How do you make shopping for your family's clothes affordable?

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16  Answers

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My first suggestion would be to read Three Haute Mamas! lol!! No seriously, we try to showcase things that we know will give you mad Haute Style! You don't need to own all the newest fashion trends but knowing which items are all the rage you can narrow down to your budget as well as what suits your personality or body type.

Next, shop your closet. Look at what you have, purge what you don't wear and make notes to what you need. I did this the other day and found that I would love a leather jacket, wanted some trendy leather leggings and thought that a sequin top would look great with that outfit.

Off to the Mall I went. When I got there I walked into Macy's and went right up to the sales girl (yes believe it or not they know the store and are paid to help you) I asked her where her leather leggings were. She pointed to the department that had them and whallah! I grabbed a pair to try on and... SOLD! In that same department was a great sequin tank top! SCORE! I looked around on my own at a few leather jackets but they were a bit to pricey for my budget. I knew from experience that Forever 21 always has something like that and usually for under $30! When I got to the store again I asked the girl where her leather jackets were, she pointed me in the right direction and I found my Jacket!

I got my entire outfit in under 40 minutes!

Another trick I learned is surfing the internet. Sometimes you can't wait 5+ business days to receive a purchase online but you can find what you like, print it out and bring it to the store. If the store is sold out they might have something similar to what you originally wanted. All this saves you headaches and time! and when reading your favorite fashion magazine, tear out what items you like and stuff them in an envelope and put it in your purse. Next time you are in the store ask a sales person if they have anything in that style. Having a picture is very helpful!

Well that concludes my shopping 101! And again, read Three Haute Mamas for daily tips on how to get the most haute for your buck!

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With two little boys who wear the same size, I have to purchase double of everything, which has the ability to get very expensive, very quick. My husband and I have always enjoyed going thrifting at our local Salvation Army or Goodwill and I make sure to look at the children's clothes every time we go. Sometimes I'll load the boys in the car and go with them by myself. I have had some awesome finds, but have also come away empty-handed. Thrifting is always uncertain.

If there's anything I need specifically, or if I just haven't found it thrifting, I will shop at an upscale second-hand store, Once Upon a Child. Although this type of store is more expensive than a Goodwill, it is much more affordable than buying everything new.

That said, I have also bought new items, but I try to get them on sale or clearance.

My one biggest piece of advice though is to like what you buy. I could fill my kids' closet in one day by going thrifting, but I will only put them in a fraction of what I bought if I don't like it. So even though it's a deal, it's wasted money if it's just going to sit in a drawer.

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One word: Target.

Okay, a second word (words, really): consignment sales. I'm lucky that in the area I live, there are about 4 yearly very good sales for "gently used" clothes. I try to take advantage of them. While not everything will be excellently priced or in wonderful condition, I have managed to find a great toddler-sized winter-coat for as little as $3, a perfect Thanksgiving dress (never worn) for $2, and sweaters for between $1-$3. I believe firmly that small children need clothes to play in more than they need clothes to be displayed in; therefore, as long as something is fit, clean, and presentable (meaning no holes/tears/etc), and easy for them to move around in comfortably then it is wearable. So handmedowns/preworn clothes (especially for little kids who outgrow those clothes so quickly) are really ideal.

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Well. I have four boys, so keeping them in cute clothes that aren't a mess at some point during the day is a challenge in and of itself!

But, I do have a few shopping tips - mostly because my husband thinks he is Dave Ramsey, so in order to dodge an argument, this is what I do:

Planning ahead for the season - Summer months - t-shirts, shorts, and swim trunks. Winter months - sweats and socks. tons of socks! we constantly loose socks. So I will already have my eye on these kinds of items when shopping, whether in department stores, yard sales, or discount stores. It helps to know what your kids will be needing for the season. We dress in "Sunday best" for church, so I've always got things on hand for weddings or other special events. But if you know you are going on vacation or you have family photos planned then it is a good idea to have some basic pieces that will get good use and that you can add accessories to.

Which leads me to the next tip - accessories are not just for little girls! A hat, colorful sneaks, or a cute belt can go a long way!

Shopping out of season - GAP, Children's Place, and Old Navy have really great end-of-season sales, some at 50% off. I buy plastic tubs and fill them up if I find things that I know my boys will wear in the future.

Stocking up on basics - discount stores like Target and sometimes Wal-Mart have really great solid color tees for under $5.00. Pair them with plaid shorts and flip flops in the summer or sweats and tennys in the winter.

Consignment shopping - sometimes I find great items, sometimes I don't. One time I bought a brand new pair of Nike Tennis shoes for $9.00 that last my son almost a year, so it is always worth my time to at least take a look. I can usually find like-new sweaters at a price I am willing to pay vs. brand new and ridiculous. Hint: If you hit a consignment shop before the next season really begins, you will find better deals.

Since I have all boys I can usually "hand down" as the boys grow out of it. Because of this, I can justify spending more money on certain items that I will know will last. So I put all my kids clothes that haven't been ripped or stained or really worn into tubs and organize by size. Eventually one of them will be in SOMETHING that is in that tub. And this is not for everybody because it is absolute hell trying to go through 5 different tubs looking for 4 different sizes every. single. season. But, it does save money.

And finally, know what your kid will wear. Or, what you will make your kid wear. No use in spending money on something you know he/she will only wear once. This goes along with planning.

Good luck!

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Strictly regarding baby and kids' clothes - Resale and consignment shops!!! Alot of people hear that and immediately think Goodwill - nothing wrong with that but there are other options out there. There are two "upscale resale" shops near me that only take New or Like New clothing and offer fantastic prices! This is great because I want my kids to look good but I also understand they may or may not even fit into an outfit a few months later.

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It's amazing what retailers can charge for one tiny coat, or a miniature pair of boots. Especially when you're a mom (like me) who cares about keeping my kid stylish and comfortable, the clothes budget can get out of control quickly. In the past two years, as I've learned how to shop for my 22-month-old son, I've found some great money savers that don't sacrifice on style or quality.

Flash sale sites (like babysteals.com): Tons of sites offer daily or timed bargains for kids and babies, often by small independent designers and labels usually found in boutiques, at fractions of the cost. Yes, it can be a pain to remember to check daily, but the deals are worth it Especially great for shoes, hats, and staples like tees and onesies.

Major retailer sales (like JCrew & babyGAP): Wait for the sales! The big ones, like 30% off items already on sale. Then, be prepared to stock up - in a size up, or even a season ahead. Beware of truly seasonal items if you're worried about guessing a future size, but staples like tees, jeans, and light sweaters will last regardless of season.

Bulk Clubs (like Costco): I buy ALL of The Pup's pajamas at Costco, as they usually have the pricey Hanna Andersson sleepers at less than a third of their cost at retail. Look for brands you recognize, and stay updated on any special sales (for example, they usually do a seasonal sale of unbelievable boutique girls' dresses around Easter time).

Resale/Consignment (try 'Once Upon A Child'): My mom and I have had amazingnlucknfinding beautiful, unworn, stylish clothes for The Pup in secondhand stores. You'll find more options in smaller sizes (as babies grow so quickly at the beginning), so this option is probably best for under-2s. Essentially all of his special-occasion clothes are secondhand, everything from perfect velvet blazers to madras pants to unbelievable appliqué sweaters. Take your time, look for tags you recognize, and wash everything IMMEDIATELY when you get them home.

Sample Sites (Gilt, zulily, fab.com, etc): the very best source for unique and extremely stylish kids clothing. From totally awesome hipster tees to Italian leather shoes to great basics, these sites are worth stalking. Make sure you're getting the best dea,l though, by comparison shopping anything with a quick google search prior to checkout.

Special Collections at Big Box Retailers: Target has been doing some amazing collaborations with high-end kids designers in the last few years...Splendid Littles, One Seed Organics, Harajuku Mini etc. Watch for them! And then keep watching...I bought dozens of pieces of the Splendid line on insanely deep sale last year. You can absolutely find quality clothing at places like Target, Walmart, and Sears.

I refuse to believe that my child has to wear the same boring stuff all the time. But I also refuse to pay those ridiculous full prices! With some research and planning, and with the knowledge that you might have to buy a lot of stuff at once when you find a great sale, your kid can look amazing in clothes with quality construction without blowing your budget.

Happy Shopping, mamas!

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I have, uh...fairly expensive taste when it comes to clothes, and my kiddo's clothes are no exception. And I'm terrible at planning purchases - buying next year's coat when they go on sale at the end of the season, for example. That is almost never me. I typically wait until, say, R has torn holes in the last pair of pants he has....and then I shop. Needless to say, I often miss the sales.

I try to make up for my crazy be being very picky about what we DO buy, and keeping clothes to a minimum in general. For example, each boy has one drawer full of clothes. ONE. One drawer for all pants/shorts, shirts and sweaters. (Other items like socks, underwear, swim clothes, soccer uniforms and winter gear are stored somewhere else and I do swap out clothes in their drawer for seasons.) I feel like we're always doing laundry around here, and switching to this system didn't seem to impact our overall laundry load very much.

This system works because I can then buy the pricier items I love....because I'm only buying a few things. And honestly? My picky toddler wants to wear the same thing everyday anyway. And I find that something like a sweater - which he pretty much only wears when we're leaving the house, virtually never gets dirty. (Not that we're all that picky about dirt around here....his jeans are pretty much ALWAYS dirty. But they're designer (Joe's Jeans) so I tell myself that the dirt goes with the premium wash, LOL).

Additionally, I stock up on plain Target tees. You can find these babies on sale for about $2. That leaves me free to buy more expensive pants (I love Joe's Jeans and plaid Nano pants), sweaters or sweatshirts (we love Splendid's sherpa hoodie), and cute shoes (I swear by Uggs for toddlers). In the winter I get less expensive pea coats (from Gap or Old Navy) for going out (and these are widely available on ebay)...but I do splurge on Patagonia's Baby Down sweater for everyday use (not as crazy as it sounds - see here: http://www.aintnomomjeans.com/2010/07/go-buy-now-patagonia-baby-down-sweaters.html)

And I do shop secondhand. When I have time. But it's hit-or-miss, especially when you are keeping purchases to a minimum. I like to befriend the store owner, and make sure she's clear on my preferences. They'll often be willing to call when they get new stock that looks like your style.

I do have one little sales tip: Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale. It happens each summer, and typically includes Joe's Jeans for toddlers and kids on super-sale. I stock up. Also, I'm a big fan of buying jeans a bit big, and rolling the cuffs. When he grows, I unroll. When he grows again, I re-roll, add striped socks and call them man-capris. R will literally wear a single pair of jeans for years.

Lastly, R has just started to tear holes in the knees of his jeans. This is from constant "zooming" on his knees with his trians, cars, etc. I'm currently looking for some cute, old-school patches - a bunch of these could look really cool, and add new life to his jeans. (Although I have no problem with destroyed denim - we both wear it, LOL!) Anyway, I found some great patches on Etsy - stay tuned to Ain't No Mom Jeans - I'll post an article letting you know how my little experiment goes. :)

ps. I support, whole-heartedly, toddlers and kiddos dressing themselves. See the link below.

http://www.aintnomomjeans.com/2011/04/dress-for-success-an-argument-for-self-dressing.html

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I only have one 18-mo old son, so shopping for him isn't too out-of-control. We never pay full-price and stick to sales at Gap, H&M, Zara, etc. I've also found some bargains at consignment or re-sale shops, but generally think you can get the same prices for a brand new item on-sale.

The best answer would be to re-use old clothing with a little bit of handy alterations. Unfortunately, I'm not very good with the sewing machine, so I can't make an adult man's flannel into kids' pajamas. I'll leave that to the more clever moms out there...
{mommy chic} design. style. kids. life.

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Vintage, vintage, vintage.
Sales, sales, sales.

I stalk etsy for awesome vintage kid clothes and never, ever pay full price for the coolest kiddie fashions. Consider vintage for your tots and spend your dollars recycling. A few favorites -
http://www.etsy.com/shop/MsTips
http://www.etsy.com/shop/salvagehouse
http://www.etsy.com/shop/Odelette

And Gap, JCrew, Tea Collection, Zara Kids all offer rolling markdowns regularly and it's always worth the wait. Afterall, am I the only one that finds it cuckoo to spend $30 on kids shoes or $50 on this year's winter coat????

Kids can look cool and feel great at any price and on any budget. Style never needs to cost.

best - {plum}

post script: don't forget, drink more water. your skin will thank you.

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Most of the time I shop for my daughter when I get coupons for the GAP in the mail. With deals like 30 or 40% off it's always easy to shop this way. I also love shopping for her at H&M, CrewCuts, Tea Collection, and others but I always wait until there are sales and markdowns. I have also had some success shopping off season for her too and this really works with dresses and higher quality pieces. And finally I buy her everyday wear and pajamas at Old Navy and Target.

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Kids are always staining, putting holes in, or outgrowing their clothes. And all three happen fast. So, it's hard to justify spending a lot. Thrift, Old Navy, H&M, hand-me-downs (with lots nephews, we've got a lot of boy hand-me-downs in this house!). And what I love is the websites that give free shipping too. Zara is one of them! Love Zara.

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Since my children are little and growing fast, I always shop for them at consignment stores. I have found barely used items in my favorite brands for a fraction of the price. Carters and The Children's Place outlet is also a fantastic place. As for me, I am always on the hunt for the best deals and steals. H&M is a fantastic place to find trendy pieces at an affordable price. I also like to keep a rule that if I get something new, I must get rid of something old. Keeps my priorities in focus:)

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Thrift, thrift, thrift! Thrift shops run just as many, if not more sales as all the big department stores. And many even have coupons! Because children only wear clothes for a few months before they grow out of them, I prefer to buy their clothes cheap. However, I won't skimp on quality so I always look for the name brands. I've been able to find Gap sweatshirts, Oshkosh coats, Gap pants and Carter's onsies all for just dollars. Many second hand stores even have clothes that are close to new! I save hundreds of dollars a year this way.

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There is honestly no formula or straight answer. I do my best to shop at reasonably priced (yet trend forward) stores like Top Shop and H&M. I buy only things we'll really wear. Having a closet full of cool things I'll never pull out is pointless! I've conceded to only having things (for all of us) that's worth wearing in terms of practicality AND style combined. My favorite pieces are trendy basics (Top Shop is great for this) that I can layer for a casual and easy look. Colored skinny jeans for all of us jazz up our favorite "jeans and tee" look.

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My honest answer seems counterintuitive: I shop often. But this way I'm aware of what's out there, what's on sale, and can get to the discounted racks before they're picked over. This is particularly helpful around the holidays. Heck, I've been Christmas shopping since August; if I find the right thing at the right price, I buy it and set it aside. That spreads out mybudget and makes it all more enjoyable too!

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I try to purchase clothing for my oldest daughter that I know my younger one can wear as well. W hile monogramming is cute and we love that at The Well Appointed House (www.wellappointedhouse.com), if you're on a budget, skip the monogram because this makes passing down clothes difficult! Also, shop fabulous discount stores like Daffy's in NYC....clothing for millionaires! They have the most fabulous cashmere sweaters for kids at big discounts and top French designer brands that you'll pay a pretty penny for in the stores in Manhattan at a fraction of the price.

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