Where to Find Cheap Kids’ Clothes
As fast as kids grow, and as rough as they tend to be on their clothes, it just doesn’t make sense to spend a bunch of money on clothing that they may only wear for a short time. So, hang on to your cash, and check out these sources for cheap—or even free—kids’ clothes.
Join a moms group to connect with other moms in your area. This will give you a network to tap into for advice and play dates, and could prove to be an excellent source for free, or cheap, hand-me-downs.
Many moms groups host clothing swaps a couple times a year, where members bring their kids’ outgrown clothing and swap them for the next size up. This is a fun way to “shop” for your kids without spending a cent.
To find a moms group in your area, just do a web search for “moms groups near me.” There are even parents groups that welcome dads.
Facebook Yard Sale Groups
Use Facebook to shop for second-hand kids’ clothes. Lots of people have set up yard sale groups for their local community, where members can buy and sell items they no longer need. There are even groups that are specifically for selling kids’ items. Your town probably has several.
Just use the search bar at the top of your Facebook feed to find them. Try your city’s name and “yard sale.” Also try “sale group” and “buy sell trade.” More often than not, these groups are closed, so you’ll have to request access from the administrator to be able to see what members are selling.
Once you’re in, go over the rules, and study how members interact with each other before you try to make a purchase. Facebook yard sale listings usually sell quickly, so you need to be ready to pounce when you see something you want.
Check out Facebook Marketplace for even more deals. It works a lot like Craigslist, but tends to be a lot less spammy.
If you find something you want in one of the yard sale groups, or in the Marketplace listings, be sure to pick a safe meet-up location. The parking lot of your local police station is a good spot. Just call dispatch, to let them know you’re coming.
Yard Sales and Garage Sales
Hit up some yard sales on Saturday mornings. They’re hands-down one of the cheapest sources for second-hand kids’ clothes. To increase your chance of finding what you’re looking for, give priority to neighborhoods with lots of young families.
You may not find what you need at the first sale or even the tenth, but if you shop frequently, and get in the habit of buying ahead, you should be able to find most of your kids’ clothes at yard sales.
Tip: If you come across a yard sale with lots of great kids’ clothes, ask the seller if they’d be willing to let you fill a bag for a set price, or give you some sort of volume discount. People are usually pretty eager to get rid of the clothes that their kids have outgrown. It sure beats having to pack them up at the end of the day.
When it’s too cold or rainy to yard sale, shop thrift stores for the best deals on kids’ clothes. Wealthier neighborhoods usually have the best thrift stores, but a treasure could turn up anywhere. Drop by your favorite stores at least once a week to see what's come in since your last visit. If you can crack the code on when new stuff gets put out, you'll do even better.
To stretch your thrift store dollar, be sure to take advantage of any sales, coupons and loyalty programs that are available. Many stores discount a different color tag each week, or offer the occasional bag sale, where you get everything you can stuff in a bag for one price.. Your local thrift stores may even give you a discount for donating grocery bags. Just ask your cashier when you check out.
Kids' Consignment Sales
Shop kids’ consignment sales for the things you aren’t able to find at yard sales and thrift stores. Since consignment sales are usually pretty picky about what they’ll accept, you won’t have to sort through a bunch of so-so stuff to find the gems. Consignment sale prices tend to be higher than yard sale and thrift store prices, but they’re still a fraction of what you’d pay at a retail store. If you want to dress your kid in designer duds, on a big-box-store budget, this is the way to do it.
Many churches and for-profit organizations run consignment sales. Use a consignment sale finder to find upcoming sales near you. There’s usually both a fall and spring sale, so you can update your children’s wardrobes seasonally.
Want to shop at consignment sales for free? Then, sign up to be a consignor. They’ll keep a portion of the profits from anything you sell, and you’ll get the rest as a check. If you sell your kids’ outgrown clothes, you should make enough to cover your own purchases and still make a profit.
If you enjoy the retail shopping experience, check out kids’ resale shops. They stock gently-worn kids’ clothes from top brands. Most take outgrown clothes on consignment, or buy them outright; then, display them just as nicely as any full-price clothing store. There are even dressing rooms to try things on. Expect to pay 50 to 70 percent less than what you’d pay at the mall.
To save even more, just bring them your kids’ outgrown clothes for store credit. Try Once Upon a Child for clothing sizes preemie through youth 20, and Plato’s Closet for teen clothing. Check their website before you go, to see what brands and seasons they’re currently accepting.
Online Thrift Stores
Not interested in running all over town? Need something specific? Or just plain short on time? Then, online thrift stores may be more your speed. They work a lot like a brick-and-mortar resale shop.
Parents send in their kids’ outgrown clothes for shop credit. Then, the company takes pictures of those items and puts them up for sale on their website. What’s neat is that you can quickly search the site for the brands, sizes or types of clothing that you’re after. It’s loads faster than sifting through a bunch of clothing racks, and you can do it any time -- day or night. Just drop the items you want into your shopping cart, and they’ll arrive in the mail a few days later. Easy! And returns are easy, too.
Sound like your kind of shopping? Then, check out ThredUp, Schoola and Swap.com. They’re the three biggest online thrift stores for kids’ clothes. You may be able to get a free credit to use with your first order, so be sure to check for promo codes and offers before you complete your purchase. All three sites run sales regularly, and have more selection than you'll find in your local thrift stores.
If you don’t have a lot of time to hunt for deals, just scoop up kids’ clothing lots on eBay. This is an easy way to get deals on new or used clothing, and works especially well if you’ve honed in on particular brands that fit your kids well.
To save even more time, save your searches, so you can quickly check to see if any new items have been added since the last time you looked. All of your saved searches will appear under the “My eBay” tab.
Prefer to dress your kids in new clothes? Then, shop the end-of-season sales at your favorite stores for next year’s clothes. This means you’ll have to guess what size your kids’ will wear a year from now, but it’s an easy way to save as much as 90 percent, so it’s worth the gamble. And if you guess wrong, you can always sell your new-with-tags clothing to someone else and get your money back.
Children’s Place, Gymboree and Old Navy are just a few stores that are known to have killer clearance sales. Check in store and online for the best selection. Just be sure to put your purchases somewhere you’ll be able to find them next year.
If you don’t mind used clothes, you can save even more by shopping the end-of-season sales at thrift stores and resale shops. They need to clear their racks to make room for new inventory, just like any other store. And they often do it by having quarter sales or bag sales, where you get as much as you can stuff in a bag for a fixed price.