Kids clothes on a budget: what's reasonable - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-02-2008, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to figure out how to budget for kids clothing. I am trying to figure out what's a reasonable amount to spend per season/per month, etc...

I have two boys-- one is 3.5, the other is 7 months. The baby is considerably bigger than my older one at this age, so there is a limit to what I can pass on.

I don't have a lot of consignment stores/thrift stores around here. There is a Goodwill "Super Center" or something, but it's easily a good 10 miles from me, so I don't necessarily want to make the trip just for that.

I guess I just need help in this direction. Up until now, my spending on my kids clothes has been a bit haphazard...."Oh, this is cute, he'll wear it, and it's only $5.00 on sale." While I think that I've been pretty careful in terms of not buying too much, I think I could reign it in a bit.

Oh, and I am NOT of the "I will buy a more expensive, higher quality brand because I will be able to pass it down" school.
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:33 PM
 
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i don't really have a budget for kids' clothes. it falls into the miscellaneous category. really, i keep a list in my head of what they need and what they're going to need in the next year or so. then whenever family asks what they need, i'm prepared. i get hand-me-downs from friends and peruse thrift stores when i'm going past anyways and otherwise keep an eye out for what i'm going to need soon.
probably when they're older i'll have to actually shell out cash for clothes, but when they're so small clothes are everywhere.
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Old 07-02-2008, 02:44 PM
 
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Hmm.... My first thought is that the Goodwill that's ten miles away will almost certainly still be a deal. Kids' clothes are easy to find at Goodwills - especially if you shop before the back-to-school rush. 20 miles (round-trip) is about a gallon or so of gas. That $4 will probably save you quite a bit of bread, in the long run.

Baby clothes at ours are generally $1.59. Kids' clothes are slightly more, but still way cheaper than buying new.

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Old 07-02-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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Well, at my house we do laundry all the time. So really, we only need maybe 7 outfits max for a given season/size. I have exactly 7 pairs or pj's and have never run out bc I do laundry at elast 2x/week.

So at any one time:
7 shirts
7 pants
7 onesie undershirts in the winter for the baby
7 pairs socks
2 pair shoes at a time (reg shoes plus sandals in summer and boots in winter)
1 coat
7 pairs pj's
Am I missing anything? Even if you bought it all new at Target you can get shirts and pants for about 5$ each. Socks 7$ a pack. Coat 20$ unless you live somewhere really cold. pj's 7$ each. shoes 30$ each (we buy pretty expensive shoes but that could be cut way down). Onesies or underpants for the toddler 15$.

That is how I would calculate it out.

We usually get half the stuff we need for gifts which helps a lot. Then I tend to buy one *nice* outfit each season, usually from Gymboree, for if we need to dress up for something.

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Old 07-02-2008, 02:58 PM
 
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I think taking the trip to Goodwill will be worth it. Our goodwill has half off clothing days every wed. You can get an article of clothing for $.50 sometimes. They have lots of kids clothing with the tags still on and many are good quality brand names. I took my first trip to goodwill for clothes for me 2 weeks ago (not even on a half off day) and paid $15 for shoes, 2 pairs of shorts (one old navy, one american eagle) and a skirt (mossimo). I thought it was a great deal.

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Old 07-02-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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Small thrift stores often have kids clothes cheaper than Goodwill. I haven't bought clothes for my kids in recent memory. In fact, I can't remember the last time I bought them clothes. They're 5 and 8 now, and I just got three bags of hand-me-downs from a friend for them.

I personally don't care what my kids wear as long as the stuff is clean and not skanky. They spill on their clothes, get dirty, etc. so why pay much for the clothes?

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Old 07-02-2008, 04:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SuzyLee View Post
Well, at my house we do laundry all the time. So really, we only need maybe 7 outfits max for a given season/size. I have exactly 7 pairs or pj's and have never run out bc I do laundry at elast 2x/week.

So at any one time:
7 shirts
7 pants
7 onesie undershirts in the winter for the baby
7 pairs socks
2 pair shoes at a time (reg shoes plus sandals in summer and boots in winter)
1 coat
7 pairs pj's
Am I missing anything? Even if you bought it all new at Target you can get shirts and pants for about 5$ each. Socks 7$ a pack. Coat 20$ unless you live somewhere really cold. pj's 7$ each. shoes 30$ each (we buy pretty expensive shoes but that could be cut way down). Onesies or underpants for the toddler 15$.

That is how I would calculate it out.

We usually get half the stuff we need for gifts which helps a lot. Then I tend to buy one *nice* outfit each season, usually from Gymboree, for if we need to dress up for something.
I do something similar. Twice a year (usually September and March), I shop during one weekend for the entire next season. I hit our Goodwill, Kid-to-Kid (consignment/resale shop), Target and Old Navy. I then try to pick out clothes that mix and match well. I also do laundry constantly, so I aim for these counts:

12 socks (2 6-packs, all solid white)
12 underwear (2 6-packs, potty learning stage)
6 t-shirts
2 polo or "nice" shirts
2 jeans
2 pants
4 shorts
1 jacket - windbreaker in summer, coat in fall/winter
1-2 pairs of shoes
1 bathing suit
1 hat
2 pjs
I have 1 son and 1 daughter, and since DS is so rough on clothes I don't plan on many hand-me-downs. I do pick up the occasional hand me downs from friends though.

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Old 07-02-2008, 04:25 PM
 
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I shop goodwill, garage sales and online sales for DD's clothes.

At goodwill, a good day will get me dresses for $1.16 each (half price). DD will only really wear dresses right now, so I am trying to stock up on those.

At garage sales, I will spend up to $2 on good quality clothes. Often times, girls clothes are in like new condition, so I think moms of girls have it easier in that regard!

Online, I just shop mega sales at Gymboree and The Children's Place. A dress for $10 is a good deal to me. Gymbo dresses resell at about that price.

Also, Target! I have found the cutest stuff on clearance! I recently found a 4 piece summer pajama set for $3.48, 2 sets of jammies.

I think I spend about $20 per month on DD's clothes. I usually buy for the next season, or for next summer.

I resell everything too, at the consignment shop. That helps, but DD keeps her clothes very clean and she doesn't wear the same outfit very many times.

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Old 07-02-2008, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for these tips....hmmm, maybe I will go to Goodwill one day-- I will wait until DH is closer to home for the day, so I can take the sedan!

I also want to get an idea from you all: what would be a reasonable target pricefor me to get all, for instance, fall clothes for older DS. Lets say that for regular weekday/playing/preschool clothes, I need:

5 pairs of pants/jeans
8 long sleeve shirts
3 short sleeve t-shirts
3 sweaters/sweatshirts
3 pairs PJs
10 pairs socks
10 pair underwear
1-2 pair of shoes
1 winter coat
1 winter hat
1 pair of mittens, plus extra (assuming he'll lose some)

For these items, what would be a good amount to aim to spend? Assume that I could get about half of what I need at goodwill, and will possibly have to supplement from kohls/Old Navy? Should i aim to spend $50 on everything except shoes?

I want to come up with a number that will force me to be frugal, but still give me a bit of wiggle room.
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:23 PM
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I buy season clearance for the next year or even year after. I try and do 7-10 outfits per size plus a spring fall jacket and a winter jacket.
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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I shop the thirft stores about once every season, getting a complete wardrobe for each girl. I also "shop" freecycle and hand-me-downs from friends with older children (passing my dd's items along to younger friends or to the mdc holiday helper thread). And I request specific clothing items (snowsuit, winter boots, tshirts, sun dresses, socks, etc) if a friend or family member asks about gifts they could give.

I spend roughly 50 dollars/year for each girl (including winter coats and boots). My 3yo's summer wardrobe is:

8 pants
8 shorts
10 short sleeve shirts
8 dresses/sun dresses/long tunics
2 long sleeve fleece jacket/pull over tops
2 sleep outfits
28 unders (she recently potty learned and EVERYONE bought her unders )
14 pairs of socks
a swin suit
a sun hat
rain coat
jean jacket
sneakers, sandals, faux crocs, rain boots

The unders were mostly gifts, the short sleeved shirts were a bday gift from Gramma, the jean jacket a gift from her uncle, and the shorts a gift from my mom. Everything else was purchased at local thrift stores for less than a dollar per item, many of them are name brand items (a few still had original tags).

My 1yo's summer wardrobe is:

5 short sleeve onsies
5 cotton tshirts
2 shirt/pant combos
10 pairs soft cotton pants (she is still crawling and I like to have her knees covered)
5 sleep outfits (she leaks )
a fleece jacket
a knit jacket
2 pairs of circo soft shoes
a sun hat

Her wardrobe is mostly thrift, though the shirt/pant combos were handed down nearly new from a friend and the knit jacket was made by another friend.

I think that if you figure the price of gas, a single trip to the thrift store may pay off. Freecycle is another option, as is purchasing a "job lot" through craigslist or ebay. If you can organize a clothing swap with other families that can be fun... everyone brings X number of items and can take X home with them. You might also check out http://thethriftshopper.com/sections...tory/forms.htm There could be closer thrift stores that you haven't found, or stores that would be worth the extra gas money in terms of selection. And even if you're shopping Target you can find decent discounts! Before we were gifted with shorts I was looking around and Target had boys cotton shorts on sale for 99cents.

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Old 07-02-2008, 05:32 PM
 
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fall clothes for older DS. Lets say that for regular weekday/playing/preschool clothes, I need:

5 pairs of pants/jeans
8 long sleeve shirts
3 short sleeve t-shirts
3 sweaters/sweatshirts
3 pairs PJs
10 pairs socks
10 pair underwear
1-2 pair of shoes
1 winter coat
1 winter hat
1 pair of mittens, plus extra (assuming he'll lose some)

For these items, what would be a good amount to aim to spend? Assume that I could get about half of what I need at goodwill, and will possibly have to supplement from kohls/Old Navy? Should i aim to spend $50 on everything except shoes?
Well, at my local Salvo, children's clothing items are rarely more than a dollar each. Winter coats are 5-8 dollars in season and winter hats/mittens usually 25cents. The socks/unders you'd want new so say 5-8 dollars for the socks and the same for the unders. And here Target/Kmart are less expensive than Old Navy/Kohls so you may want to comparison shop the items you can't find at a thrift store.

Prices will vary but $50 would more than do it!

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Old 07-02-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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Being not very frugal I think you could do it for 100. So if you are going to hit Goodwill I bet you could do 50 no problemss.

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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I am a Old Navy and Children's Place stocker as well as Kohls and Target. They always seem to have good deals...especially if you can buy a year ahead.

Now maybe you can just pick up some tshirts super cheap that are really cute and then when it gets chilly, get some turtle necks or longsleeve ts that are super cheap and layer...

Children's Place always has super cute sweats too...

Kohls and Target have the most amazing sales ever...my MIL bought my son 4 or 5 pairs of very nice shorts at the end of last summer for 1.47...yes that's right!
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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Can you go to garage sales? I'll probably spend a total of $30 for DD's 3T wardobe, including a winter coat and boots if I can find them. I generally pay .25 an item for baby/toddler clothing, sometimes .50. I won't pay more than that unless it's a nice dress, shoes, or a winter jacket. I guess the prices would depend on the area you live in, but I've garage saled in MI, CO, and MT and haven't had any trouble finding baby/toddler clothes in those price ranges. Oh, and I might end up spending a total of $30-$45 on 2-3 pairs of good quality flexible soled shoes for DD unless I luck out at garage sales since I'm picky about the shoes she wears.

Also, as PP's have mentioned, sometimes Target has really good clearance deals. And at least one of our local thrift stores marks clothes down by the week, so if I go I look to see which colors of tags are 50% or 75% off that week and am more likely to get those clothes. I've also found some cheap good-quality shoes on eBay (every once in a while), the Trading Post (when they had the old one), and other swapper or FSOT boards.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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Thrift stores and consignment stores cost as much as new on sale. I usually don't bother with them. Sometimes I will buy off the mama boards if it's a good deal.

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Old 07-02-2008, 06:31 PM
 
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Thrift stores and consignment stores cost as much as new on sale.
I think it depends on region... I don't pay more than a dollar a item, often as little as 25-50 cents per item for nearly new thrift items. Even on clearance it's tough to beat that! However... are there certain stores you have found really great sales at? Our Target sometimes has clearance on children's items in the 1-5 dollar range which works out for "shopping ahead", though I'd probably choose the sturdier brand on thrift than the Target brand on clearance in terms of being able to get more wear out of an item (though OP did say she doesn't need to hand down stuff).

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Old 07-02-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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Thrift stores and consignment stores cost as much as new on sale.
I haven't found this to be the case at all. Maybe some consignment stores, but certainly not thrift stores.

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Old 07-02-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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I have three kids. I budget $75 a month. That includes winter gear, shoes, special occaision clothes, etc.

I think you could get by with less since your guys are so young. but I Think $25 a month per kid is a good cap.

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Old 07-02-2008, 07:30 PM
 
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I haven't found this to be the case at all. Maybe some consignment stores, but certainly not thrift stores.
Well around here it's the case. I go to some places and they want WM prices for their used stuff, forget about finding good clothes at the thrift stores here too, what they do have is stained clothes for $3 a shirt and $5 for pants.

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Old 07-02-2008, 08:21 PM
 
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Whoa! According to your note you are in Chicago? You have an absolute bonanza on your hands. I usually go to the Village Thrifts which have tons of great kids clothes and I AM of the school that better lasts longer. I usually spend about 20-25 per season on Dd's clothes-and thats nice things, often Hanna, Lands End, etc. She wears a lot of dresses-and I normally pay about 2.00 per dress unless it is for Shabbat or Holidays. I've found excelent quality NEW shoes tags & all for under 5.00. My faves are the Village on Milwaukee ave (a room of nothing but kids clothes), and the Roscoe Village (Downstairs is all kids clothes & shoes). Her winter coat last year was a Columbia Ski Coat-knee length. They have 1/2 price holiday sales too- I think one is coming up this weekend that are PACKED with people, but have great deals.
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:26 PM
 
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We have really spendy thrift and consignment stores around here too -- it's almost cheaper to buy from Kohls or Target during the terrific, almost-constant sales. I actually got a Kohl's charge to get the once-a-month deals for cardholders that can save an extra 15-30% off each time (DH and I get almost all our wardrobe there).

We are lucky here in that we have twice yearly consignment sales run by local moms that have great prices (one is called Just Between Friends and is a national franchise -- maybe you have one near you?). The great part is that you can consign your own older items and shop before everyone else -- I got DD *tons* of clothes (she's messy and goes through 2-3 outfits a day!) essentially for free because I broke even on selling and purchasing this spring.

HTH!
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whoa! According to your note you are in Chicago? You have an absolute bonanza on your hands. .

I forgot to change that....I am a W.Rogers Park expat! My location should be, "missing Chicago, but enjoying the MD winters"

Anyway, thank you all for these suggestions. I appreciated getting some concrete numbers from you. It's helpful to have some starting numbers to work with. I am going to aim for $25 a month for my older son, and a little less for my baby (maybe $15 or 18) and take it from there, reevaluate if need be.

When would it be worthwhile to hit Goodwill for fall and winter stuff?
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:24 AM
 
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I usually get most of my kids' stuff from Goodwill, but during the summer, yard sales are great for finding really cheap stuff. I hit up one last summer that had all kids' clothes for $.10--nice stuff too!

Single mama to DD 10/18/03 and DS 9/15/05 

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Old 07-03-2008, 12:35 AM
 
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my local thrift stores are also $$. Most things are $3-5 and with stains and holes.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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You could try posting a "wanted" ad on freecycle. We've both given and gotten clothes there.

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14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 07-03-2008, 01:49 AM
 
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keep an eye on consignment stores. when they h ave sales they are way cheaper than goodwill. At the end of the season both our consignment shops have $1 sales and we load up (and I am talking good brands - tommy, gymboree, Gap, etc) Some of it doesn't work out but for $1 . . .we also got a 3 peice gymboree coat set for $12 at the end of season sale. New was close to $90 and their full price was $35. So if you do have some consignment stores (goodwill is not a good source) watch there for end of season.

and don't forget the trading post here. and ebay for off season sales. people clean out their closets and want to just get rid of stuff.

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Old 07-03-2008, 03:10 AM
 
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I get a lot of my kids' clothes from gifts and also from swaps. I love to get together with friends and share what we have. It always comes back to me.

I also have a consignment store that I love. I may not pass them on to my other kids but some brands resell really well.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:06 AM
 
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Well around here it's the case. I go to some places and they want WM prices for their used stuff, forget about finding good clothes at the thrift stores here too, what they do have is stained clothes for $3 a shirt and $5 for pants.
This is the case in my area as well. It is cheaper for me to shop TCP/Kohl's/Target clearance sections.

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Old 07-03-2008, 09:42 AM
 
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This is the case in my area as well. It is cheaper for me to shop TCP/Kohl's/Target clearance sections.
Yup, I second/third that.
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