It's happened to you more than once. You buy a romper for your child in the morning, and by dinner, he's outgrown it. Paying retail prices for garments with such a short useful life just doesn't make economic sense.
Follow these tips from experienced moms to stretch your budget for kids' clothing.
Graciously Accept Hand-Me-Downs. This is the overwhelmingly popular choice of all mothers. "Don't think of it as charity," says one mother of two, "consider it a necessity." Some mothers also practice this between families and friends, swapping unwanted or outgrown items, and labeling any items they might want back.
Look for Fundraisers. Charitable organizations like the Junior League and many religious groups frequently feature back-to-school fundraisers. You can often pick up used clothing in good shape and at affordable prices and support a good cause at the same time.
Stick with a Few Basic Colors. Your child's wardrobe functions on the same principle as your own: mixing and matching provides maximum mileage. Buy clothes that will coordinate with other clothes already in your child's closet.
Check Out Thrift Shops. Thrift shops are great for basics that are usually perfectly wearable.
Sears Comes Through. Though Sears has always been one of the top emporiums of affordable children's clothing, now it's even better. One mom relies heavily on the retailer's free program "Kid Advantage" that lets you replace torn or worn out clothing you buy from them as long as it's the same size and they can replace it with the same brand and similar price. "This was great for Michael since he tears up the knees in his jeans all the time," relates this satisfied mother. Sign up and be sure to keep your receipts.
Explore Children's Re-Sale Shops. Some mothers found that dressier apparel could often be found here and that it had clearly not been worn more than once or twice.
Buy Two. Once in a while, you'll find an item with the perfect price, quality, and look. Buy another in the next size so you can use it next season.
Consider Flea Markets. Depending on the quality of the flea market, this can be a fabulous place for deals. Visit the ones near you to see what you can uncover.
Avoid Impulse Buys. Sure, it's adorable, but does your child need it? Again, the same shopping rules apply to kids' clothing as they do to yours. Ask yourself "how often will this get worn?"
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