I was shocked when my eldest daughter started showing an interest in fashion at the ripe age of 2. How could she have an opinion about her clothes at such a young age? My oldest is now 4, and still fashion conscious. My youngest is just turning 2, has always been very particular about her shoes. I fear she will be even more particular about her wardrobe!
Keeping up with these little fashionistas can put a strain on my wallet especially when half the items I buy end up not getting worn. Here's how I have learned to save money on my girls' wardrobes.
1. Buy basics in advance
When stores switch out their seasonal stock it's time to hit those clearance racks. Shop for the next season, buying larger sizes, and only buy the basics like t-shirts, jeans, socks and pajamas. As children grow, their tastes will change so let them pick out the non-basics when a new season rolls around.
2. Host a clothing swap
Gather other parents with similar age children and ask everyone to bring clothes to swap. Organize clothes according to sex and size then get swapping. To keep things fair, you can assign different size bags according to what people have brought and set time limits for shopping.
3. Bring them shopping
Yes, I know. It's not my favorite thing to do either, especially with my girls at the ages they are. However, I find that if they're involved in picking out what they want to wear, they're more likely to actually wear it. CafeMom outlines other reasons it's good to let your kids choose what they wear.
4. Try consignment stores
Check your city for a children's consignment stores like Once Upon a Child, where you can buy and sell gently used clothing. My favorite consignment find was a CrewCuts swimsuit for my 4-year-old. This suit was new with tags, retail price around $60, but discounted to $10! I found the matching flip-flops for a whole $6, when CrewCuts was selling them for $24.
5. Use coupons
Stores like Osh'Gosh, Children's Place and Gymboree hand out monthly coupons at their stores that can be up to 40-percent off your total purchase. You can also learn about deals and discounts by following your favorite children's brands on Facebook and Twitter.
6. Shop flash sales
Sign up for email alerts from flash-sale sites like Ideeli and HauteLook, since most are expanding their products to more children's clothes, toys and shoes. The few that are focused on children's attire and gear are sites like Zulily, Totsy, BabySteals and KidSteals. Click here for a free shipping coupon to Zulily and be sure to read the rules and fees associated with returning items to these companies.
7. Take care
This may go without saying, but take care of the clothes you do buy. They will last longer and through multiple kids if you can take care of the clothes and shoes. This goes especially for high-dollar items like winter jackets, special occasion clothes and shoes.
Maisie Knowles is a working mother of two with three-year's experience writing on parenting and partner issues. She received a B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado and co-founded FreeShipping.org with her husband. Maisie currently spends most of her time at home with her two young girls.