Having a baby is a wonderful thing. As a new expectant parent, you have so many dreams and hopes for your future child. What will they look like? What will they be like? Won’t life be amazing after they are here? And honestly, becoming a parent is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I love my little nugget with every fiber of my being. But for a person so little, she sure does have a lot of stuff. And at the top of the list of “stuff”, is baby clothes.
Baby clothes, oh how I love to hate on you. I make and sell baby clothing. I know sizing backward and forward. I know how to get stains out of white baby bodysuits (because most of what I make is white). I know different brands that fit different ways (Gerber runs smaller than Carters). But I hate how expensive everything is! Having a baby drains your bank account faster than anything I’ve ever seen before, so learning how to keep the cost down is one of the most valuable things you can learn as a new parent.
Ask for hand-me-downs
I know, I know. We all want new things. However, there’s nothing wrong with a few hand-me-downs. Babies outgrow clothing SO fast. You blink and they are the next size up in the beginning. We had outfits my daughter only wore once. Those items are perfect to pass down to another mother! So if you have friends or family with children slightly older than your own, it might be worth mentioning that you’re open to hand-me-downs. It’s worth a shot!
Purchase second hand
If you aren’t gifted hand-me-downs, you can always buy them! A friend turned me on to consignment shopping for baby clothing. We were amazed at how far we could stretch our budget at the consignment store for clothing that in some cases still had tags on! We found some great quality pieces and nobody would ever know differently. For a fraction of the price, my baby had some quality clothing.
Plan out purchases in advance
If you have a rough idea of what you’re going to need, you can take advantage. I had a rough idea of what size my daughter would need for next winter. When winter clothing went on sale earlier this year, I jumped all over it and bought her a new
Buy unisex clothes
If you purchase unisex clothing, you have more of a chance of being able to pass it along to any future children. I have a daughter. If I have a little boy in the future, I wouldn’t want to put him in frilly dresses for
Purchase a larger size
Sometimes it works to purchase an item of clothing in a larger size. This doesn’t work for everything, but you’d be surprised how often this does work. My daughter has a dress that I purchased a size up. It’s too big for her now, but you’d be amazed what a baby bodysuit underneath can do. She can comfortably wear her dress now and I’ll remove the bodysuit when she’s a bit larger and she’ll wear it as intended. I always purchase jackets and sweatshirts in larger sizes because it’s easy to roll sleeves. Kids grow so quickly, so it’s nice to be able to extend the life of the item of clothing a bit longer if you can.
Sell gently used clothing
You know that consignment shop I was talking about earlier? Yeah, well they also buy gently used clothing. I bring clothing that doesn’t have a lot of wear with me and sell it to the shop. I get more money back if I take store credit, so when they are done going through everything, I do my shopping. It’s a great way to save a bit of money and to get the right size and season for my daughter.
Share basic items of clothing
If you have more than one kid, there are certain basics that can be shared between the two. My sister and I were three years apart, but we were able to share things like gloves, scarfs, and hats. We would purchase different colors so that if we wanted to switch, we could. I could get a whole new look without my mother having to purchase any other items! Win-win!
Rent for holidays
There are companies out there that will rent your clothing. I didn’t know about this until I was pregnant and started renting maternity clothing. One such shop is www.theborrowedboutique.com. I haven’t used them yet but I hear great things! I’ve used similar sites for my own clothing and it’s always surprisingly simple. I wouldn’t want to rent for every day, but for a nice holiday outfit, you can get really nice clothing that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg on.
Purchase clothing specifically for hard play
My daughter goes to daycare a few days a week. When she’s there, she plays. And when I say she plays, I mean she plays hard. They go outside every chance they get and roll around on the floor. She paints, puts together arts and crafts, and generally has a ball! The clothing that she wears on those days takes a beating. These clothes are typically clothing items that I don’t spend money on because I know they probably won’t be worth passing on. I pick the most faded pieces that can take abuse. For clothes that she wears when we’re doing something special that has little chance of messes, I might put her in a cuter outfit. I prioritize as best I can and save money in the process.
Go practical over cute
The tutu is adorable. I love them. Honestly, I own one myself because I couldn’t resist during a late night online shopping binge. Guilty as charged! However, the cuter the outfit, the higher the price tag seems to be. It’s so tempting to purchase all the cute outfits, but honestly, you’re best served to spend your hard earned money on practical pieces. They may not be as cute, but they often can take a lot more wear and tear. My daughter nearly ripped apart her first tutu and hated wearing it, so it wasn’t the most successful purchase. Don’t be me.
DIY hack older clothing
Are you a DIYer? Do you have crafty skills? If so, you can hack some of the clothing that your child has outgrown. Does your child have longer legs? The feet can be cut off footie pajamas. Similarly, you can add some fabric to the bottom of a baby bodysuit and create a dress. There are leg lengtheners you could add or arm lengtheners. Pinterest has some wonderful ideas and the more creative the better!
Swap with friends
If you have friends with older kids, you can do a clothing swap. Unlike hand-me-downs, this is a scenario where you swap clothing. It works really well if your children are in alternate order. So if your friend has two kids, ages 3 and 1, and your child is 2, this would work out great! Your friend would swap some of the three-year-old’s clothing for items for the
Treat the clothes right
Taking care of baby clothes goes a long way. There are simple things that you can do to prolong the life of the clothes. Treat stains (and yes there will be a lot of stains). Wash in cold water inside out and hang to dry. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest setting. Wash like clothing together and put items with hook and eye closures in separate bags so they don’t pull on other clothing. It takes a little extra time, but will keep your clothes looking fantastic and ready for the next child that will wear them!
When you spot those cardboard signs that signal that yard sale down the street, check out if they are selling baby items. You can even go a step further and join neighborhood yard sale groups on Facebook. Often these groups will tell you about items that will be sold at a physical yard sale or they will host an online yard sale. You can score some great items inexpensively. This is a great place to pick up play clothes!
Hit up sales
If a sale is going on, take advantage! One of my favorite stores, Carters, often has sales. I keep my eye on their website and put my orders in whenever I can. I’ve gotten some great new items this way. Bonus points for their amazing return policy!
Online coupons and Rewards
Along those lines, Carters also has a rewards program. Because I purchase there regularly, I signed up the first time I went in there. I get points on purchases that I would have bought anyway. Every now and then I save even more by using my rewards points. Online coupon sites are another great resource. RetailMeNot.com is one of my favorites. I always check there to see if there’s a coupon. Honey is a great browser add-on that can check your cart for any promo codes. And finally, Ebates is another fantastic way to save money shopping online. I make sure I check everywhere and have saved quite a bit this way.
Buy in bulk
Sometimes buying in bulk can save you money. Do you know what you need in bulk? Undershirts. Socks. The basics. I can’t tell you how many baby bodysuits we have in our house in all sizes to wear as undershirts or to help with layering. I have a hard enough time making sure the dryer doesn’t eat adult socks, so I’m sure you can imagine what it does to baby socks! Buying these items in bulk can really cut down on expenses a lot!
You also might be able to purchase whole wardrobes in bulk on Facebook in one of the yard sale groups. A lot of people just want to clean everything out and they sell it all together. So many great options!
With all of these tips, you’ll be ready to save some serious cash on your little bundle of joy!
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