Winter clothing can be a pricey investment, especially when your kids outgrow them every year. It is possible to find less expensive, quality coats, clothing and accessories for your kids, even when they have their hearts set on an expensive, designer option. This week I share tips for how to keep your kids fashionable this winter while staying on budget.
Shop It Out
Any mother will tell you that kids outgrow their clothes quickly – and not just in an “Oh, my, how Junior has grown!” sort of way. It’s more like “How did this shirt fit last week and now you can hardly cover your bellybutton?” Keeping your growing kids covered, especially in the colder months, can be a challenge for your sanity and budget. For this reason, I’m a big fan of Children’s Orchard and similar gently used children’s clothing stores. If I’m lucky, I can even make money, or receive store credit, by selling my kids’ stuff. Win-win!
Many of the items I’ve found were a “one-time wear” and are in great shape. In fact, it’s possible to find clothing items with the tags still attached! When you’re digging through the racks at a secondhand or consignment shop, there are a few things to look for to ensure quality:
· Opt for natural fabrics. Check the tag to see what the clothes are made of – a pair of denim cotton overalls is going to last longer than a thin polyester dress.
· Check the seams. Quality clothing has straight, tight seams and won’t have too many loose strings.
· Extra buttons. Look at the inner tags for extra buttons. This usually means the producer is confident that the clothing will outlast a button or two.
Wise to Size
As a rule, it’s silly to pay full price for kids’ wear. You’re much better off waiting for sales if you have your heart set on a particular outfit or item. When you do find that great sale, try to pick up items ahead of time that you absolutely know you’ll use, like coats and snow pants. I can usually estimate what the boys’ sizes will be, but I prefer to err on the side of too big, because they’ll grow into it eventually. Accessories such as hats, scarves, gloves and even socks are another great sale-day pickup.
Opt For a Swap
Lastly, never underestimate the monetary sense of a clothing swap. Get the cousins or neighborhood together for a good old-fashioned exchange. You can stock up on next winter’s items while getting rid of your own closet clutter.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.