One way to stretch your budget dollars is to “pass down” clothing. In our case, I had 4 girls before I had my son. Granted, not much of the clothing made it down to the fourth child, but I was able to pass quite a bunch of clothing down from older to younger children. I’ve also passed down clothing between friends and family at our church.
During my years as a single mom, we were gifted with quite a bunch of clothing. Many times, I found that the clothing was stained and tore. I know that some people hate to discard things, but please, if you are going to pass on something, make sure it would be something you wouldn’t mind putting on your own clothing. Passing on torn and stained clothes really isn’t helpful.
If you receive clothing, it’s always good to check: is this a gift or does the giver expect the clothes to be returned? I’ve found that “borrowing” children’s clothing is actually quite stressful. After an experience where one mother became upset over the fact that I couldn’t remove a stain on a borrowed piece, I decided that the stress wasn’t worth the “free” price tag. Since that time, I have refused “borrowed” clothing. Another downside to “borrowed” clothing is keeping track of who lent you the clothing. This can be especially difficult if the lender doesn’t want you to mark the clothing tags with a name.
I have seen some parenting groups that have clothing swaps. You leave items and then you can take an equal number of clothes from the clothing closet. Some churches also have a clothing closet.
If you don’t mind paying shipping costs, you can purchase inexpensive baby clothes in bulk at online auctions. The downside to this is that you can’t actually see what you are buying.
An alternative to this would be to check out consignment shops for infants and children in your area. Again, it may be possible to swap clothing with the consignment shop which would limit your out of pocket expenses. For example, the shop may give you a credit of $25 for the infant clothes you brought in to be sold. With that credit, you can “purchase” other clothes that your child needs at the shop. Although you’ve purchased your child clothing, you actually haven’t spent anything. If you live in an area which has several shops, you can actually do a little comparison shopping to see which consignment store has the best deals and best clothing selection.
Do you have any frugal tips that you’d like to share with our readers? Please post!