Clothing the Little Ones

With the addition of little ones into a family many new expenses begin to appear. Today, I walked into Walgreens just to purchase diapers. The cashier looked shocked as I brought nine packages of diapers up to the counter. (You know me, there was a sale, I had coupons, and it was a killer deal.) Some of these expenses are inevitable. You can’t get around diapering your child. But, there are ways to cut the cost.

Clothing is one of these inevitable expenses. You can’t get away with not clothing your children. However, while they are little and don’t have major opinions about brand name clothes or styles, now is the time to take advantage of “shopping the cycles.”

I am sure there is a better name for this, but alas, the creative juices are a little stunted today. Shopping in cycles for our family means that I am always looking ahead and purchasing clothes and shoes that will fit in the future. At the end of each season, stores put many of these seasonal clothes on clearance or have major sales to rid themselves of last season’s clothes. It is here, with a little planning, you can score big.

Many of the clothes that my children will need in this winter have already been purchased. I have them stored away, awaiting the cooler months. With summer here, the kids are wearing clothes purchased for them last year. It takes a little getting used to and it does not always work perfectly, but here are some tips that I have learned along the way:

Guess their sizes too big instead of too small. Pants and shorts can be fixed with belts. Other items can shrink a little in hot water and then again in the dryer.

Don’t buy all the same size for a child that is young and growing quickly. Last year, Daughter was only a couple months old and I was out buying this summer’s clothes. I wasn’t sure exactly what size she would be, but I estimated using her brother’s growth and her rate of growth thus far. I purchased clothes in sizes 12 months as well as 18 months. Now, she has outgrown some of the 12 months items, but not all and I have given her some room to grow. Son was different. With him being three, he is at a point where he is growing lengthwise but not around the tummy so he has been wearing the same size for a while.

Shoes on sale can be purchased just about any time. Kids always need tennis shoes. Our kids always need shoes for church and they can wear sandals for a large chunk of the year. Every time we need to go to Target, I walk down the children’s shoe isle. (same with Walmart and Kohl’s) There are always shoes that are being clearanced. I may not know exactly when my children will end up wearing these shoes, but this is for sure, they will grow into this size eventually.

The more you shop, the more you will be able to spot a good deal. I don’t like to purchase things unless they are at least 50% off the original price. (Sometimes, when I have not planned well enough for shoes, I can only find them 30% off and I grumble to myself the entire way to the checkout.

Would you believe that even socks and underwear go on clearance? You can find everything that your child needs for a fractions of the retail price.
Something to think about: (My son believes getting dressed is simple. He just wants to wear his underwear around all day long. If I ask him to put clothes on, he simply adds a pair of boxers over the underwear – easy enough.)

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