Buying Good Quality Kids Clothes on a Budget

Hi everyone!

I haven't blogged in forever. I'll blame wedding planning on that- and since I'm a married woman now, I can finally focus my attention on other projects.

As i'm writing this, it is the first day of fall, and the time has come for us parents to switch out our kid's summer clothing for something a bit cozier. I've spent the past week packing up dirt stained shorts and little t-shirts that I swear permanently smell like sunblock; and filling his closet with fall clothes in their place.

I won't lie- I love shopping for Mason (LOVE it), and I also love finding good deals. It's important to me that he has good quality clothes so I'm not constantly replacing things- and as any other parents do, I want him to have nice things. The problem with that is, we aren't rich. We MIGHT be getting close to middle class lol, but sometimes I even question that. We're somewhere between "pay check to pay check" and "comfortable" (depending on the month).

To me, "Quality" means having clothes that are going to withstand every day wear and tear from a toddler, having decent resale value, and clothes that I wont have to replace often due to shrinking, pilling, etc.

For example, here are 2 pairs of Mason's pants. The pair on the left is from Walmart and came in a set with a top for $18. They have only been washed 2-3 times and are already pilling a lot. The pair on the right are from GAP and I got them on sale for $8. They have also been washed a couple of times and look brand new. OshKosh pants are another brand that look new no matter how much we wash them. So, quality doesn't always mean paying more. The Walmart pants wont be worth trying to resell or save for a future child by the time he's done with them because they are already showing wear, plus being from Walmart lowers the resale value. The GAP pants will still look great when he's done with them, and I'll either keep them for a future child, or sell them in a lot, and put the money back into buying him new clothes.

So with that said, here are some tips on how I find good deals without compromising quality:

Sign Up For Email Offers
One big way I find out about sales is by signing up for email offers through my favourite stores. You can also like their pages on facebook, but I usually get the better offers through email. If you don't want to clutter up your inbox with junk mail, you can create a separate email specifically for this purpose. I also check websites frequently for clearance items.

Check Out Discount Stores (Winners, Mardens, etc)
For the past week or so I've been searching online for deals on Columbia fleece jackets for Mason. They're perfect for the car seat because they're safer than a bulky winter coat, and you can layer with long sleeved shirts, hats, scarves, etc. I live right around the corner from our local Winners store, so I decided to check out what they had, and they had exactly what I was looking for. Winners has designer clothes, accessories, home goods etc all for really discounted prices. All of the items at Winners are brand new with tags, but might be leftovers from last year that other stores didn't sell.

Don't Be Afraid to Check Thrift Stores, Yard Sales Etc. 
When I first got pregnant with Mason, I was determined to only buy brand new clothes. People laughed at me because kids grow out of their clothes so fast that it's ridiculous to buy everything new.  Apparently they were right, because since then, I've found some amazing second hand deals. In my city we have several online consignment groups for kids clothes on Facebook, and I check them probably at least once a day. I also look on kijiji, and frequent value village. One of my favourite Value Village finds was 3 brand new with tags GAP sweaters in Mason's size. They were like $4 each. #momscore . When buying second hand, I always make sure I'm buying items from smoke free homes (or if at a store I make sure it doesn't smell of smoke, have stains, etc), and of course wash everything when I get home.

Take Resale Value and Future Children Into Consideration: 
When you do buy new clothes at the store, choosing brands based on resale value is a great way to plan for getting money back out of your purchase. For example, in my city I know that the clothing  brands that sell well second hand for babies/toddlers are: Carters, OshKosh, GAP, Old Navy, Columbia, The North Face & Roots. Certain brands from Costco, like Pekkle are also good for reselling (or keeping for future kids).There are obviously others, but these seem to be the most popular. For winter boots, the best resale value seems to come from: Bogs, Sorel, Kamik & Stonz. Last winter my dad bought him a new pair of Sorels (during Carter's winter sale of course), and I was able to sell them this summer for $20- and put that $20 right back into his wardrobe. You can also take resale value into consideration when buying second hand. Mason had 2 snow suits last year- one brand new and one second hand, both OshKosh. I bought the second hand one for daycare and it was in excellent condition. It was also in excellent condition at the end of winter (no rips, stains, smoke free home, etc) and I sold it for the exact same price it was sold to me at.

Something else to consider when purchasing anything is, can you save it for future children? I don't mind paying more for something if I know we can reuse it some day. I've kept all of my favourite outfits of Mason's, along with items that can be gender neutral. One of my favourite sets of his was a Roots set his aunt Mallory got him. It's a higher priced item to buy new, but gender neutral enough to keep for the next baby.

Black Friday
I look forward to Black Friday all year long. I used to shop in the states every year before I had Mason, but the past 2 years I've stayed in Canada due to work and my passport being expired (oops). My last American Black Friday was when I was 6 months pregnant and I got a lot of cute baby clothes for Mason. Now I shop online and hit some of our local sales that day, and it's ALMOST as good as the real Black Friday-almost. You can get some MAJOR deals on this day, so it's good to stock up on bigger sizes to save having to pay more in the future.

I always do a major clean out of Mason's clothes after each season. I categorize them by items I'm keeping out, items I'll pack away, items to donate, and items to sell. It helps keep his closet current and cut down on clutter. It also helps me see any items he needs or will need soon, so I can start shopping around for sales. 

So, that's how I find Mason's clothes while staying within our budget :)

Also, special thanks to the many grandparents and family in his life who contribute a TON to his wardrobe all year long. 


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