a company that owned some Once Upon a Child chains, and she would bring home things for Hattie now and again that were seriously super cute, and some even still had tags! It’s like an Ebay-but in person-if you aren’t all about the online thing. Search online for the one nearest you and give it a go, you may love it!
Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross may not always boast the best deals, but you can find a steal sometimes. I pinned some Stuart Weitzman shoes on my Pinterest last year from Nordstrom and intended on buying them. I found the exact same ones at TJ Maxx the next week for half off. I was so excited! Don’t go in prepared to find a steal because you may be disappointed. Just casually browse now and again and you are sure to eventually find something that saves you some buckaroos.
5. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Nowadays bloggers and Instagramers have some major pull in the fashion industry. I’m a sucker for homemade items as you may already know, but I try to wait around for coupon codes or special deals before ordering. If you like an item, follow their shop on Instagram and check their Facebook and Twitter feeds often for discount opportunities. Most handmade shops will offer free shipping or a certain percentage off every few weeks or so to help build their fan base and attract more customers while clearing out some inventory and supplies in order to bring in some fresh things. Just be patient, some savings are sure to happen if you wait a bit before diving in. Bloggers will also work in conjunction with certain shops using one of a kind codes for that certain blogger’s followers. Even 15% off is better than nothing! For example, I love Albion Fit’s workout gear. I was ordering some leggings a few weeks ago, and knew that I could find a code somewhere if I tried hard enough, so I searched the hashtag #albionfit on Instagram and sure enough, a blogger had a 15% off coupon code for her readers, so I used it, and voila, the price magically dropped. Also check that shop’s “Photo’s of..” section because if they were tagged in a post that included a coupon, it will be listed there as well.
6. Build your child’s closet with feasible pieces
We all love those bright red corduroy pants, especially around Christmas time and Valentine’s, but be sure that you can wear it more than once, and with more than one shirt if you are going to buy it! You are going to want your pieces to mesh well with other things in your child’s closet. Neutrals, khaki’s, and jean bottoms are excellent and match with most any top that you can find. Indulging in a super cute statement piece now and again is totally fun, but don’t fill your closet with them, because then you’ll be in a pickle with only a few matching outfits and no more money in your clothing budget. Your bottoms and dresses are going to cost the most, so buy some pants, shorts, and overalls that can transition well with the less expensive tops that you will be buying/already own. Chambray is a perfect piece to keep in your child’s wardrobe, because it is so friendly with other pieces-you can never go wrong with these for a girl or a boy! It also hides stains well for your busy bees. I always like to have a white tunic available in Hattie’s closet as well since it can literally match with anything. Basics are a must! Build around these and you’ll be saving $$ in no time!
To top it all off, you may only save a few bucks here and there when using these methods, but taking the risk that I might sound really cliche, IT ADDS UP. Especially if you have more than one child to buy for! $10 here and $20 there could amount to over $100 at the end of the day, so don’t ever feel “cheap” or “broke” when you shop the sale rack and use your coupons, because there is nothing embarrassing about being a good steward of your money.