Thursday, May 26, 2011

How I Save Money - Buying Clothes Off Season

I have a confession to make - I really hate garage sale shopping.  Some of my friends are really into it and I know a lot of the money savers out there get some great deals but I find it very tedious and time consuming.  Additionally, I don't feel like I really find a lot of great deals out there.  Since I like to save money and really needed to be as frugal as I could when my kids were little I got in the habit of buying my kids clothes off season.

Buying clothes off-season can also be a little bit of work since it does require digging through racks but I find that to be more enjoyable than going to rummage sales.  Here are some of my suggestions for buying off season

  • Make sure you truly understand the store's sizes and and account for your children's growth spurts.
  • Make sure you truly understand what your kids like.  Buying ahead was easier for my son than it was for my finicky daughter.  I stopped buying off-season for her before I did my son.
  • Ask the sales associates if they know when items will be clearanced.  If you know when they will mark down items you can eliminate unnecessary trips.
  • Go back to your favorite stores fairly frequently and check the clearance racks.  If you can sneak away without the kids this isn't as time consuming as it sounds.  I would typically do this when I had to drop the kids off for dance or confirmation classes.
  • Sign up for e-mails from your favorite stores and pair the offered discounts with the sale prices
  • Don't by extremely trendy clothes off-season.  There are quite a few 'classic' pieces that can be bought.  Save the trendy pieces (if you want them) for the season that they belong in.  I find that I can buy a couple pieces of trendy items and the kids would be satisfied.
  • Be aware that you may buy things that won't fit when the season comes.  Every once in a while a kid will shoot up and you may find some of the pants you bought look like you are preparing for a flood.  With that in mind....
  • Ask a friend with kids larger and/or smaller than your kids to go in with you.  If you have a good friend that you can buy the clothes off or sell the clothes to that don't fit your child and/or your children don't like you will cut down the possibility of an item not being worn.
  • Stick the clothes back and don't let your kids know you have them.  I find that my kids really enjoyed getting new clothes for school, if they knew the clothes were sitting in the closet it wasn't as big of a thrill for them.  I would buy the clothes without them knowing and then pull them out before schoolsaying "Look what I got you".  This may be a little bit of bait and switch but it worked for us. 
  • If you have a friend who can get a discount if they will shop with you.  Some friends don't like to do this but if you are close enough I would ask but be prepared with a quid pro quo (i.e. free babysitting, etc).  My mom had a 25% discount at a high quality kid's clothing store.  It wasn't unusual for me to get $100+ winter jackets for $7 - $15 dollars.  I was very sad when my daughter wouldn't wear that brand any more.
While I don't buy as many of my kids clothes off season (I don't have a teenage daughter now) I still buy quite a few of my clothes off season.  I try to add a few new pieces to my wardrobe each year including some timeless pieces and some trendy pieces.  This allows me to keep my wardrobe fairly fresh without costing me a fortune.

Do you have any tips for buying clothes off season?

1 comment:

  1. I like your suggestion about buying classic pieces. I have had friends who went through horrible financial problems, but she owned a lot of solid colors and classic pieces. That enabled her to NOT buy clothes for a while, without sacrificing style. Great tip!