More and more moms and dads are discovering the ease of shopping online for kids' clothes that are in style right now.It's a welcome alternative to crowded department stores - what with the ease of ordering, purchasing, (with no long lines at the checkout!) and generous return policies.
The best time to buy children's clothes? All year long...shop for bargains in late September for school clothes after the back to schoolrush is over, and keep an eye out for post-holiday sales on kids' fancy dresses, sweaters and outfits.
The easiest way to comparisionis, of course, online — and don't forget to print out sale coupons offered by most major retailers that may add up to tons of discounts at the cash register. The good news is that most retailers honor their store coupons online, just enter the code as you check out and enjoy the extra discount savings.
Buying kids' clothes can go from being a delight with your first baby to a challenge with your preteen. Whether you're shopping for a child who's growing like a weed or locked into a battle of wills with your toddler or preteen, planning before you shop is the key to saving time, money and sanity--all valued commodities for busy parents. Borrow as many infant clothes as possible, especially undershirts, onesies and sleepers. It's hard to have too many.
Keep in mind that babies grow fast and have the next size ready to go. Many new parents and gift givers don't realize that some babies never fit, or fit only for a few days, in clothes sized zero to three months. If you receive a lot of gifts in this size, exchange most for sizes six to nine, or nine to 12 months.
My family, friends and co-workers often compliment me on my clothes. They marvel at seemingly brand-new outfits and unique new pieces. Do I spend thousands on new clothes and designer labels every month? Of course not, I'm just fashionably frugal.
I cannot pass a clearance section, rack or table without at least peeking. Part of it comes from a lifelong need to save money; the other part is the thrill of cashing in on a wonderful bargain. I've scored some fabulous finds and learned a few secrets while cruising the clearance corner.
Not every bargain is a good purchase, no matter what the price tag reads. Franklin Jones said this about bargains, Something you can't use at a price you can't resist.
Ask yourself if you really need the item. Do you really need eight short black skirts? Take a moment to visualize what you will wear with it. If the only thing that comes to mind is the twenty-year-old mini-skirt you haven't squeezed in since Thanksgiving 1989, pass up the bargain.
Will you need to buy something else to make it work? Even basic colors like navy or tan can have dozens of different shades, so be wary of buying single pieces, hoping to match them. However, remember that you can pair contrasting colors like deep purple and soft yellow or navy and lavender for a pleasing palette.
Can you afford it? Even if that London Fog raincoat is drastically reduced, do you really have $85 to spare? If you do, go for it. Classic pieces are always a good investment. Lastly, do you honestly like it, or is it the lure of the lurid orange markdown tag? Don't fall into the "bargain" trap.
Tip: What need will this item fill for me?
Clearance clothing racks are a haven for markdown mavens. Other than undergarments, I never buy full price clothing for my family or myself. My children, ages nine and six, are already learning to be smart shoppers. I often find new clothing cheaper than I could at garage sales or thrift stores.
Fit is the number one priority in shopping the discount racks. It won't matter if you find a pair of jeans for $1 if they are too tight or cut wrong. If at all possible, try clothing on at the store. Know the store's return policy before you buy, as some will not accept returned clearance items.
Tip: Know the store's return policy on clearance items.
Color is another concern when buying clothing. Will the lime green blouse match anything in your existing wardrobe? However, it might be a fresh injection of color for your tired staples. Lime green goes great with classic navy, black and royal purple. Don't be afraid to try new colors, just make sure you like the shade and that you have something to wear with your new purchase.
Check for rips, stains, missing buttons and broken zippers before you get out your wallet. There is probably a reason the item is on the clearance rack. On the other hand, the store may be moving old inventory.
Tip: Shop off-season.
Children grow quickly and may even skip sizes. Why spend hundreds on full-price clothing when your kids might not even wear them? Also, it's absurd to buy expensive play clothes that are going to get dirty, stained or torn. Don't ever be afraid to let kids play because of their "good" clothes.
Clearance racks and discount stores are excellent sources for sturdy children's clothing. Garage sales are great, but be on the lookout for stains or holes. I've been to sales where a stained, holey pair of jeans was marked $5! I found new jeans for my son marked down to $4 at Wal-Mart and stocked up on them.