If you have children you know how quickly they outgrow, stain, or ruin their clothing. Keeping them outfitted could cost a small fortune but not if you learn to shop correctly. If you have a little bit of extra room in your home, learn how to buy clothes off season and on clearance to save money. With a little effort you can provide a complete wardrobe of clothes that your kids will love and that will keep money in your wallet.
First, have a good idea of your child’s actual size; not just what the tags on their clothes state. Since you will be buying for the next season you should know their current weight and height. This is a good idea as you’ll be scouring many different stores and brand sizes can differ greatly.
Begin to get an idea of when your favorite stores start marking down their clothing and shoes. For many stores winter clearance begins around the third week of January while you can start getting summer deals at the end of June through the beginning of July. How much money you save depends on what you need and how long you can wait for the items to get marked down.
You may need to make several “reconnaissance” trips where you gather information about what items are on sale and buy nothing. As long as you can remain disciplined and walk through the store without making additional impulse buys you will save money by waiting and watching.
Eventually you will formulate your own price book. You can write this information down or take a more casual approach by simply knowing your limits. For example, you may decide that after watching mark downs at your local department store that you should really never pay more than $2.50 for a child’s t-shirt since they always seem to have a good stock left at that price point.
Also, many retailers now offer seasonal clothing for holidays and discount these items heavily afterwards. You can pick up these items for almost nothing and many of them can be worn throughout the season (spring-themed shirts marketed for Easter can be used all summer long as can 4th of July merchandise). Pay attention to the clearance prices and you may never to decide to buy retail again for certain items.
Once you have purchased clothes for the next season you have to ensure that you store them properly, otherwise you may end up forgetting about them and losing money instead. Designate a small box for each child that is labeled with his or her name and “Next Season”. Store it in your basement, garage or right in their closet on the floor or shelf. When that first cold snap or heat wave hits you will be prepared with a few new items or a complete wardrobe.