How to spend less on kids clothes

Are you grappling with the constant challenge of how to spend less on kids clothes? Are you fed up with the mountain of outgrown, hardly worn items currently cluttering up your spare room?

The secret is you need a clothes plan for your kids.

I’ve written in other posts about my pre 2020 stockpiling. Buying too many clothes for my kids is just one of my old bad habits.

In the past I would trawl the shops in the end of season sales buying whatever items were there. As long as they were a bigger size I bought them. My logic was always it was better to have more and wash less but that was before it became a full time job just managing the outgrown pile!

I stumbled on this plan by pure accident last summer. It made total sense and I can see the logic behind it. A plan like this would have been useful in my end of season sale shopping!

1. How many clothes do my kids actually need?

This plan is a perfect guide to help you buy less, and spend less on your kids clothes. I always struggled to get my head around how many of each thing to buy and how to keep track of it all.

Last Summer I stumbled across this plan on the Decluttering School and it has been a game-changer. I am pleased to say that we have the least amount of clothes for the kids that we ever have. Except for shoes, we have a LOT of shoes.

ItemMinimalistModeratePlenty
SUMMER CLIMATE
Short-Sleeve T-Shirts78-1213+
Shorts46-810+
Dresses/Skirts2-34-89+
WINTER CLIMATE
Long Sleeve T-Shirts45-89+
Jeans/Trousers45-810+
Jumpers23-45+
Coats123+
GENERAL ITEMS
Underwear78-1213+
Socks/Tights78-1213+
Shoes23-67+
Dressy Outfits0-12-45+
Originally found at The Decluttering School

Like anything in life, nobody is going to fit perfectly into one of the columns. Our kids are all at school and wear a uniform so we don’t need a lot of extra items. The only time we struggle is when we going on holiday and don’t have access to washing facilities.

My kids also have lots of outdoor gear for sports and waterproofs etc. I don’t include these in the plan except to limit us to a maximum of two sets of these.

It will also depend on where you live. My kids are all born Summer and Winter so they tend to change sizes quite nicely with the seasons.

This year we are aiming for the minimalist column with some extra deviations for other items.

How to spend less on kids clothes

2. Where should I buy my kids clothes?

Its easy to think that you should rush off to a supermarket or discount store to save money on your kids clothes.

What you are probably starting to notice is the gap between discount/supermarket stores and other brands is reducing.

There are a few things to think about before you buy your kids clothes:

  • are the clothes the right shape and size for my child? I can tell you some Mothercare horror stories about my eldest!
  • am I happy with the ethics behind the production of the clothing?
  • are the clothes a decent enough quality that they are going to last until we need the next size? Think about if they shrink quickly, hems coming undone and buttons falling off.
  • what are you going to do with the clothes once you are done with them? Don’t assume your children are going ruin every item of clothing they own and they are only good for the bin!

I’ve really started to think about this since the twins came along. I was fed up with mountains of clothes that didn’t fit, we couldn’t get rid of and poor quality. I have started to spend a little bit more so that I can have a good chance of selling them on once we are done.

3. Selling unwanted children’s clothes

This is absolutely key to help you spend less on kids’ clothes. By buying less and buying better quality you are setting yourself with children’s clothes which are easier to sell or pass on to another family.

I talk about in detail in this post here. It is absolutely worth it. It is worth the time and effort.

In summary I buy better quality brand name items (I am not talking designer), I am talking about buying from Next instead of Primark. I then bundle these up and sell them on the relevant Facebook Groups for the brand, size or boy/girl.

This earns me some extra cash to help me save money on the next batch of clothes, helps another family bag a bargain and it keeps clothes from going to landfill.

4. Secondhand doesn’t mean second best

Now you are probably thinking that buying second hand is completely unsafe for your children.

Lots of people have had bad experiences with eBay sellers and random Facebook purchases. If this is you, the key is to narrow down your search.

Start to look in specialist, trusted places. There are a lot of specific brand name/niche Facebook selling groups out there. Look out for a smaller group (less than 10,000 members) because these are far better moderated than the bigger ones.

You can read my complete guide to second hand buying and selling here.

If you are concerned about hygiene you could invest in some anti bacterial washing liquids to help you out and still keep your shopping budget on track.

5. Have a budget

It’s easy to forget about your kids clothes and just buy them on demand. Make sure you have a budget for each season or size range and try your best to stick with it. Use the cash you make from selling your items secondhand to either subsidise it or make it bigger.

This year my goal is £100 per child per season (excluding school and sports kit). Wish me luck!