Mrs. iHB: How To Save Money – Kids Clothing

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When you get pregnant there are many things that run through your mind, SO many things to be excited for, nervous for and plan for.  I know I started planning the nursery immediately, and the first thing I did when I found out we were having a boy was buy him this onesie.

(There are little socks with Harleys on them to go with it 😉 )  This thing was on clearance at BabyGap for like $12….and as a new mom so excited for her little BOY, that was no problem (better than the $30 onesie on the next rack over!)  It got me to thinking though, if I have to pay $12 every time my kid needs a onesie, I’m screwed.  Of course for my shower we got TONS of clothes (and I know from other showers I’ve been to that mothers of girls get even more!)  However, we worked our way through the baby shower clothes in about 3 months, people generally don’t think to give you larger sizes than that.  But, let me tell you, he was STYLIN’ his first 3 months of life. 😉  I could continue to shop clearance racks but then I’m still left paying about $5 – $8 an item.  Not bad, but I knew I could do better.  Here’s how:

Garage Sales

I’ve loved garage saleing since I was a kid, but I think I love it even more now.  I am a woman on a mission, a cheap woman on a mission too!  (Yes, I’m the haggler no one likes dealing with.)

So here’s what to keep in mind for garage sales:

  1. Know what you’re looking for. – I always do a drive by.  If I don’t see boxes of clothes or a table with a bunch of little pants and shirts all laid out, I don’t necessarily stop.  It feels kind of rude to do, but it’s worth your time (especially if you’re carting the little one around with you).  Go even a step further and look up G-sales on craigslist.  Many people list their sales there and a brief description of what they’re selling.  I also always let the host of the sale know what I’m looking for or how old my son is and they can usually come up with things I may be interested in and save me time by not digging through all their junk. 😉
  2. People are just trying to get rid of their crap. – If they don’t sell it, it’s either going back inside, or they’re donating it and not making any money.  With this in mind, I never pay asking price.  Don’t feel rude, everyone does it.  (If you’ve ever had your own garage sale you know this!)  The last sale I went to the gal wanted $1 per piece.  Now, that’s a little steep for me at a G-sale, so I grabbed 9 items and offered her $5….she took it!  Remember, it never hurts to ask!
$5.00, 9 items = .56c per piece


  1. Buy more, Pay less. – I went to one sale where they were selling clothes for .25c a piece (NOT BAD!). I grabbed 5 items and she let me take them for $1 (and I got Nautica pants and a Nautica shirt!).  The more time you spend there, the more they talk to you, and the more you take off their hands, the more willing they are to let it go for less.  I spent a bit of time at one sale while the gal was unloading some of her clothes still.  She said “make me an offer” so I gathered up 10 items and offered her $5.  She said that was fine, then I grabbed a wooden toy, she said $2 and I actually thought that was really fair so I grabbed it.  Then I found the “Hungry Caterpillar” book and a pair of socks and asked if I could throw that in for my $7 I was paying them, and it was no problem!

$9.00, 16 items = .56c per piece

Consignment Stores

I am lucky enough to live near a store that will buy my clothes for store credit.  They sell clothes for kids of all ages and some Juniors and Maternity.  I received some hand-me-down maternity clothes that didn’t work for me or my pregnant friends along with some hand-me-down baby clothes that were the wrong season for what I needed.  I took those in to this store (about 3 bags) and they bought them from me for $50 of store credit!! WHAT?!?!  I can use that at any time for stuff that I actually NEED.  I had previously gone in with some old clothes and got enough to buy Nolan a cute little wooden rocking horse.  They have really fair prices there and good-used quality, about $1.50 – $4.00 depending on the item.  For winter months when you need clothes, this is definitely where I would go. (Unless your neighborhood has crazy winter-garage-salers, or you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where that big orange thing in the sky shows up more than 4 times a year…..what’s that thing called again…?)  Anyway, look into finding a good used-kids-clothes store with good prices and will buy your clothes for store-credit, or even better, cash!


Now, I know you can’t control when your friends have babies, if they want to pass on their kid’s clothes, or if they’re generous or not.  But, if you are part of a moms group, church or other group of people, let your need be known.  There is no shame it letting people know that you’ll give their old clothes (toys or books) a good new home.  Many people who are done having kids will be very happy to rid themselves of the stuff and help out a fellow mama.  I received most of my maternity clothes by posting on my church’s community site that we were saving money for me to be a stay-at-home-mama and needed some maternity clothes….people responded with probably about 7 or so large trash-bags full of clothes!!!  The ones that didn’t work for me I passed on to my 3 pregnant friends and the rest of it I sold at the consignment store!  I also got a large trash bag full of boy clothes this way.  Heck, even try craigslist!  I’ve gotten a few trash-bags of clothes for a friend in need by posting in the wanted section.  Be generous yourself, pass on the items that don’t work for you to another mama in need, this way she will do the same if someone passes some goodies down to her.  The point is, let people know what you’re in the market for, I think you’d be surprised at how much people love to help a mother out!

Comments: How do you clothe your kids (or if you don’t have kids, how do you clothes yourself)??  Are you one of those people that is totally grossed out by pre-worn clothing?  Garage Sales are good for more than just kids clothes, what’s the best deal you’ve gotten?  Any other tips or tricks for getting clothes on the cheap??  Is there an app for doing the dishes yet??

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

20 thoughts on “Mrs. iHB: How To Save Money – Kids Clothing”

  1. I don’t have kids myself but when I buy for friends who are having babies (or sis-in-laws! And she just had my niece 😀 )I like to buy for older than newborns. I got her some 6 months,9 months, 12 months and 18 months clothing because I knew she had the newborn stuff. Piles of it. So I thought about the seasons and the months and bought her some pretty neat stuff.

    For me, I get a lot of hand me downs. A lot. I used to know someone who worked for NY & Co who would buy me bags of their sample stuff for a quarter. The items would usually be missing a button or have a small tear. All easy to fix. If I am buying new clothes (so rare but it happens), I shop sales. I dislike paying full price for anything. I’ve looked at garage sales and thrift stores and will buy from there if possible. I just wash them before I wear them!

    • that’s so great to get your friends larger sizes! They grow through them faster than you would think! 🙂 Our 6month old is already is size 12 months! I love hand-me-downs myself too! Your friend had a sweet hook-up! I’m jealous 😉 For new clothes, sales and clearance are the way to go, I can’t remember the last time I bought something full price! lol! Good for you!

  2. I don’t have kids, but I have seen lots of my family members that DO have kids struggle with onesies, because their babies wear them ALL the time. As much as you get at the baby shower, they can be expensive. These are great tips!

  3. Wow you sound like one resourceful mom. I grew up wearing hand-me-downs and second hand clothes. So I definitely have no problem with that. I don’t have any kids myself, but when I do I’ll be sure to try to put some of these strategies to use. It is a lot easier to do this kind of stuff these days with the power of the internet.

  4. Hand me downs were great when my kids were younger, I had 3 boys so the clothes made their way down! Now, my teenage wears jeans and t-shirts in mens sizes, and our local thrift stores suck – all their clothes are worn out by the time they get them.

    However, he’s a big fan of cheap jeans from either Walmart or Costco. I rarely pay more than $20 a pair for his jeans, and $8-10 for shirts. I shop sales, use discounts, and hope he doesn’t grow any more!

  5. I’m not grossed out by pre-worn clothing at all, assuming it’s been washed! These are great ideas to save money AND look good. A former co-worker of mine ALWAYS bought from consignment shops and looked like a fashion model. She always seemed to find great deals on name brands.

    • I love used clothing. My only issue is finding something that fits my body shape (skinny). I’ve found some great deals at thrift stores, and purchased hundreds of dollars worth of designer clothing for like $10. It’s honestly hard for me to ever buy anything new these days.

  6. I totally want to hit up a garage sale now! I haven’t been to one in a while, but you’re right–they just want to get rid of it. Offer them anything and they’ll be glad you’re taking it off their hands. Great tips, Mrs. iHB! Your baby is sooo cute!! That onesie would be hard to pass up…lol.

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