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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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How to save on baby clothes and gear.

 

“Having a baby costs so much money!”

It seems like almost every day you hear it said that “A newborn baby needs very little aside from loving parents”. But those with a newborn know that some of the simplest necessities cost the most: diapers, clothing, a car seat, and food. Welcome to our final week of sharing some ideas for saving money on baby basics.

(This is a carseat that we got when our twins were born.  The seat was in great condition but the cover wasn’t when our 3rd child was born, so I made a new cover. Total cost $10.)

Spend Less on Baby Clothes and Gear

In our society, both baby clothes and baby gear seem to be status symbols among young families and often new parents feel guilty if they don’t provide the most stylish and highly rated products for their children. An obvious step in spending less money is to care less about status and more about your relationship with your baby. As long as he is fed, warm, clean, and loved, your baby will be happy. However, it can also be a comfort to know that your baby is comfy and safe in a quality outfit, crib, or car seat.

1. Keep things simple

Simplicity is a beautiful thing. Keep reminding yourself that newborns need surprisingly little. While growing babies and toddlers need some form of diversion to keep them from destroying everything in the house or whining like crazy, they don’t necessarily need expensive diversions.  I’m continually surprised by how long a child’s attention can be held by a cardboard box or a piece of junk mail that makes a cool crinkly noise. Just because Babies R’ Us or American Baby lists 101 different items for which you “need” to register doesn’t mean that everything on the list is a true necessity. Bear in mind that the more you “need,” the more money they make.  How many outfits, toys, and gadgets does a baby really need? Take some time to evaluate what is truly necessary and purchase quality products instead of buying lots of junk that will just end up cluttering your house and your life.

2. Look for freebies

If you read this blog then I already know that you are all about finding free products. Try putting your money saving skills to work for some bigger items. You will be surprised what people are willing to give away after they are through with the baby stage. When you announce your news, you may even discover that a family member has been saving some heirlooms for you. I personally received furniture (crib, rocker, chest of drawers, book shelf), books, a baby gate, clothing (large amounts), and a changing pad and cover.

3. Buy items second hand

How many times does an infant wear an outfit before he grows out of it? Is a play gym, bouncy seat, or teddy bear more entertaining because it is new? Many second hand items are surprisingly gently used. Start your hunt early and you are likely to find some great deals. Shop yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, and consignment sales/shops around town, search classifieds in your local paper or online, and start making offers on Ebay and Craigslist. You will tend to find slightly higher prices at consignment shops as two parties are splitting the profits, but in my experience they tend to carry higher quality merchandise than a thrift store or yard sale. Many consignment stores will only receive name brand clothing or gear. Classifieds and online sales will vary by seller, but don’t be afraid to barter with someone.

Please remember to shop with caution for used items.  You will want to purchase new Breast pumps and car seats for health and safety reasons. Some products that used to be considered standard have now proven to be unsafe, such as walkers or certain crib designs. Buyers should also check a purchase carefully for damage and do some research to make sure that a product has not been recalled.

4. Hit the clearance rack

You probably won’t find the rock bottom prices of a yard sale in the mall, but there are times when some sweet deals can be found. One of the advantages to buying new, name brand products is their resale value, but we’ll get to that later. Two keys to finding great sales in the mall (which can often be a money trap): when to shop and where to shop.

When to shop – The best time to look for sales is at the end of a season. If you know your child will need a new winter coat next year, buy it in February and put it away (even though by that point the store will be full of Easter outfits!).  If you need to outfit your little beach bum for next year’s summer vacation, buy in August (when the stores are advertising for the new school year).  The week after Christmas is a great time to find deals on all items, especially toys as stores try to move out the old merchandise to make room for the new. Also look for big sales on holidays like Memorial or Labor Day when department stores advertise big mark downs as well as special coupons for percentages off your total purchase. Gymboree regularly runs a special where customers can earn $25 worth of Gymbucks for each $50 purchase.

Where to shop – I’m not talking about which store to shop in, but rather where to look in the store. Very rarely are the advertised deals really the best deals in the store. Don’t ever buy the often tempting items in the front of the store or on the edge of the aisle. Make a bee line for the clearance rack, usually at the back of the store. If you are shopping for children’s clothing you may be able to find items for just a few dollars, often 50%-75% off the regular price. If you’re shopping for gear at a store like Babies R’ Us, ask where you might be able to find items that have been marked down. Sometimes stores will sell an older model of an item for a large discount. Usually the only difference between the old and the new model is the color scheme. Babies R’ Us sends some great percentage-off coupons to those on their mailing list. If you can combine these “hidden” deals with a percentage-off coupon on a big sale weekend (as mentioned above), then you are in for a steal! Just be sure to read all of your coupons carefully before you get to the register.

There are a few additional “wheres” that are not to be forgotten. Outlet malls can be a great source for everyday low prices on name brands, and they usually have their own clearance racks. Look for online outlets and clearance “racks” as well. Check out overstock.com they have some great prices.

5. Sell quality used items

Finally, whether you buy a like-new item from a yard sale or find great deals in retail stores, take good care of it so that you can resell it. If you are a good saleswoman, you can often earn back part or all of your original investment. For example, I bought a Jeep jogging stroller for $25 at a yard sale (it usually sells for around $200). If I take great care of it like the previous owner did, I could probably turn around and sell it for $20-$25 when I’m done with it!

There are a few helpful hints to reselling clothing. Firstly, only buy name brand – no one wants to purchase Walmart clothes second hand. Secondly, new is best, although you may be able to get away with very gently used high quality clothes. Try to buy as many items in the collection as you can find. An outfit with the matching accessories will command a higher price and be easier to sell when offered as a set as opposed to just selling one random piece. Lastly, pay careful attention to washing instructions or, better yet, try to keep them from getting too dirty in the first place. Put some play clothes on your kids when they play in the mud or eat spaghetti.

Here is a quick example with some current sale prices from the Gymboree website. All of these items are from the Skate Legend collection.

Skate Monkey Flip Flop
reg: $14.75
now: $11.49

Skate Monkey Rash Guard
reg: $19.75
now: $14.99

Skate Monkey Swim Trunk
reg: $19.75
now: $14.99

Skate Monkey Tee
reg: $14.75
now: $10.99

Total: $52.46
Receive: $25 Gymbucks

Skate Monkey Polo Shirt
reg: $16.75
now: $12.99

Patchwork Cargo Short
reg: $26.75
now: $18.73

Monkey Hoodie
reg: $26.75
now: $19.99

Total: $51.71
-$25 Gymbucks
Spend: $26.71

Grand Total: $79.17 for beach attire, two nice outfits, and a matching hoodie.
Total Saved: $60.08 (43% off)

(note: you can’t use Gymbucks until certain redemption dates, but use them towards more clothes that you will later resell)

When your little man has outgrown these adorable duds, post them online and make back your investment. Then take the cash and start all over!

See more posts about buying frugal for baby:

Buying Frugal For Baby: Food

Buying Frugal For Baby: Diapers

    • I think the link for freecycle.com was supposed to be freecycle.org… that is a group that I am on, it’s just like craig’s list but everything is free. It’s meant to keep items out of the landfill, so it’s not really a “wish list”. We are very active on our group’s list, we give a ton and get a ton!

    • VanessaCook

      I am pregnant and I am using all my swagbucks to get Amazon giftcards to help pay for my stuff. I have already earned about $50 and I am only 16 weeks along.

    • lacey

      Be careful about reselling used children's clothing. Unless you are buying name brand clothing used at good prices (such as yard sales), you won't make back your investment. Such as the example listed above- I have been selling on ebay and amazon for years, and you would never be able to sell two used outfits and a pair of swim trucks for $80, even if they are Gymboree. Yes, you will get a small amount of your investment back, but you won't be able to make back your investment as stated above. To make the largest amount of your investment back, buy name brand clothing used at rock-bottom prices such as yard sales, take great care of clothing, and then when you go to sell, group them by size and sell them in a large lot of 20-50 pieces in the same size. Advertise in the title the name brands and take several great pictures. Your main picture should be of all the items in your lot, and then add additional pics that show the individual pieces or outfits in additional detail. Many people will purchase a large lot of clothing like this for their child for the upcoming season, and you can really get back your entire investment for just a small amount of time.

      • ItsACouponThing

        I met a lady at Goodwill who said she goes through Ebay and then through Goodwill looking for jeans that are selling well on Ebay. She buys them for $2.50 and sells them for around $10. She said she's sold one pair for $50 before, because she recognized the name brand and it was in great shape! I'm not good enough to recognize those names she mentioned, but someone who IS good at it would do well to check out Ebay and then Goodwill. You could try with one single pair of designer jeans and see if they sell. If they do, put the money back into selling another pair on Ebay. Go slowly to make a small profit, and who knows? Maybe it will be like the Shoemaker and the Elves! LOL!

      • Hattie

        I sell on eBay as well. eBay is completely saturated with Gymbo and in the smaller sizes, you may as well give it away unless you are an established seller with a following who makes great-looking graphic outlays.

        With that said, there is still money to be made on eBay, but you have to know what you are looking at. There is a pretty large learning curve, but it's not unusual at all for me to purchase a piece of clothing for $1.00 and sell it for $30. One piece of clothing, not an outfit.

        Kids' clothing is a very hard sell these days.

    • melody

      I love shopping at The Children's Place at the end of the season. You can get great deals that cost less than going to a second hand store. Those stores are usually overpriced! When I can get dress shirts for less than $3 and sometimes less than $2 with then an extra 15% off coupon that is always circulating, I am sticking with The Children's Place.

      • ItsACouponThing

        WOW! Wish I'd known that when mine was little! Do you know approximately what size The Children's Place stops at? Maybe it isn't too late.
        Seems like all her tween friends are into Justice now. So far, we haven't been able to afford that store. Any advice?

        • Bridget

          They go up to size 14. I like their clothes for my toddler, because they have adjustable waistbands. Their pants also run longer than a store like Babygap or Gymboree, fyi. If you have ever shopped at Carter's, the fit is similar (good for my guy, who is long and lean).

        • Ashley

          Try googling “Justice coupons” or “Justice coupon codes”. A lot of chain clothing stores put these discounts out on a regular basis. I personally love shopping at New York and Company and you can find $25/$75 or $30/$75 coupons pretty regularly. You can get a lot of stuff if you're buying things that are already marked down. Sometimes (very rarely in my experience) the coupons or coupon codes are not valid, but usually these websites have comments sections and people will tell you if they don't work. It's definitely worth checking into! Good luck!

        • char

          i still shop at childrens place for my eight yr old son i believe that the size is up to 12 but i am not positive; they have a website childrensplace.com :D hope this helps some

        • Wendy

          I haven't made it to the Justice stage yet, but a friend of has. She says they do a lot of sales like Gymboree in the sense it's full price for a week or two then they start marking it down. Plus they have what is called “J Bucks,” it's a lot like Gymbucks at Gymboree. Sign up on thier site to start receiving coupons by mail, also look online for codes like Ashley suggested. Sometimes you can score too off of ebay as well.

        • melody

          I am not sure what size they go to but I do know they make clothing for the tween age. Look for their outlet stores to get the best deals. Right now they have all their spring dresses marked down to $4.99.

    • Erin

      I know many people like to save a dime, but we should all be careful with car seats. Used car seats can be dangerous for your child. It isn't recommended unless you know 100% without a doubt the history of the seat. A used seat could have hidden damage. Even if you are using a hand-me-down seat that you do know the history of, be sure the seat hasn't reached its expiration date. Years of sitting in a car can take its toll on a car seat and there, again, could be hidden damage. New covers can spruce up the seat, but they may cover up the fact that a seat has reached its max useful age. Homemade covers may void the warranty on the seat as well, meaning if you make your own cover and the seat doesn't perform as expected in an accident and your child is hurt or killed, the car seat mfg is not responsible, legally or otherwise. I don't, personally, think that most handmade covers would make the car seat less safe, but that's a large burden to take on your own shoulders and off of the car seat makers, IMO. I recommend a lot of research to find the car seat that would work the longest for your family's needs. For example, I bought my now 4 year old harnessed booster seats that go to 65 pounds when he was 2-3. My daughter used an extended use infant seat them moved into her big brothers convertible seats as he moved into the boosters. When he outgrows his boosters in about 2 years, she will be ready to move into them. If my oldest needs a booster seat still there are inexpensive but safe boosters available. I've bought seats new on clearance online for very good deals, but imagine I was to pay MSRP. New seats such as the Graco MyRide 65 is a convertible seat that will rearface to 40 pounds then harness your child to 65 and it retails for 149.99. If you can live without an infant seat, which technically you could but practically is another story. That would be all you would need. Divide the 150 over 5 years and you are only paying $30 per year for your child to be as safe as possible.

      • tt

        I second the earlier postings about safekids. I went to one of their local events to have my childs car seat safely installed and saw stacks and stacks of car seats they were giving to parents who either didnt have one or whose seat was past its prime.

    • Patty

      I love this post. I am getting ready to have a huge yard sale. I have over 16 bags of baby girls clothing size newborn-12/18 months, toddler bed (my daughter used it for 4 or 5 months and now we bought her a bunk bed set), bouncer, swing, etc. All of the stuff is in excellent or good condition. I will be posting my ad on Craig's List and in the State newspaper. Right now, the yard sale will be the 1st Saturday in June (4th). Question, I am newer to the area, do people usually have yard sales on Fridays and Saturdays or just Saturdays??? Thanks!

      • VanessaCook

        Where do you live? In Columbia, SC people usually only have sales on Saturdays…unless they are estate sales.

        • Patty

          Thanks, Vanessa. I live in Northeast Columbia.

    • Bridget

      Thanks for alerting bargain seeking moms to be wary of possible recalls. At this point it is safe to say that no one should purchase a drop side crib second hand, as a huge number of them have been recalled. We also just went through my son's convertible crib (not a drop side) being recalled due to the mattress support system being faulty. Be sure to check the CPSC website before buying! You can even sign up to receive email alerts whenever a children's item is recalled (that is how we found out about our crib). A great deal is always good, but safety comes first :)

    • Nicky

      Just throwing this out there since Im crazy about carseats. If you need a carseat, please contact http://www.safekids.org and find a location near you and you can get free seats or CHEAP NEW seats, never buy a used carseat. Also, making your own carseat cover is a NO NO (sorry!). Carseat covers that are made by the manufacturer are crash tested with your seat. When you make your own seat, it might move the straps a little, or be too thick and mess up how the straps hold your baby in during a crazy. Manufactured carseat covers are more flame resistant than you could ever make, making it safer for your little ones during a fire. Please dont make your own carseat covers, NO matter how cheap it is.

      • Emilytwinmom

        I did this for my twins two years ago – my mother and I took the safety class they offered and not only did they give us two carseats for our twins, I also found out I had been installing my first son's carseat incorrectly the entire time he was in it! Excellent class, I recommend it to everyone, and the carseats were evenflo titan 5's, excellent seats!

      • Elizabeth

        I agree, making your own cover isn't a good idea. However, it is possible to order replacement covers from the manufacturer for less than a new seat.

    • Nancy

      I like to go to church yard sales. they are really good at price and some times has a bag sale. Also if you check out your domestic Violence Shelter Thrift store they will have bag sales or specials on certain days of the week for Children clothing. I use to buy my oldest child school clothes this way I only spent around 27 dollars on tax free weekend for all my dh clothes. Now they have to wear uniforms and I have to buy new because it is still new in our area. BUT I have heard of other parents trying to put together a uniform swap shop. anyone know where to buy school uniforms?

      • Sarah

        i used to work in a school that required uniforms. at the end of every year we always had tons of unclaimed parts of the required uniform in the lost and found. The cardigans, sweatshirts, and polos, worn as a top layer, were often removed during course of the day and left behind after the bell rang. Those without names inside get taken to the office and stuck in the lost and found. Check with your childs school at the end of the year and see what has been left behind. Now before anyone barks at me about my suggestion- I would wait until after the last day of school and only take these items out of the lost and found with permission from the school. We had parents do this every single year without incident. It keeps the clothes from pilling up and being sent to goodwill uneccessarily.
        Another suggestion would be to check with the PTA or principal of your school to see if they already have some type of uniform swap, or would allow you to become responsible for organizing a uniform swap if they dont already have one. HTH

    • I go hunting fro baby clothes in my local charity shops. it is amazing just what you can find and good quality as well.

      i really can't see the point in spending loads of maoney on baby clothes which they will soon grow out of anyway.

    • mcwfamily

      Seasonal Consignment Sales are a good place to find things too and to sell your kids stuff at. You get a higher percentage than at a consignment store which makes it worth the while and I find it easier to deal with than ebay. There is a sale near me and they have a huge turn out. I sold things at the Spring sale and I was pleased at how well I did.

    • dwiegand

      My favorite way to save on children's clothes is to shop at Macy's during their 1-day sales. They sometimes even offer a $10 off $25 coupon good only during 1-day sales! At one of the sales I bought my daughter about 15 nice outfits for $43. My savings was well over $300!! You can really find some awesome deals during those sales!!

    • Laini

      Because of the safety concerns with buying a used car seat, think about whether you have family or a close friend you could trade off with. My sister bought a new car seat for their son; they passed it to us in time for our first child as theirs grew out of it. We will pass it back in time for their second. It's safe since we 100% know the history of the seat and we're getting the most mileage out of it before it expires. If you have several kids, remember that the seat may well expire before your last one uses it.

      Also, be smart about what type of car seat you buy, for example, a convertible that faces front or back and is rated for a wide height/weight range. It will keep you from having to buy as many different seats.

    • Jodi

      Never buy a used car seat. Never use a handmade cover for your car seat. As someone said, it could interfere with the harness.

      Also, please be aware that car seats have an expiry date on all of them. The plastic breaks down over time and should be replaced as per the manufacturer instructions. Usually, the time frame is 6 years.

      I was able to get a Britax Roundabout 50 (rf till 35 and ff till 50pds) for my little one. After coupon and taxes I paid $115!! I was very stoked about it.

      So you can get a good quality car seat with coupons :D

      If anyone is need of car seats, usually your Health Dept will have some. Or you can try your local WIC office as well.

    • Wendy

      I've been very successful with buying and selling at Tot Trade. It's held twice a year in Columbia, SC. However, I wish I knew about it before I had my first child. I would've had a baby shower there. It's a huge consignment sale that has anything for strollers to gaming systems for older kids along with clothing. If your near the area when they hold the sale, it's worth checking out!!

    • mollie456

      I am not sure I consider $80 for beach attire and two outfits for a toddler frugal. As the mother of four, I spend about $200 a season total on clothing for my children 10, 9, 5, and 3. This does not include things like shoes, coats or soccer uniforms but their basic wardrobe averages about $50 per child. I live in Greenville SC and we have several seasonal consignment sales and a few awesome thrift stores that keep my children looking nice for really low prices. If you have never tried thrift stores, I recommend the Hope Chest on Pleasantburg and Miracle Hill on Wade Hampton. My kids are not clothes horses by any stretch, but they have never complained about not having anything to wear or not liking their clothes. Of course they are not teenagers yet either. I am sure there will be the equivalent of Guess jeans that they will have to buy themselves.

      Also, I try to get the most mileage out of clothing that I can. We have 5 bins in the basement dedicated to clothes. Winter keep, winter sell, summer keep, summer sell, and donate. After each season, I put up what might fit for next year and then sort what I can sell at consignment and what is for donation. This keeps it all together when consignment time comes. Lastly, I use last years holey knee pants for this summer's shorts. With a little practice, you can cut off and hem shorts and no one can tell they are cutoffs. Some are destined to be play clothes, but once my son thanked me for the cool cargo shorts, which were actually his pants that had gotten too short.

    • Marilyn Freidhof

      I am on my third child now and I can honestly say: Don't buy anything new. Well, except the car seat. But, even the infant car seat I got used because it was in excellent condition. Since this third baby was a boy, after two girls, and I had already sold most of my baby things I really had to start over. By the time he was born I probably spent less than $50 equipping the baby ( I already had the crib). I had many friends give me clothes and I bought lots of equipment like swings and bouncers for a few dollars at yard sales. They were used 6 months and now they are in the basement waiting for my yard sale. I have very few clothing stores in my town so consignment stores, Good-will, and yard sales are about it unless I want to drive an hour. Good-will has a lot of Sears and Penny's clothing that is in excellent condition. I even find Gap, Children's Place, and lots of Old Navy and it's only $1.50. For babies, it is ideal!

    • artmommy222

      I agree that I would never spend $80 on three outfits. That is more like what I would want to spend for the whole year for my 2 year old. I shop yard sales, Once Upon a Child (but pretty much only their season-end clearance!), and when I buy new things, I also look for deep clearance…I pretty much don't like to spend more than $2 or $3 for any item of clothes. My son also got lots of adorable hand-me-downs from friends, and he sometimes gets gifts of clothes from relatives. They are only going to wear it for one season before they outgrow it, so I don't want to put a lot of money into it. Babies and toddlers don't care much about what they wear, it is only us mommies who want them to look cute. They can still look cute in secondhand stuff. Even secondhand Walmart stuff! I don't get hung up on brands.

    • jerilyn

      Ask friends too. We switch off with friends and neighbors. I don't want the huge swing taking up precious storage, so my neighbor is using it with her 3-month-old. I plan on letting them use the exersaucer when my 8-month-old grows out of it. A great way to swap, if you know people who have kids slightly older than yours.

    • Michele

      I often use the deals at Carters. Every month they have 20% off $50.00 and they will occasionally have gift check deals that you can stack. A while back I was able to buy $75.00 worth of clothes for only $34.00. Needless to say I hit the sale rack and now have things put aside for next year. My sister-in-law and I exchange clothes. I have the oldest and the youngest grand kids and so I send my sons clothes up the her and she sends down her girl clothes. We even go as far as coupons and car seats. One of the best things that I have been able to get for free is formula. Pediatricians often get samples of formula and this has worked great for me. (not to mention that my friend works there and stocks me up).

    • deepika0209

      Simpliest necessities of new born baby are:- clothes,food,car chair,diapers etc.
      This is a good site for these all things.

    • Very great useful tips. Thank you for sharing these.

    • Thank you for sharing these very nice set of tips. This is definitely useful.

    • Thank you for sharing these very nice set of tips. This is definitely useful.