When I was pregnant with our girl twins, several baby showers were given for me. I marveled over all the tiny outfits, sure that I had plenty of darling onesies, footed sleepers, and ruffled dresses to keep them well dressed for months to come.
As babies do, the girls grew quickly. Soon I realized that I was going to need to replenish the twins’ wardrobes with larger sizes. The question was, “How do I do this on a budget?”
The answer for me has been to shop the end-of-season clearance sales. I just purchase the clothing a size or two larger than what we currently need and save the outfits for future use. I have found several stores to be a treasure trove of budget-stretching clothing. Target is probably my favorite store for this. I have regularly found clothing for my girls at 30%-90% off.
Early on, I discovered that I needed to manage this clothing, otherwise I tended to miss needed items or I ended up miscalculating and having more than the number of pairs of toasty pajamas that I needed for a given year.
My solution has been a two-step system: First, I have several large clear-lidded storage tubs in my garage. I make labels with the clothing size for each tub. As I find wonderful bargains, I put the clothing into the tub with the proper size. Second, I keep a small notebook in my purse. I keep a list of the sizes and items that I have already. On a separate page I list clothing needs. As I find things, I make sure to update my inventory. I try to buy clothing in simple styles that won’t look dated.
We later added a third child, another girl, to our family. The baby of our family wears her older siblings’ hand-me-downs. As a result, we have relatively little cash outlay for her wardrobe needs.
For relatives who wish to purchase clothing items for the girls, I give them a specific need. For example, the girls all have spring birthdays, so asking for a sundress, shorts set, or bathing suit is a wonderful way for someone to give them a useful and much-appreciated gift.
My husband often marvels at the price tags on this clothing. “$1.99 for this jacket or these pajamas?” When he looks at the regular prices, I can see a gleam of pride in his eyes. I feel terrific that I am contributing to our family’s well-being by being a careful shopper. Spending less money on our clothing needs frees up money in our budget for other higher-priority needs.
Kathy Felton is a SAHM of 3 girls and a member of Frugal Families. This article was written for Frugal Families.