Kids winter clothes are one of those things that I have trouble spending a lot of money on.
On one hand, they absolutely need the to be safe and healthy, and when it comes to quality, you tend to get what you pay for. But, when kids coats start at $70 each, and they outgrow one each year, your kids’ winter clothes could easily break the bank if you’re not careful.
So, I’ve gathered 8 of my best tips to help you get your kiddos quality winter clothes without breaking the budget:
Shop & Sell In The Same Place:
ThredUp, Swap, Moxie Jean, Flip Size, Peachy Bee’s, or Sweet Sprouts all accept gently used children’s clothing either to buy or on consignment, and you can buy clothing there as well.
ThredUp: Allows you to sell clothing from size newborn all the way up to adult sizes, in “like new” form, and according to their Earnings Estimator. To sell, ThredUp will send you a a Clean Out Kit, free of charge, which you can fill up with their Accepted Brands and Styles, and then ship back to ThredUp, for free. When ThredUp receive your bag of clothes, they inspect, photograph, and list your used clothing on their site. You get paid immediately for items listed for under $60, which you can use as store credit on ThredUp, as as charitable donation, or get paid out through PayPal. Plus, when you shop ThredUp through my link you’ll get $20 off your first order, plus 40% off when you use the code 40FORYOU.
Swap: On Swap you can buy more than kids outerwear, you can also buy housewares, adult clothing, maternity, apparel, and even toys and games and save up to 95%. You can also sell you gently used clothes, toys, and more.
Flip Size: Sells clothes from 12M to size 12, including outerwear, swimwear, and shoes. You can either shop for the outerwear you’re looking for, sell clothes you no longer need, or both. When you choose to sell clothes, you can request a bag, and when you fill it up and send it back in, you will be awarded points for each garment. Each point is worth $0.05, and you can use them to shop at FlipSize or to cash out via Paypal.
Schoola: (formerly known as Moxie Jean) Parents donate gently used clothing, Schoola sells them, and the proceeds help to fund more than 13,000 schools across the US. So, when you shop at Schoola, 40% of the purchase price goes back to schools.
Peachy Bee’s: Although this site may look a little 90’s-esque, don’t let it fool you. Here you can buy and sell clothes, on consignment, from newborn to size 8. When you ship in clothes, you’ll have the option to either have them shipped back to you (if they don’t sell) when the consignment period is over, or they can be donated to charity.
Online Discount Stores
Craigslist, eBay, and even Facebook Yard Sales have listings for gently used children’s clothing, including more than outerwear. Expect to find more kids outerwear being sold as a “bundle” rather than by the piece, since it’s easier for sellers to unload the clothing they don’t want by selling it all at once.
When in doubt, ask for more detailed pictures, such as pictures of the front and back of each individual object, ask about any and all stains, rips, tears, or missing buttons, and sizes. Also, make sure to pay with Paypal or a credit card to protect you in case your information is stolen.
Zulily, Gilt, 6pm, Overstock, ShopStyle, Little Rue, Modnique, and other flash sale sites offer higher-end, quality kids winter gear at affordable prices. Sign up for their emails so you know when sales you’re interested go live, and double check sizing guides to make sure that you’re getting winter wear they can actually use.
Thrift stores often become a dumping ground for kids clothing that has been outgrown, and even though the prices are cheap, most thrift stores’ proceeds go to a good cause. If at all possible, come to the thrift store armed with a list of sizes and items you need, as well as prices you’re comfortable paying, so you don’t get sucked into the “Tags Still On” rack. Often, the prices there mirror new clothing prices.
Sometimes, thrift store outerwear is there for a reason, though, so inspect the garment thoroughly before purchasing it to make sure that all zippers are in working order and that there aren’t gaping holes or unsightly stains on it.
The days of dingy, boring, or just plain unusable hand me downs are over! Maybe its because of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram, but hand me downs can come from almost anywhere. So, if you don’t have an older sister with baby clothes to spare, hit up these fantastic places to connect with other parents who are in need of inexpensive winter kids clothes.
- Local Mom Groups: Have a mommy & me play group? Do you take you children to group lessons, like martial arts, sports, or art, where other parents like you congregate? Or maybe you like to meet up with other families at the park so you kids can all play together.
- Facebook Yard Sales: These groups are more for buying kids clothes of all kinds, but you can score some great deals. Make sure to consider safety when meeting to pick up the items: choose a gas station, police station, or other public place to meet.
- Freecycle: The site dedicated to reducing waste and saving money. List your items for free, or scope out winter clothes for your kids. It’s all free on Freecycle, just make sure to exercise the same safety tips as above.
Rather than approaching it from a standpoint of “I need clothes for my kids” try “I have winter clothes that my kids have outgrown and are in great shape. Do you have any use for them? Maybe we could trade?”
Think Outside of The Box
Other parents in your community, gym, mom group, or even your church are looking for ways to save on kids clothing just like you are, so don’t be afraid to propose the idea of a clothing swap. If you’re unsure about offering up your home as the location, schedule it for a date when the whether is nice, and at a park where all the kids can play and the parents can use one of the pavilions or picnic tables for the clothing swap.
Try to get organized before the actual date: create an email list or Facebook group for the clothing swap group, and ask everyone to bring at least 20 pieces of children’s clothing. Have them list the types and sizes of clothing as well as the outfits they’re looking for or needing in an email or the group so that everyone knows what sizes and types of kids clothes to expect. Tell everyone up front that they should be prepared to take only as many articles of clothing as they come with, because even though this is a clothing swap, no one benefits if it isn’t fair.
Also, because many forget to bring a bag to hold their newly – swapped clothing, grab a bunch of your empty grocery bags so that as swaps are made, you don’t have to stack clothes on the ground! They’re not fancy, but they’re frugal, which is the whole point of a clothing swap.
Sometimes, shopping during the right part of the year can yield crazy discounts on kids winter clothes – provided you’re able to think ahead to what sizes your kids will need next year. Hats and gloves tend to be pretty one-size fits all, but coats, snowsuits, and boots have many more sizes to choose from, so shop carefully!
This time of year (January – March) winter wear tends to go on clearance, and when combined with a % off coupon, cash-back rewards, or loyalty programs, you can score great deals at your favorite department store.
Buy For More Than 1 Year
There are a couple of ways to do this:
Buy It Big: The first year my daughter needed a winter coat she had just started walking (previously she had been in a carseat, so just blankets were needed), so even though she needed a size 12M coat, I bought her a 24M so that she could wear it for more than one year. Sure, her coat was a little big, but we just made sure to put a hoodie or sweatshirt on her underneath it, and it was adorable. Plus, I got to split the $24 cost of the coat (I got it off of Zulily) over 2 years…essentially.
Buy It Gender Neutral: If you have more than one child yet to grow into the size coat you’re buying, buy it as gender neutral as possible. By doing just that, my mom was able to pass down the same coat through 4 children, and then was still able to pass “our” coat on to a family in our church. I’m sure that the coat was great quality, since it lasted that long, but I also know that my mom got a great deal not only on the price, but by thinking ahead and buying a coat that all of her children (male and female) could wear.
Stash Some Cash Just For This
If there is one thing I’ve learned about buying kids’ winter clothing, it’s that just when I think I get it figured out, the game changes, which is why I always stash away some cash just for purchases like kids winter coats that end up being more expensive than I anticipated.
I earn about $90/month from Swagbucks, another $30 from Bing Rewards, as well as a total of $200a year from other sources such as Screenwise Trends Panel, Checkout 51, Ibotta, or Snap! by Groupon. Even if it seems like a very small amount of money, take some surveys, sign up for a few offers, and stash a little bit of cash away so that if things don’t go according to plan – or the kids grow out of their coats way faster than you thought they would – you’re ready with a backup plan.
How you get your kids coats, hats, and mittens without spending hundreds? Share your favorite strategy in the comments!
P.S. Share this post with your friends for an entry into this month’s giveaway :-)
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