AE Pictures Inc./Digital Vision/Getty Images
Dressing kids can be expensive. We are seeing a boom in designer kids' clothes, fashions for children are changing almost as quickly as they are for adults, and kids grow so fast that you often have to buy them entire wardrobes with each season. How does the average family keep up? I've interviewed moms from all over the country to see how they keep their kids looking good without breaking their budgets.
Jennie, Mom of 2
"Carry the store credit card. You have to pay it off after every shopping trip, or you are going to end up paying significantly more than you saved in interest. Most stores have great retention marketing, and will send you coupons for future visits, special promos for card holders only and some even give you rewards when you spend so much.
Browse the front of the store. Keep your eye on pieces that you like and wait for them to go on sale if you can.
Shop the sale/clearance rack. It's all about the look. No one knows whether you paid full price, so why do it?
Shop in advance for the next season. When I first started to do this, it made my husband very nervous. However, even if you do save it back and they outgrow it you can resell it on E-Bay. Coats, swimwear, and name brand clothing basics such as Ralph Lauren are fairly easy to purchase. While most of us are not "in the mood" to buy those items because you are ready to move in to the next season, you will be glad you did!
I have a couple of outlets that I shop at on a regular basis. There is a Nordstrom and Hanna Andersson that are near where I live. These are great spots to pick up staple pieces that are significantly less than in regular department stores.
When you have a child that develops his/her own taste and begins to follow trends closely, teach them that dressing stylishly is about a look and not having name brands. Give them a limit and fill in their wardrobe with other items that have a similar look."
Donna, Mom of 2
"I apply for credit cards to get the initial 10% off on what I would consider like a season's purchase of clothes. Lots of places give you some kind of bonus just for applying for the card.
I almost never buy anything online without a coupon code! I go to flamingoworld, couponmountain, couponcraze. I just google the store plus the words "coupon code" and almost always come up with something!"
Mary Ellen, Mom of 2
"I don't buy a whole lot! I figure these clothes are only going to last a few months (unlike adult clothes) so I just try to buy the essentials."
Stephanie, Mom of 3
"I'm pretty lucky because my kids get tons of clothes from my parents and relatives for birthdays and holidays. My parents go all out, and spend a fortune. Their gifts usually cover their "good" or nice outfits.
I buy all of their "play" and non school clothes though. I do look for those on sale. Target will have sales where their little shirts and shorts are like $3.99 each, and I grab a bunch of those for play. I will also go to garage sales if I know the people, and it's a great place for play clothes. Living on a farm, we have to have play clothes that can get dirty.
I look for sales for play or everyday type stuff, but for special occasions and school clothes, I try to get them on sale, but if I love them, I buy regardless."
Lisa, Mom of 2
"When I go shopping for me or my children I go right to the sales racks! I always find some great items at great prices. If it's not on sale and I must have that item, then I buy it at full price but check online for up to 2 weeks to see if it went on sale. If it did, then I bring my receipt back for a price adjustment. Gap and Old Navy are great at giving price adjustments.
As for shopping online, I simply will not buy anything online without a promotional code. I check all the online coupon sites regularly for new codes."
Melissa, Mom of 2
"I hit consignment stores, yard sales, and Walmart first. And, if I go to the mall, I will not buy it if it isn't on sale!"
Denise, Mom of 2
"Clearance racks, I'm queen of clearance racks!
Also, I try non-traditional stores. The other day I went to Value City and got my daughter 4 outfits for $50; all of them were good, brand name outfits."
Katrin, Mom of 1
"I love clearance racks!!! I try and buy a season ahead if possible. Also I take advantage of store coupons. I also love a consignment shop near me which has spectacular, like new clothing for bargain prices!"
Abha, Mom of 2
"I keep track of sales. Oshkosh, The Children's Place and Target are my stores for kids clothes. Oshkosh always has 50% off sale for seasonal clothes. The Children's Place clearance racks are the best for bargains. Also, we have a huge outlet mall that has a Gap store. They have seasonal stuff from past years at real bargain prices."
Readers Respond: Moms to Moms: Saving Money on Kid's Clothes