How do you make shopping for your family's clothes affordable?
I always shop the sales racks, even at Target.
For coats and seasonal items like that - I buy a size bigger to last 2 seasons, and I buy gender neutral colors - blue, red, orange, yellow. Since I have 3 girls and a boy, I found that my son would end up with a pink coat, I'd always have to buy him a new coat, or my youngest daughter wouldn't have a hand-me-down coat. So now, I get a plain (no print), acceptable to everyone color and they can get whichever coat fits, by the time it gets to my youngest, we might sew a patch or ribbon or something on it if she thinks it looks too boy-ish.
i actually don't shop much for my family's clothes. we have friends with older kids and they pass down a lot of their clothes. and since i have 2 girls, the clothes get passed down again from my oldest to youngest. when i do shop, i tend to shop at target mostly since the prices are low and super cute! another thing that has helped is to not care all that much about how my kids dress or what they wear. things always have to be weather appropriate and modest, but otherwise i let them wear whatever they want, so the latest fashions don't matter much!
Our neighborhood up north has a yearly neighborhood garage sale. Fantastic deals on kids clothes and any baby stuff (also great for exercise equipment). Other than that I have found Kohl's has great clothes for the men in my life and if it's on sale and I have a 30% off coupon...bonus!!!
I like Target for clothes for myself.
I use coupons for department stores every time I buy there, but I also found some great thrift stores with like new clothes in my town. There is also a great kids stuff sale that my church holds a few times a year, it is HUGE and I always find great deals!!
I like to sew my kids clothing. We also do a lot of thrift/consignment shopping. Truthfully though, most of my kids clothing, and ours as well are hand-me downs. We know a lot of people with boys, so we have bags, and bags full of clothing waiting for my boys.
Learning to sew has been a big money saver.
Instead of buying clothes for all 6 of us. for example Sometimes
it is a matter of up cycling my husbands shirts that he can not wear but are still useable.
I can make my girls some cute cute dresses. And only have to buy my husband some shirts instead of all 3 of them some clothes. Also I shop out of season and save the clothes.
Thrift stores and ebay.
I have teenage kids and when they were young, I decided that they needed to learn how to shop wisely, before they got to an age where they wanted all the cloths they saw their friends wearing at school I think they were both around 7 when I started doing that. Each year, usually before the beginning of school, and spring break, we made a list of things they needed -- shoes, pants, shorts, socks, etc. Then I gave them a budget of how much they had to spend. We talked about what we were going to do in advance -- shop the sale racks, and focus on the list. Then we went shopping. We went to the brand name stores (where they wanted to shop) and well as Walmart and Target (where I wanted to shop) so they could compare how much things cost. It was such a great experience because we always came home with everything they needed, and a few things extra. They figured out quickly that they could buy more if they shopped the sale racks, and bought basics at places like Walmart, Target, outlet malls, and thrift stores. They are still great shoppers, and it's rare that they pay full price for anything that they buy. Now that they are teens, I give them each a certain amount of money for school cloths. Anything extra they have to buy themselves. I have a list of jobs they can do around the house to earn money, and they also come up with creative ideas on their own. My daughter started selling some of her nicer clothing on Ebay, and used the money she made to buy new things. We've also had garage sales, and they can keep the money they earn for that. They've learned work, and recycle which is good.
Another thing we do that's a lot of fun is to have a Cloths Swap Party with friends. Everyone brings cloths in good shape that no longer fit, or that they don't like. We set up a display table, and every goes shopping. We try to make sure to keep it fair so that no one person gets all the good stuff. I did that with moms -- trading cloths, and we also traded our kid clothing too. Now my kids host their own parties with their friends. It's a fun way to get new things without spending a dime.
I have found some great thrift stores in the area and check them periodically. I have found some great items - even clothes with the tags still on for a fraction of the price! I also set a budget when clothes shopping and make it a game for my kids to see how many items they can get with 'x' amount of $. When I go to the store/mall I always check the sale racks and if I happen upon a great deal I stock up, especially on jeans and shorts. I have found that if I purchase a few items here and there throughout the year I'm never faced with a full on wardrobe purchase when my kids grow.