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Frugal Style
January 23, 2013 2:30 pm | by

Adding a new child or additional children to our family has stretched us in a lot of ways, but primarily financially. One of the biggest expenses we all face is clothing. Today I’d like to share a few ways we’ve saved on clothing for our kids in the past few years.

Say “yes” to hand-me-downs
When you first find out the gender of your baby, whether that is before birth or after, you’ll probably get offers from family and friends to pass on their same-gendered children’s outgrown clothing. It’s easy to brush these offers off, thinking that you want to “set your own style”, but don’t say no! Both of my sister-in-laws had girls before us and handed down clothing. I go through the boxes and choose what I like and leave whatever I don’t still in the box to give back when I return everything else. It’s fun to “shop the boxes” when my daughter goes up a size, and it’s all free!

Sweater over sleeveless dress with
BumGenius Babylegs in Rory underneath

Trading hand-me-downs
I have a friend whose first child was a girl while mine was a boy, then our second children were reversed. Every few months, I give her all my son’s outgrown clothing for her little boy and she gives me her 3-year-old daughter’s outgrown clothes for my 2-year-old girl. This is a great way for both families to benefit. We also switched our pink and blue BumGenius 4.0 cloth diapers so that her son didn’t have to wear pink diapers all the time and my daughter could add some pink to her stash!

Off season clothing and Babylegs
Children grow! Sometimes they grow fast, and you’ll find that they get only 3 uses out of an article of clothing before it’s too short in the legs or arms. Other times, you buy a whole new spring wardrobe in 2T only to find that your 2-year-old remains in 18-24 month sizes until late summer. My solution to this is a fun fashion mix-up using Babylegs! Babylegs are supersoft leg warmers or arm warmers that can be worn in a variety of ways from newborn all the way through toddlerhood.

It’s easiest for me to illustrate how to make your children’s clothing last multiple seasons with Babylegs by using blurry photos of my own children modeling.

For girls, make summer dresses last into the winter months by layering long sleeved tees under or sweaters over sleeveless dresses and adding Babylegs as leggings.

I’ve also used Babylegs to lengthen shorts, as shown here on my daughter with the Rainbow pattern Babylegs underneath blue jean shorts, topped with a long sleeved tee.

For either boys or girls, I love to put Babylegs on the arms underneath a short sleeved tshirt to give it a layered, long-sleeved (and warmer!) feel.

This is also a great solution for when your toddler becomes overly attached to one particular tshirt despite the fact that the weather is actually too cold for short sleeves!

Don’t forget clearance and seconds sales!
Buying a season ahead by shopping clearance sales or picking up second quality items are another great way to fill out your child’s wardrobe without breaking your budget. Grab the essential pieces that are necessary for every season at great savings as manufacturers change styles and colors. Cotton Babies has both a clearance category and occasionally has second quality cloth diapers available, which are a great way to add more diapers to your rotation. The clearance section is also a great way to pick up maternity essentials for yourself.

What are some ways you’ve found to stretch your clothing dollar? We’d love to hear more ideas!

About the Author

Jenny Bradford lives in the Dallas, TX area and blogs at Living (formerly Conscientious Confusion). This includes everything from green living, natural health, conscientious consumerism, cloth diapering, and living frugally. She is a wife to Christian and mom to Little Sir born Oct. 2009, and Little Lady, born Feb. 2011.



  • laurabeth1976 said...
    May 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I’m not a fan of yard sales, but the best way I have found to get a deal on baby clothes is to shop carefully. I just bought some adorable new outfits for my twins at Burlington Coat Factory. They have the designer clothes I like, but everything is much less expensive then it would be in a department store.

  • Cheerful Homemaker said...
    January 23, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Once we found out the gender of our first child, we started going to yard sales on Saturday mornings. Sometimes you have to go to 3 or 4 to find nice things. Late in the summer we found a woman with tables upon tables of boy clothes (hard to find at yard sales!). She gave us a plastic bag and told us it was $3 a bag. Needless to say, we walked away with 5 bags of practically new clothes for our son.

    All of our family lives in another state, so hand-me-downs are rare. :-/

  • Jessica G. said...
    January 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Besides clearance and hand me downs, I get most of my kids clothes at thrift stores. If you find a good one in your area and plan ahead, you can get good clothes for a fraction of the cost. Not only do I normally find gap, old navy and gymboree, but I also find name brands like juicy couture, splendid and more for $1-$2 per piece of clothing! So much cheaper than even kids consignment stores. You do have to have patience for it though. There are times I walk away empty handed and other times I score big time.