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#1 of 5 Old 08-27-2004, 04:59 PM - Thead Starter
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Rack Up Savings on Children's Clothing
by Melanie Riley
Help them look like a million bucks without spending a fortune

Would you like your children to dress nicely and in the latest fashions without spending a fortune? Opportunities for saving money abound for those who are willing to do some bargain hunting instead of grabbing the first item off the rack. Why throw your money away on clothing and shoes that your children are going to outgrow or wear out soon? How would you like to buy new jeans for $5? Shirts for $3? Brand-name sneakers for $5 to $10? Here's how:

End of Season Clearance Sales

When I'm in a department store and see the bright red clearance sign, that's where I head. Stores usually start their winter clearance in January and their summer clearance in July. If you're willing to wait longer into the season, stores will mark their clothing up to 80% off original prices.

Let's say it's winter and you have a child that currently wears a size four. Look for clothing in size five for the next winter season. A friend and I used this system for eight years for our children and never had a problem with an item of clothing not fitting. If your child grows like a weed, buy two sizes bigger.

Don't forget to look in the shoe department during these times, too. If your child currently needs shoes at the end of the season, you're in luck. Stores will be weeding out heavier-style shoes (leather and suede) and hiking boots at the end of winter and sandals and canvas-style shoes at the end of summer. If you want to try buying shoes for the next year, give it a chance. The typical child's foot grows 1-1/2 sizes a year.

Resale Shops

These stores are flourishing all over the country. To find them, look for advertisements in parenting periodicals or in the phone book. Ask friends and neighbors if they know of any in your area. These stores specialize in gently-used children's clothing, shoes, toys, and baby equipment. My boys are now teenagers, so it's harder to find clothes at resale shops in their size. But, I still hunt the resale shops for clothing for my two young nieces. Dresses have been my best finds, as I find they're barely worn. A little girl may wear a beautiful dress for Easter or Christmas and then never wear it again. You can pick up a dress like this for as little as $4.

Another boon to the resale shops is that some of them are consignment shops. You can make money by bringing in the clothing that your children have outgrown and the store will give you a percentage of the sales. Just make sure the clothes you bring in are seasonal, freshly washed, and pressed if needed.

Garage Sales

You may have to look harder for size, selection, and quality at garage sales, but they are worth your time and effort to save money. Buy your local newspaper on Thursday (or save more money by going to the library and looking through the paper). Look in the ads for garage sales that are coming up that weekend. If there's a subdivision garage sale, so much the better. Circle the ads that advertise children's clothing and map out your route for the day. Pack up the baby and the stroller and be prepared to do some walking.

eBay

Think of this website as an online garage sale. You can find anything you want or need, including children's clothing. A recent look found a seller offering a set of six items of clothing. The set included overalls, shorts, and jumpers in size 6 to 9 months, all for only $15. A search for girl's clothing brought up a Flapdoodles dress for $6. Yet another click of the mouse found a set of three shirts and three jeans (from HealthTex and The Gap) for $15.

Sewing

If you are talented with needle and thread, consider yourself lucky. Look for children's clothing patterns at garage sales. Material is always on sale, especially at the end of the season. That is the time to buy it and save it for the next year. Buy cotton at the end of summer and whip up shorts and summer dresses the next year. Buy flannel at the end of winter and make your kids cozy pajamas the next time the winds start howling. You can also save money by making your children's Halloween costumes. Besides, they're more creative than the store-bought ones.

Other Tips

If you have several children, or if you're shopping with relatives or friends in mind, keep a list of current sizes on an index card in your purse. It's too hard to memorize those ever-changing sizes.

As children grow, so will their needs. If you come across a bargain, whether it be a tricycle or a winter coat two sizes too big, buy it. Even if your baby is still in diapers, a great deal won't be any cheaper in the upcoming years.

Don't overlook hand-me-downs. Save clothing to pass down to a younger sibling. Thankfully accept clothing from relatives, friends, and neighbors.

Donate any outgrown clothes to a charity (Salvation Army, Goodwill, Purple Hearts) and take a tax deduction. To figure out the fair market value of your used clothing, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org. Type in "valuation guide" in the search box and go from there.

For little ones, buy overalls with adjustable straps so they can wear them through a couple of sizes. Hem or roll up the bottom.

Buy socks in the same brand and color. That way, if one should get lost, the remaining one sock always has a mate.

~*~Brenda~*~
mom to Drew (16) High School At Last!
mom to Ally (10) 4th Grade, Baby! WooHoo!

Parenthood:  That state of being better chaperoned than you were before marriage.  ~Marcelene Cox  Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.  ~Marilyn Penland
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#2 of 5 Old 08-27-2004, 05:09 PM
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I am a HUGE end of season clearance shopper. Rarely is there a time that Haley and Zach don't have a closet full of new clothes waiting for the next season. Right now as fall things are coming down and starting to get worn, next summer's things are going up.

Elaine White

I'd love to be the ideal mother but I'm too busy raising my kids.

Haley Olivia 8-17-96 ~ Zachary Tyler 4-30-01 ~ Asher Mackenzie born an angel 2-26-03 ~ Brenna Grace 5-4-06
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#3 of 5 Old 08-27-2004, 08:07 PM
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I love buying end of season!
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#4 of 5 Old 08-28-2004, 01:07 AM - Thead Starter
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I do this all the time. I bought Ally the cutest swimsuit for $1.24. She was 6 months old and the suit was a size 2T! I just put it away in the closet until she could wear it. It's pretty much the only way I can afford to shop! And they get great looking clothes for pennies on the dollar.

~*~Brenda~*~
mom to Drew (16) High School At Last!
mom to Ally (10) 4th Grade, Baby! WooHoo!

Parenthood:  That state of being better chaperoned than you were before marriage.  ~Marcelene Cox  Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.  ~Marilyn Penland
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#5 of 5 Old 09-03-2004, 11:38 PM
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I just bought a swim suit for next year for rhyne and it was $1!! plus 2 dress thingies that go over your suit for $1 each too!!

I was so excited! I might go back and get a couple of more swimsuits in different sizes!
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