How I dress my three for less.

I have always considered myself to be a bit of a fashionista so shopping for three girls has been a pleasant task versus a chore.  Interestingly enough, I have heard moms of all boys comment that they are glad that they don’t have girls because they would most likely end up bankrupt from purchasing all the cute clothes that are out there.  Well, I’m here to tell you how I shop without breaking the bank.

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In the picture above, my adorable daughter Allie is wearing an outfit, including the shoes, that cost $15.  That’s right – $15.  And those shoes are from Stride Rite.

Here are my tips:

1.  Never pay full price for anything.

You decide to check out the Old Navy website during your lunch break and notice that some really cute new shirts have been added to their inventory.  And your kiddos need some new shirts.  My advice is to wait it out.  Inventory at these type of stores has a high turnover so chances are that those new shirts will be on sale within a month.  (And yes, I know that some stores have the policy that if you buy and it goes on sale, they will refund you the difference but who has time for that?)

I have already seen holiday clothes in some stores.  It is mid-September!  Why would anyone pay full price?

2.  Know your stores.

If there is a store that you really like, then learn when all the big sales are.  For example, I know that The Children’s Place outlet store nearest to me has huge super-clearance sales during the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays. 

And learn what those stores have to offer for discounts and coupons.  For example, some Stride Rite stores offer discounts to parents of multiples. 

3.  Sign up!

Almost all stores offer coupons and discounts via email.  Sign up!  If you want to avoid having a full inbox, set up a separate email account just for this.

Store credit cards offer several advantages as well.  You can usually receive free shipping at The Gap and Old Navy for online purchases with their store cards and after earning a certain amount of points, I now receive an additional 15% off all of my purchases just by using my Children’s Place store card.  (Disclaimer – I am not a financial advisor.  Only you know your credit situation.  I only have two store credit cards and I pay off these balances right away so as not to incur any finance charges.)

Right before the Fourth of July, I received an email from The Gap offering a promo discount that would be revealed only in the stores.  So I printed out the email and headed over the The Baby Gap outlet nearest to me.  I found three matching tops in size 3T (for next summer) and with my $5 coupon, the tops only cost $2.31 each.

4.  End of season sales.  Stock up.

I know for some it is difficult to predict the size of your children in order to buy for the future but there are some items that are basics and can be purchased during end of season sales.  Jeans, for example, are usually offered during all seasons here in New England. 

Stick to neutrals or entire outfits.  I made the mistake of buying a few mismatched shorts and summer shirts for $.99 last summer during Target’s end of season sale.  When this summer rolled around, I had to spend time trying to find matching clothes to complete the outfits without spending too much money.

5.  Be creative.

Keep dresses that are too short but still fit up top to pair with leggings or pants.

If your children are skinny, save pants that are too short and use them the next year for capris or long shorts.  Here’s a picture I took of Emily a few weeks ago wearing size 6-9 month pants from The Children’s Place.  My two and a half year olds wear them as capris.  We have several pairs of infant pants that they are able to wear as capris now.

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Here is how Allie’s outfit only cost $15, including the shoes.  I purchased that ballet top at Carter’s for $1.58 (no, that is not a typo) by shopping with a coupon during a super-clearance sale.  The skirt was purchased for approximately $3 last summer at Target during one of their end of season sales.  Right around Christmas last year, the Stride Rite outlet store near me was having a huge sale where shoes only cost around $10.  I purchased 10 pairs of shoes for $100.  I bought in sizes too big.  Allie’s shoes cost $10.  Anna’s feet are slightly smaller so she can wear those shoes once Allie outgrows them.  (Dressy shoes around here don’t get much use!)

I know a lot of people shop consignment stores or MoM sales.  The consignment store in our town recently closed down and when I did peek in there once, I was not impressed with their merchandise or prices.  Maybe it’s a snobby Boston suburbs thing but there really aren’t consignment stores near us.  And the fact that I’ve been able to purchase brand new items for $.99 has caused me to not want to buy used.

What are some of your favorite stores?  How do you maximize your savings?  

Sarah is the mother to 29 month old identical triplet girls – Allie, Anna and Emily – who were born at 35 weeks and 6 days.  She works full time as a Tax Director for Big Financial Institution and enjoys sharpening her photography skills with her daughters’ help.  You can read more about her crazy life raising triplets at The Great Umbrella Heist.

13 thoughts on “How I dress my three for less.

  1. We rely a lot on hand-me downs for all three children. Our twin girls are only 8 months old and
    I think I’d add accept hand me downs to your list. Our girls will probably wear neutral clothes from their older brother as they get older plus clothes from their cousins. They are 8 months old now and
    I’ve really only bought them a few outfits. I bought their “coming home from the hospital” outfits. I bought them snowsuits for $10 each on clearance at Children’s Place. And I used a gift card for some items I returned to buy a few outfits – that was my first chance to shop for little girl cloths. Other than a lot of bibs and some diaper covers, I haven’t had to buy anything yet.

    I’ve also thought of starting a clothing co-op where parents can exchange clothes as their children out grow them. All you need is a group of parents willing to share their clothes.

  2. Jenna – we did receive some hand me downs when the girls were infants but unfortunately, we don’t know many people with young girls or they sell their kids’ used clothing (for financial reasons.)

    I wanted the basis of the post to be about shopping tips.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..How I dress my three for less. =-.

  3. I’m a salvation army shopper all the way for my kids. You can’t beat 25 cent kids clothes, and I often find Gap, Gymboree, Carter’s and other great brands in excellent condition. Even at 3 years old, I still find enough to stock my girls’ entire closet for next to nothing! And I don’t worry about size. As long as it’s 3T or bigger and adorable I buy it. You just have to go regularly because sometimes there is nothing good, and other times I’ll hit the jackpot! It totally fills my shopping craving, without emptying my wallet.

  4. Kid2kid in Natick is supposed to have pretty nice stuff—I haven’t been yet to check it out.

    My advice, find a mom with a kid about a year ahead of yours in size. This is the second fall I’ve bought piles of jeans/pants for Danny—plus snowpants & boots–for $2 or $3 each. Both moms were happy!

  5. I love the suggestion of using old dresses as shirts and old pants as capris. I’d never thought of that, but will try it next spring and summer.

  6. Awesome post! I have twin girls to dress and am always looking for bargains. I suppose one money saving clothes thing for us is living in the tropics. Seasonal clothes not needed, or shoes, most of the time- endless summer. I’m bookmarking this though, for when we one day move back to civilization and I’ll have to bargain hunt entire 4 season wardrobes. Shudder.
    .-= Jungletwins´s last blog ..What I Do When I’m Supposed to be Sleeping =-.

  7. Great post! I’m really into this topic too!! :)
    I have been using Ebay lately for buying AND selling our outgrown nicer stuff. You have to be careful and make sure you know what you’re buying, for sure, but I have been happy with a few rather large lots of clothing that I have bought. Also, I have made sure that whatever I make on what I sell goes right back in to kids clothes, so that helps with the budget! I used to do the same with a local consignment twice yearly sale, but the group that does it skipped this fall, so I had to come up with a new solution. This worked well for me.

  8. Definitely a HUGE fan of ebay. I tend to lean towards more expensive brands (Hanna Andersson, Gymboree, Naartjie, etc…) So I buy stuff on ebay and sell it when the girls outgrow it – sometimes for MORE than I bought it for! Since I am a Gymboree addict I go to their Red Balloon sale that happens 2 times per year. I usually go on a weekday morning when the mall first opens – as close to the beginning of the sale as possible. I tell the person working in the store that I have twins and I’d like to find matching outfits. The girl at my local Gymboree brings out BIG cardboard boxes that are sorted by size and lets me sit on the floor in the back of the store and go through everything. That way I don’t have to root through the bins that have been picked through looking for matching outfits (ps…my girls LOVE to dress alike). I also love Kohls and Target for CUTE stuff. GREAT TOPIC!
    .-= Marnie´s last blog ..how on earth… =-.

  9. I work at Kohl’s now, but shopped there before working there. If you have a Kohl’s card you receive discounts at least once a month (at least 15%) and I ONLY shop if I have one of those coupons. Plus the clearance racks are my best friend!
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..I’m a Barbie Girl =-.

  10. Pingback: Last Year’s Capris… « reanbean

  11. Pingback: From the Archives: Secondhand Shopping and Shopping Cheaply - How Do You Do It?

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