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.
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.
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.