Do you find it frustrating that clothing your children can be so expensive?
Are you fed up of your children growing out of their clothes before they have even had a chance to wear them?
And they seem to need so much stuff!
Perhaps you are conscious that buying so many clothes is not only a waste of money but bad from the planet too.
Is buying cheap clothing the answer or does that short term gain result in long term damage?
In this short blog post I share 6 ways that we can save money when we buy children’s clothing – with the added bonus that is will also go towards saving the planet too!
1. Planning Ahead
Did you know that the value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion?
And that it is estimated we send £140 million worth of clothing to landfill each year?
That is such a vast amount of clothes isn't it?
One of the best ways to save money is to stop impulse purchases and plan what you need to buy in advance.
But much like going grocery shopping with a list results in less random cake purchases (surely not just me?) planning what our children have in their wardrobes can save money.
Before you hit the shops or open the shopping app on your phone, ask if you really need to buy something new.
I bet you will find more often than not you don't need to buy anything new at all - which saves money!
Last week I did an audit of my children’s clothing and discovered they had so much more than I realised.
READ MORE HERE: How Many Clothes Do Children Really Need?
If only I looked before I bought, I could probably save myself a fortune! They don’t really need anything – I already have the next size up stashed away, and the drawers of full of things they hardly wear.
2. Use What You Already Have
The next time you get a letter for a fancy dress day at school or you need a costume for a birthday party why not see what you already have at home that you can use?
Being creative with our kids clothes and teaching them to make do rather than needing to have the exact thing isn’t a bad this either.
If a costume requires a plain top for example, you might have one that is the right colour but with a logo or picture on the front. Instead of buying something new could you child wear it inside out?
Why not pop a long sleeve top under a party dress to wear a summer dress in the chillier months.
Just thinking differently about what we have in our wardrobes, putting together different outfits and trying different combinations of clothes can mean we dont need to buy anything new either. This works for us as grown ups and our children!
3. Borrow or Swap
If you don’t have the item you need in the wardrobe, and there is nothing that you can use to make do, then why not consider borrowing it or swapping with a friend.
My sisters all have children a similar age to me and we are constantly passing clothes between us.
When it was Christmas jumper day at school we just worked out which ones, from the pile of jumpers already owned, would fit which child. No need to buy new ones - with 8 children between us there was bound to be something that fitted most of the children!
If you have friends with children a similar age, perhaps you could host a swishing party.
Swishing is a really fun clothes swap party - a great way to get some new stuff for you or your kids wardrobes and you get to meet up with friends too.
The rules are really simple too...
- Everyone brings at least one item of good quality clothing to add to the rails
- Browse the rails for half an hour
- When browsing time is up, choose your items from the rail
- Go home with some new-to-you things!
Find out more about Swishing on the official swishing website!
4. Buying Pre-Loved Clothes
Buying second hand, or pre-loved clothes is another really great way to save money.
In October 2017 I wrote about various places to sell your no longer needed kids clothes – but equally you can buy from there too!
READ MORE: Reduce, reuse, recycle...and resell?
NCT sales, charity shops, eBay and various Facebook groups are all great places to get good quality children’s clothing at a fraction of the price.
It is also worth remembering that charity shops don’t just sell second hand clothes.Our local Scope shop has new samples and second-quality item from Boden in fairly often. Last week I got a gorgeous dinosaur skirt for £5 - and they had loads for grown up in too!
Charity shops often have a rail of new clothes - and you can find some real bargains!
If you spend time on Facebook why not join some pre-loved kids clothes Facebook groups. Some great Facebook groups to get quality pre-loved clothes are
- Handmade Clothes Resales - a place to buy and sell some gorgeous handmade clothes from smaller sellers and numerous 'work at home mums'
- Preloved WAHM Goods - one of the bigger and more active groups. A great place to buy a whole range of reasonably priced, beautiful handmade kids clothes!
- New WAHM Goods - in case you buy something and can’t return it! Sell on new goods here
- Fabulous Pre-Loved Kids Clothes
5. Buy in the Sales
Shopping the sales is a great way to save money - but only if you plan it properly (see point 1!)
I have been known to wander aimlessly around, picking out things I like but don’t really need and that doesn’t save anyone money!!
So check your child's wardrobe and write a list of what they need.
Is there anything in the next size up that you could buy and it by for next year?
Big ticket items like coats are often a good sale purchase. As is buying things that are out of season and you can get some really great deals too.
You can find big savings on summer clothes for your summer holidays in the January sales for example.
6. Buy Good Quality Clothing
With the rise of fast fashion it is tempting to buy cheap clothes that look nice but really don’t last.
And clothes that don’t last are just a waste of money.
They can’t be passed down through families or friends and are often falling apart of misshapen after just a few washes.
Good quality clothing, although more expensive in the short term, can be a really money saver in the longer term.
They can be washed, mended, passed on and passed back again means that you buy less overall and therefore save money.
How Saving Money Can Save the Planet
You might be wondering how saving money when you buy kids clothes can also save the planet.
But it's simple.
Clothing has the 4th largest environmental impact after housing, transport and food.
Planning what we need to buy results in us buying less. The less we buy the less impact we have on the environment around us.
Although it might fee pointless but every small change can really make a difference.
So plan your clothes shopping, use what you already have and borrow or swap with friends if possible.
Only buy new if you really have to.
I'd love to hear the ways you save money when shopping for kids clothes. What tips can you share and pass on?
If you want to learn more about buying new clothes that are better for the planet and why you might want to consider ethical childrens clothes here are some previous blog posts.