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Sacrificing to Start a Clothing Stockpile

Guest post by Danielle

I don’t know about anyone else, but money is so tight right now in our household that putting even $5 or $10 extra per month towards stockpiling clothes isn’t available. But instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we decided to do something really different this summer.

If you “have your ear to the ground” economically, you know that cotton prices are continuing to climb steadily. As we get into fall and winter where clothing requires more material, therefore costing more, it could really be a hard squeeze for some families. We decided to change our perspective and plan accordingly.

Our Plan: Make do with what we have for the summer.

I know, it’s crazy, but we’re extremely serious about it for the next three months! My two oldest children, a boy and a girl, have only four outfits each. We have a washer and dryer in our home, so I do one load per day and they have clean clothes every day. My third child, a girl, has more clothing simply because she’s wearing hand-me-downs from her big sister!

We decided not to buy sandals this year because their athletic shoes will fit them through the summer. We aren’t buying swimsuits right now either, because with my husband’s hectic work schedule we can’t even make it to the pool! (We are blessed to have a community pool included as part of living in our townhome complex.)

Here in another month life will slow down a bit, and swimsuits will start going on sale! We’ll buy each child one then, and when they’re clearanced out at the end of the summer, we’ll buy their swimsuits for next year.

So far, because of our strategy to use budgeted “summer clothing” money to purchase clearanced fall and winter clothes for the upcoming season, we’ve been able to purchase from Walmart’s clearance racks:

  • 2 fleece outfits (4T) — $1 each; originally $8 each
  • 2 sets of fleece pajamas (matching for the girls) — $1 each; originally $9 each
  • 1 fleece sleeper (4T) — $1; originally $7
  • 4 long sleeved shirts (4T & 24 months) — $1 each; originally $3.50 each
  • 1 long sleeved shirt (24 months) — $1; originally $3.50
  • 1 heavy fleece-lined fall jacket (24 months) — $1; originally $8
  • 1 pair leggings (24 months) — $1, originally $3.50

Grand Total: $12 for $70 worth of clothing!

My goal isn’t to supply my children’s every need with clearanced clothing, because realistically, that just may not be possible. However, I can make a huge dent in our fall and winter clothing budget, and then use that money to start purchasing clearanced spring and summer clothing for next year!

I just want to encourage everyone that even if you only have a few dollars, if you’re creative and willing to sacrifice a little bit right now, it can pay off in big ways just a few months down the road!

Danielle Bradbury lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, son and two daughters. She and her husband are working hard to rebuild their life after bankruptcy. They are also looking forward to starting homeschool with their son this fall.

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  • Tyra says:

    I have always bought my girls clothes the year before on clearence. the best deals I have gotten have been at baby gap and their outlet stores. i bought 2 bags of clothing last summer for $0.48 each item. it helps alot if you have a gapcard that you pay off every month, because you get lots of good deals for having the card, just a few weeks ago it was an extra 40% off clearence, so I bought some outfits for my baby for next summer at $1.48. Old navy does extra 50% off clearence twice a year you can get really good deals there.
    Also belk and sears both do an extra 50% off clearence twice a year also, makes for some great deals.
    Then I sell all their clothes on ebay and usually make at least 4 times what I paid 😀
    I have found a few good deals at walmart and target but not many. I don’t buy from goodwill or consignment because I get them cheaper brand new.

  • Jiya says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’d like to put in a good word for clothing swaps, too, as an alternative to buying new. There’s a moms group in my area that is affiliated with a local church that has a clothing swap twice a year (you don’t have to be a member of the church or the mom’s group to participate in the swap). They always have a tremendous amount of clothing, most in excellent to good condition, and the leftovers are donated to a local women’s shelter. I’ve been able to supply about 75% of my kids’ wardrobes (other than socks, underwear & shoes) from the swap. Plus it’s a great way to clean out all the outgrown clothes from my attic. It’s like hand-me-downs for small families! And I feel better that all their outgrown clothes are going to someone who can use them and not just going to waste (my 6 year old likes to remind me to be kind to Mother Earth).

  • Kaylynn says:

    My family has always gone to garage sales. It has always saved my mom lots of money. She loves going to the neighborhood ones.

  • Lesley says:

    I have 3 daughters (ages 15, 14 and 12) and they love to shop for bargains. They know to go right to the clearance rack in any store we go to. They like to shop at a teen consignment store called Plato’s Closet. They are in many states, so check their website to see if there is one near you. They carry all the trendy brands that teens can be into, but at a fraction of the cost. They will also buy your gently used items making your shopping trip free or very low cost. Thought this might help those with teenagers who are getting to that “picky stage”. They have lots of clothes for teenage guys, too.

  • Mo Yarbrough says:

    Our target in North Dallas area had girls jeans 75% off yesterday. Nice to get some back to school clothes early at only 2.48 a pair. I bought 2 pairs of her current size and two pairs the next size up.

  • Julie says:

    I’m fortunate to get a lot of hand-me-downs that are usually enough to get us through the beginning of a season. Shortly into the season, my local kids resale shop usually has a 70% off sale for clothing in that season! It’s a great way for me to get good quality items for my three kids at rock bottom prices. I can shop their current size and future sizes. Garage sales are great too especially in you can get to ones in “high-end” neighborhoods. Sometimes they have clothes with the tags still on.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you to everyone who mentioned about fall and winter clothing being more expensive this next season.

    I got to Goodwill every Thursday for their $1 day and my children have enough clothes that I am in “buy ahead” mode now. We live in Phoenix, so I really think about the need for cold weather clothing, an oversight I usually regret come January!

    So, I made sure that I checked the sweater sections today and was able to pick up some great stuff. We are going to a colder climate in November for a wedding, too, so I’m glad for the reminder to think ahead.

  • Kathy says:

    People, Hit the resale shops in your area or take a roadtrip to the next town and hit their resale shops…(FYI can look up resale and city on the internet to find some) also hit the church rummage sales and local rummage sales in the “well to do” towns in your area. You will find that people who are not too bad off will be happy to barter with you if you are buying and clearing the clutter out of their homes. I spent a total of $15 for all my daughter’s winter clothes (24-36 mos sizes) last winter and spent about the same for this summer minus a pair of disney princess sandals that she really really wanted so I gave her those for her birthday. Some churches will even organize clothing swaps where people bring their clothes to swap for other’s clothes. You can actually pay nothing for new clothes at a swap. I have gotten lots of jeans that way since our ladie’s sizes fluctuate so much and we have the tendancy to toss jeans that are too small but still new. Just a few suggestions for those struggling. New is not always the better way to go.

  • Jennifer T. says:

    I manage to get my children’s entire wardrobe for the next year at these types of prices. I don’t like to pay full price for any of my girls (2 & 3 1/2) clothes because I know that sometime there will be a sale and most of the places I shop at have discounts to use on top of the sales. I do go very often at these times of year because if you are able to shop in the middle of the week you can catch the clearance when they are first priced and not too picked over. Happy shopping!

  • Sherri says:

    Danielle, You are amazing! I emailed you!

    • Danielle says:

      Hi there Sherri! I just wanted to let you know I didn’t get your email, just so you wouldn’t think I was ignoring you. 🙂 I’d be happy to hear from you!

  • Nicole says:

    another tip that I didnt see mentioned, though I didnt make it all the way down the comments LOL, is jumpers for little girls. Both my girls wore jumpers a LOT when they was little. They could wear them with long sleeves & tights under them in the winter, short sleeves in the spring & as a sundress in the summer. I picked up the shirts at garage sales in the summer for .10 & .25 each & because they was going to be worn under jumpers it was ok if there was a small stain on the front of it cuz it was hidden by the jumper anyway. Made for a very versatile wardrobe that could go thru all the seasons with very little expense

  • Anna says:

    I shop clearance sales, second hand clothing stores, and hand me downs for kids. I buy ahead all the time for my kids. BUT does anyone sew their own clothes out there? I sew my kids clothes as well. I can go to Walmart or another place and get some cute material cheap and sew anything my kids want. I also make all of their hats, gloves, scarves by knitting and crocheting. Someone gave me 3 large boxes of yarn and I made afghans, scarves, hats, gloves, and anything else I could. I make as many things as I can that the kids need as far as clothing.

    I get $10/$10 purchase from Kohl’s on a regular basis. I got 3 this month. I got 2 tops and a undergarment for myself for in the fall OOP $0 using one coupon (2 to go). I will make a skirt or pants to go with them for not too much. I have to lose weight for health reasons so I am keeping clothes for myself to a minimum–kind of like my growing kids but I am shrinking :).

  • Elise Davis-Chavez says:

    I have been doing the same thing for years, and at first my husband thought i was crazy having all these extra clothes for the kids when we didn’t even need them, but when fall and winter rolled around I’d just pull out those clothes and I had no need to buy any. Plus I love a good sale, just take an extra $10 bucks if you have it and every time you go to a store check there sale section. You’ll be surprised at what you find.

  • Neysa says:

    I appreciate the ideas, however buying ahead of season for my daughter is actually a waste of money as her sizes vary so greatly. The advice suggested in this article were great when she was much younger–but 9 going on 10 it makes it much more challenging.

  • Kara says:

    Danielle, what is your email address? I’d like to email you.

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