Buying baby clothes on a budget.

Who knew shopping for your little one could be so fun and addicting! The clothes these days are out of control cute, but I don’t want to go broke dressing my babe.

Before motherhood, I was a thrift store guru. I loved seeing what I could find for a great price. Fast forward six months into parenthood. The thought of trying to coordinate time to go browse racks of clothing in hopes of finding what I am looking for holds no appeal. And most thrift stores I have gone to are still charging $1-$2 per piece.

What about rummages or garage sales? That is a whole other beast. To get the good deals you must go early….again, no thanks. You don’t know what you are going to find or in what condition and I find people want too much for their stuff nowadays. To me, garage sale prices should be around $0.25-$0.50 per piece for infant clothing; more for sleepers or nicer outfits.

Even if you do get a great deal on some baby clothes: How long will they last? Do they already look worn? What about spit up or other stains?

Don’t get me wrong. You can find some great deals out there and most of the time the items have been worn only a few times. BUT time is money. You spend time and gas to drive around to garage sales and thrift stores without a guarantee of finding anything. If you find great bargains at these places, great- but if you would rather buy new clothes at great prices keep reading!

I buy new name brand clothes at ridiculously cheap prices without spending a ton of time! We want more kids and I want stuff to last as long as possible. We also prefer quality over quantity. So here are a few tips to save big time at department stores and online.

Department Shopping

My favorite kid’s clothing store is by far BabiesRUs. Hopefully you are lucky enough to have one close by. A close second is Kohls. Depending on how your child is shaped this could be different. We are pretty loyal to Carter’s brand, because of the quality and how they fit our cloth diapered baby.

BabiesRUs

  1. Sign up for their RewardsRUs program. The key to getting the best deal possible is getting the most out of your dollar! Once you earn 500 points they send you a $5 rewards coupon that you can use like cash in the store. Also, when you go to print off your rewards coupon there are usually other coupons that you can print off. One of my favorites is a $10 off any clothing purchase of $50 or more.
  2. Sign up for the BabiesRUs credit card if you have control with credit cards. We use it only for purchases at the store and always pay off the balance. Using the credit card for purchases gives you double points (4 points per dollar spent) instead of the normal 2 per dollar without it. Your points accumulate twice as fast this way! I will add that we use the cash envelope system. If I spend $10 at BabiesRUs on the card, I just take that cash out of my ‘Caleb’ section and put it back into the budget.
  3. By signing up for the RewardsRUs program, you will be sent special coupons in the mail. Normal coupons are 20% off one regular price item or 25% off one regular price item when you use your credit card (So many benefits for using the credit card. Ultimately, they want to make money off of you through interest and enticing you to spend more money. Pay it off on time and stay within a budget to beat them at their own game.) About twice a year they send out a 25% off coupon for your total purchase including clearance which is a favorite of mine.
  4. Know when they change seasons. The first week of July is when fall/winter clothes arrive. They have to make room, so they clearance all the summer clothes. Know when this happens in your area to get the biggest selection before it is picked over. Our store put all the summer stuff on clearance and then added a Buy One Get One FREE sale. Oh yeah!
  5. Look for clothing sets. It isn’t super important, but I have found that I get the best deals when I buy outfit sets verses a one piece item. For example: shirts and shorts were on clearance for $8 apiece. I found shirt and short sets on clearance for $8. I was able to get double the pieces for the same price.
  6. There are great Apps for your smartphone that always have coupons. I use SnipSnap and always have a coupon even if nothing came in the mail.
  7. I hear all the time how expensive BabiesRUs is compared to other stores. True, but they price match, have great sales, and offer awesome coupons! I have also found that the staff is amazing and always try to get me the best deal possible.

How do you put this all together during your trip? I printed off my $15 in reward dollars and the $10 off a $50 clothing purchase coupon before I went. I shopped the clearance racks first. (I forgot to mention that BabiesRUs almost always has clothes on sale) I used my 25% off my entire purchase coupon including clearance items, my $15 reward coupon, and the $10 off coupon because I made sure I bought over $50 worth of clothing! And then I received 4 points for every dollar during that transaction to work towards 500 points. I don’t remember the final total, but it was a great shopping trip!

Here is one of my latest BabiesRUs finds. I went to get the sleepsack, because Caleb is starting to get out of the swaddle. Somehow it rang up as part of the 90% off clearance…yes my jaw dropped when she told me it was $2. The swim trunks and shirt are for next summer. The outfit in the middle was a set (see #5 above). My total was $15 and some change making each item $2.50. Not bad at all considering the sleep sack alone is $19.99 normally.  photo(138)

Kohls

I find that Kohls is a great store to shop at online if you don’t want to get off the couch! I was looking for a shirt recently for Caleb’s dedication and saw that they were having great sales on all their summer stuff also. I seized the sales 🙂

  1. Always, always, always use Ebates if you are shopping online. To date, I have received over $150 back from my purchases (We were stationed in Korea for two years, so we did a lot of online shopping). Most stores have money back rewards for Ebates. I looked today and Kohls is offering 6% back on your purchase.
  2. Sign-up to receive mobile alerts from Kohls. Every time you shop you should always have a coupon! I either have it on my phone or get it in the mail.
  3. Sunday fliers- I noticed Kohls will put special coupons in their Sunday fliers. You just have to flip through it to see. The most recent one was $10 off your kid’s apparel purchase of $30 or more. The coupon said it could be combined with other offers such as a 20% off your total purchase coupon on your phone!
  4. Kohl’s Cash. Try to buy when they are offering Kohl’s cash. I placed an order online and received $20 in Kohl’s cash.
  5. Kohl’s Cash #2. The whole point of Kohl’s cash is to get you to buy more later. Always beat them at their own game. I went into the store with my Kohl’s cash to avoid having to spend $75 to get free shipping online.
  6. Shop the clearance racks at the end of the season. All their summer items were on clearance.
  7. Buy ahead. I bought all of Caleb’s summer clothes for next year. He fits into all the normal clothing sizes for his age, so I went ahead and bought 18 months. We also love Carter’s brand and know they will fit him the best. I have found Carter’s to be the best in quality, fit, and durability so far.

Is your head spinning yet? It really isn’t too hard and doesn’t require a lot of time. Buying ahead and at the end of the season is going to save you the most money before coupons anyways.

Here are my Kohl’s purchases from online and in-store recently. A few items are missing, because they are Christmas, shower, and birthday gifts:) Always think ahead. photo(139)

When this was all said and done, I save 72% and averaged $2.66 per piece! Brand new name brand clothing just over $2.50 a piece is a great deal and I didn’t have to leave my living room for over half of it.

Two final tips to make this even easier:

  1. Stay organized. I have bins in the garage that are labeled for each age starting at newborn up to 24 months right now. So, when you go shopping you can first go look quickly at what you have to know where you need to fill in. photo(140)
  2. Have a target price. Like I said earlier, most stores are always running sales. I do a quick calculation to see if the item is worth buying or waiting. I like to keep clothing around $3 or less a piece and sleepers $4-5 a piece depending on the brand. Right now, sleepers are about $8 each on sale because we are coming into the cooler months. In the spring, I bought sleepers for $4-$5 each at BabiesRUs!

And that is how I save a ton of money and time while getting the best deals on clothing that is going to last for the babe and future babes!

 

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