Saturday, June 25, 2011

Baby On a Budget: Clothing Edition

Every year there are statistics released stating the cost of raising a child.  Every year the cost grows.  Once we found out I was expecting I made it my personal goal to bust the myth that raising a baby is expensive.  To my understanding children become more expensive the older they become, so while E is little I am actively trying to spend as little as possible.  Because hind sight is 20/20, here is everything I would have told my newly pregnant self about clothing my wee one. 

E in a hand-me-down outfit
 Try to Wait To Purchase--Teeny tiny baby outfits are so unbelievably tempting to purchase that it is very difficult not to rush out & buy a ton as soon as your stick says pregnant.  They also seem to be something that loved ones like to give as gifts.  Even if you don't have a shower, you may receive more gifts or hand-me-downs than you anticipated, so TRY to wait to buy clothing.  In our experience we had more clothes than Emerson could ever wear for the first six months of her life.  If you are tempted to purchase clothing ahead, purchase for later months, as people tend to give clothes for infancy.

Garage Sale Baby Gap Outfit for $
Don't Hesitate To Buy Used--Children grow so unbelievably quickly in their first year of life that many of their clothes are only worn a handful of times before they outgrow them.  Used clothes are often found in a like new state, & are a fraction of the price.  The best deals can be found at yard sales, but don't discount Goodwill or other thrift stores.  Just makes sure to look for stains around the neck & crotches of items.  Added bonus:  Buying used is good for the environment too! 

Clearance Dress from Once Upon a Child & shoe socks bought for free with Kohl's $10 off coupon
Hold Off On Shoes--It is so tempting to buy tiny little shoes for your child, but in my experience most of the more fashionable shoes wouldn't even stay on E's feet.  Aside from warmth in the winter & support once children are walking, going barefoot is often recommended by pediatricians.  I did splurge (with a coupon) & bought some shoe socks, which were quite fetching & did the job well. 

Don't Fall For the Cute Factor-- Babies don't need complete adult like outfits.  This concept has been introduced in the last 20 years or so.  It is perfectly acceptable, & probably more comfortable for the child, to keep your baby in sleepers & onesies.   You can save cute outfits for outings & church, etc, but around the house, a sleeper or onesie is certainly sufficient. 

Think Outside the Pajama Box--You do not necessarily need to purchase pajamas for your baby.  In summer months E either sleeps in a onesie or a tshirt.  In the winter we used sweats in addition to pajamas.  If you can find a cheaper deal on sweats by all means, use those in the winter.  In the summer, don't waste your money on pajamas at all.  Bedtime is a perfect time to put your child in weirdo hand-me-down tshirts, stained long sleeved cotton shirts, &  well worn sweats.  You're going for comfort, not beauty.  

E  & her Uncle Ron showing off her Carter's Sunsuit bought for free with clearance & a Kohl's $10 off coupon
Buy A One Piece--If you do purchase clothing for your child, look for a one piece outfit.  Sunsuits, creepers, or dresses are cheaper than buying a top & a bottom; especially before your child is ready to be potty trained.  For girls who are ready to be potty trained, you can still save money by purchasing dresses. 
Clearanced Children's Place winter coat bought the season before for $10
Start a Clothing Stockpile--Shop clearance 12 months ahead.  At the end of winter look for clearanced coats & thick pajamas.  Buy shopping ahead I have gotten some great deals & have also saved a lot of money.  Last year I found a swimsuit for this summer, as well as the next, on clearance at Target.  Both were less than $2 new.  Waiting till the end of the season is a great way to buy new.

Forget About Clothing Sizes--Keep your child in an article of clothing as long as it fits.  Certain articles of clothing will fit much longer than they are sized.  For instance, long tunic type tops can be used as regular tshirts a year later, or dresses can be used as tunics over leggings.  Also look for bottoms with adjustable waist bands.  These can be tightened & worn months before they are sized & let out as the child grows. You can always roll up pant legs as well.  
Summer dress & Hand-me-down turtle neck for fall
Look for Items That Will Stretch Your Child's Wardrobe--Once winter comes, look for turtle necks & cardigans that can be used in conjunction with warmer weather clothes.  E wore many of her summer dresses well into winter with either a turtleneck or cardigan or both.

Stay In the Baby Section As Long As Possible--Once your child is becoming a toddler it is tempting to purchase 2T clothes.  Try to buy 24 months instead.  While 24 month clothes are cut to be more roomy to accommodate diapers, their advantage is they're still sold with baby clothing & tend to be less expensive than clothes in toddler sizes.  

Bottom line--you do not need to spend a lot of money to dress your child.  Clothes get more expensive the older your child becomes, so take advantage of your child's youth & save yourself a little money. 

1 comment:

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