Growing Kids & The Expense of Clothes

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There’s nothing in life more fulfilling, wonderful, or quite as expensive as parenting. Of course, the first two in that sentence make the third worthwhile - but that doesn’t stop the fact that expense is a part of motherhood.

We all know that it’s expensive to raise children. That’s a topic than has been discussed and recalculated time and time again. However, those big numbers have a tendency to skip over the details of where the money goes. And as any parent of a young child can tell you, those are expensive years. There are the usual costs of daycare, entertainment, and health coverage, but then there’s the big one: clothes.

Kids just grow so fast, don’t they? As soon as you’ve found a cute outfit to dress them in and admired it, they already seem to be growing out of it. It doesn’t sound like it should be such a major expense, but as time bolts past at an ever-more relentless speed, it all begins to feel like it’s adding up.

So how can parents on a budget limit the impact the requirement of such a basic necessity has on their finances?

Keep It Simple When They’re Young.  Yes, baby and toddler clothes are adorable. Little booties! Cute hats! Gorgeous summer dresses! You just want them to have the best and look amazing; it’s a natural parenting instinct.

The only problem is that those items aren’t going to fit for long. For some reason, we label kids’ sizes in terms of years, as if a single garment will fit them for an entire 12 months. It’s laughable, especially between the ages of two and four.

So during those transition years when the big changes happen, keep it really simple. Buy what they need for basic function, then a few special outfits, then call it quits.

Use Your Money Sense. There are ways and means of making sure that you don’t ever spend the tag price for clothes. You’ve got sites like to consult before buying, while the likes of have some smart ideas on what you should look to buy depending on the season.

Then there’s the sales to take advantage of. If you find a useful item that will always be needed, then don’t just buy it in your child’s current size - buy a few for future usage, too. There’s no guarantee you’ll find the same good price when you come to need it in a few years time.

Get Thrifty.  The idea of buying secondhand clothes is, admittedly, not the most exciting. However, it’s definitely worth considering for the basic clothes that kids wear on a normal day lounging around at home. A good wash and they’ll be as good as new; your child never needs to know that they’re pre-owned clothes either. They might even be brand new; eBay is a great resource for finding “new with tags” items that other parents have bought and since changed their mind on. That leaves a gap for you to snap a garment up at a knockdown price, so keep an eye for anything relevant that might pop up. 

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