Friday, April 8, 2011
Clothing for three little girls...part 2 (saving $$)
Shopping!! I love the word... and most times the action. This, of course, solely depends on the presence, absence or behavior of the girls.
When Maddi was a solo child, I pretty much shopped at Target and Kohls for her clothes with the very occasional Old Navy/Gap/Gymboree/TCP thrown in. I would shop consignment stores and Kid to Kid and try to find the best "deals" on items. As she grew out of sizes, I began saving EVERYTHING in bins labeled by size and season in case baby #2 was also a girl. Well, she was. So, as I pulled out and sorted through Maddi's old clothes to create a closet for Isabelle, I decided to take the clothes I knew I wouldn't "reuse" to a kids store and sell them. Well, imagine my surprise when they took about half the items and said they could donate the rest! What? These are perfectly good clothes - just the wrong size/season for us!! I was so annoyed.
Have you ever experienced that??
So, I went home and started reserching. What kinds of clothes resell then? If I can't get something back out of the clothes I buy, then are they worth spending good money on? Or do we just wear them out completely and then donate? That seems like a waste of money - especially when kids continually need new clothes! There's got to be a way to recycle clothes and keep kids clothing costs low!
If you've ever shopped for used clothes, you, probably like myself, look for brand and condition. You (and I) want good brands (they hold up the best!) in good condition. SO it makes sense that those are the only clothes that resale/consignment shops would want! Also, same at garage sales. I have always noticed that my name brand stuff is immediately gone and the lower quality sits to the end to be donated. So, that must mean that if I want to resell my girls clothes, they need to be brand name and in good condition. Great. I don't have the $$ for brand name! Or do I???
Our clothing budget was about $90/month or $30/child/month. Give or take what each child may "need" in a given season. So I came up with the rules for every shopping trip I go on:
Rules for Shopping:
1. Never shop without a sale.
2. Never shop without a coupon.
3. Shop ahead. Once your kids hit the Toddler sizes (2T, 3T etc), you can pretty much guarantee that they will wear both a winter and summer wardrobe in that size.
4. Shop often. If I am consistently picking up things, I don't EVER end up with a budget busting trip because suddenly my child grew and needs pants and I have none.
Here's what I found - if you stick to those rules, you can buy name brand clothes for little money - even less than what you would pay for a used item at a resale shop and you're getting it brand new! Here's an example:
Gymboree - ALWAYS has off season clearances, they just might not be on the floor! If you ask a sales associate, they will bring out whatever they have in back for a given size. I purchased the following outfit for Sophia from Gymboree at PV Mall in December (summer size 18-24M, she was wearing size 6-12M at the time):
*Short sleeve Onesie with embroydered lion and flowers: Originally $14.75, on Clearance $2.99
*Lion and flower print cotton capri pants: Originally $12.75, on Clearance $4.99
Add on an additional 30% off for their "Circle of Friends" event and I paid $5.58 for a $27.50 outfit. That's over 80% savings!
Then, I will resell this outfit next spring at a consignment sale for $6. I will take home $4.20 of that meaning that this outfit cost only $1.38. And did I mention it's Gymboree?!?!
Here's a boy example from just THIS week at Old Navy:
*One long sleeve baseball style shirt with dinosaur and matching blue cotton cargo pants: Originally $12.50, on Clearance $4.49
Add an additional 30% off for their current clearance sale and that brought it down to $3.14. Add an additional 20% off printed coupon and final price was $2.52, again, over 80% savings. It will resell for $4 in a fall consignment sale with my take home being $2.80. That means I will MAKE $0.30 on this outfit AFTER it's been worn by our son.
SO, I realize (for those of you working mommies) that this takes time and dedication. And you're right it does. It takes planning and research on sales and couponing - and it takes time to shop, storing bins of various sizes and seasons, so this might not be a solution for you. But for us, I strongly feel that part of my job in staying home is to SAVE us money - however I can. This process has helped us sooo much - especially having three (soon to be 4) kids now!
In my previous post I said that at the last sale, I made over $400. That's over 4 months of clothing budget for us. Considering I participate in the sale every 6 months, our clothing (and shoe) budget is down to under $300 a YEAR or less than $25 a month for all 3, soon to be 4 kids. And they constantly have new name brand clothes to wear. AND I can get them their "coordinating" sets.
This has been a WIN in this house. Plus I love the game of seeing just how much I can save.
If you want any of my tips for shopping sales and matching coupons please just ask - I am here to help save mama's money in any way I can!
**Also, I want to note that we also share, donate and hand-down clothes. Because I've become increasingly good at bargain shopping, I'm able to only have to resell a handfull of the girls clothes to meet our budget for the following 6 months :)