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Baby Budget 101: New Season, New Wardrobe!

As the sun set on another beautiful summer a few weeks ago, I found that I was left with a collection of depressing thoughts: Where would we go swimming now that the pool is closed? Can I take my daughter for walks when it’s below freezing outside? What happens if we get as much snow this year as we did last year (PLEASE NO!)?…

But there was one new mom question I hadn’t contemplated yet: What would my daughter wear this fall?  She had been rocking onesies and (if I was feeling ambitious) shorts since June, but obviously, her go-to pieces had to change once the cold air moved in. And making sure to have enough new clothing on hand for a baby who sometimes needs four outfits a day (thank you, blow out diapers and oatmeal messes) could come at quite a price.

Well, it’s a good thing that this mom gig has given me new energy in trying to save money! I think the dreams of Disney World vacations or a trip to Hawaii have awakened a motivation to save on the basics now, in order to indulge in memorable experiences as a family later. So when I realized that I would need to buy practically an entire new wardrobe for my 9-month-old, I was determined to be frugal in my quest for her new clothes.  

As I am sure many of you out there are interested in doing the same, I am passing along the money-saving tips that helped me construct my daughter’s fall wardrobe. And if your motivation also has to do with saving for future fun-family events and you find these tips helpful, please be sure to say “hi” to Mickey for me!

Consignment Shops:

To any money-conscious parent, consignment shops are clearly one of the best places to find kids clothing. I love them because you not only save lots on the clothing that your child will shortly outgrow, but since Jack Johnson’s, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” song often seems to be on repeat in my mind, it makes me feel that I am helping the environment, too.

Between thrift stores at local churches and storefronts specifically created for second-hand infant/children items, there are tons of great options for shopping. Recently, I found a new favorite in Fairfield, called The Gumdrop Swap.  As I drove past the store one day after work, I noticed a sign advertising a “fill-a-bag” for $20 sale. Jackpot! My sister and I ventured over and spent a good hour finding gently worn clothes that were perfect for the colder months. Some items even looked as if they had never been worn. I could hardly get the busting bag inside the house before the handles broke, which I took as a sign of a successful shopping trip. We were able to fit over 30 items in the bag and for the price, the deal just couldn’t be beat.

“Fill-a-bag” was a success!

Hand-me-downs:

I LOVE hand-me-downs. I’ve heard that some mom’s are not interested in receiving them and I struggle to understand why. No, sometimes not everything you are given is worth saving, but going through a whole pile just to find a few useful items is worth it. Earlier this year, I received a box of hand-me-downs from a friend (thank you, Lisa!) and my daughter spent half of her summer in these clothes. Seriously! Her favorite bathing suit came in that box and it was not only adorable and fit her perfectly, but it cost us nothing!

Since my daughter will continue to grow like a weed for the foreseeable future, I have a few bins of hand-me-downs that are for future use. Did she need clothes ranging in size from 9 months to 2T when she was a newborn? No, but some moms I knew were interested in passing along some fantastic items and since I knew my daughter would need that size sooner rather than later, it didn’t make sense to pass up.

When I opened up the bins to uncover what fall finds may be hiding, I discovered some perfect pieces that I totally forgot were there. And the only expense to me will be the few bucks it will cost me in utilities to wash them before tucking them away in my daughter’s drawers. Not bad at all.

Parker’s bin of hand-me-downs.

Facebook Tag Sale Pages:

I belong to a handful of Facebook Tag Sale pages. The ones that are geared towards baby/kid’s items are often full of gently-used treasures at reasonable prices. Since my daughter was born, I have been keeping an eye out for various articles of clothing that she will need for this fall and winter. I have purchased two light coats, a Patagonia vest and a snow suit, all for under $10 each and all from other local parents. One of the light coats even had it’s original tags intact and cost me about 90% less than what it would have if I bought it off the rack in the store. While buying clothes this way can be a bit more time consuming due to communicating with the seller and traveling for the pick-up, it certainly has paid off.

Some of my favorite fall finds!

Some of my favorite fall finds and all second-hand!

I would love to hear about other ways to save money on children’s clothing and your favorite places to do so.  Feel free to add them in the comments below!

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2 Responses to Baby Budget 101: New Season, New Wardrobe!

  1. Avatar
    Jamie Levinthal October 14, 2015 at 9:56 AM #

    Hey there,

    If you’re in the Danbury or Milford areas, Once Upon a Child can’t be beat. I’ve also just recently discovered Gumdrop Swap – and the owner was just delightful and I too filled a purple bag – but Once Upon a Child has an even bigger, even better organized selection – and they’re super picky about what they take – so everything for sale there is high quality.

    I signed up for their email list and I’ve occasionally gotten coupons via email – and I can imagine reselling there in future.

    One tip – don’t go on a Saturday – madhouse!

  2. Avatar
    Gumdrop Swap October 14, 2015 at 10:56 AM #

    Thanks for mentioning Gumdrop Swap in your article! We strive to give great deals so you can spend more time and money enjoying your family.

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