How to Dress Your Kids on a Tight Budget

Let’s be honest — raising a family isn’t easy. It’s even harder when your family’s on a tight budget. It complicates even the simplest task like keeping their wardrobes stocked. You have to be resourceful if you expect to dress them in comfortable and fashionable clothes while simultaneously saving for their college fund. If you’re worried your bills at the mall are threatening your ability to save for the future, check in with these financially savvy, family-friendly tips for the next time you go shopping.

Hand-me-downs are your friends

At the rate your children grow, the lifespan of the average t-shirt and pair of jeans aren’t very long. It’s especially frustrating when you know you’ve spent a lot of money on these pieces. But don’t throw these clothes away just yet — they still have some life in them!

Make clothes work harder by passing your eldest child’s wardrobe down to their younger siblings. This is the easiest if you have all boys or all girls, but it can be done when you have a mix! Although you may not get a second life out of every piece in their closet, there are some unisex basics that will be easy to share amongst boys and girls.

Organize a swap meet

If you only have one child, hand-me-downs are hard to come by — but not impossible. Organize a clothing swap with friends, family, or neighbors. These get-togethers are the perfect way to exchange old pieces for “new-to-you” ones without spending a single penny.

Don’t worry if you don’t know anyone with kids around the same age as yours. You can join an online parent community to see if someone is organizing a meet in your area. If there isn’t one already scheduled, be the first one to suggest a swap to find money-conscious parents just like you.

Upcycle old clothes

Sometimes, you get unlucky and nobody wants to trade for your old clothes. What are you supposed to do when you return with pieces your kids can’t wear? If you’re willing to sit in front of the sewing machine, you can upcycle old clothing into new pieces for very little money.

With a few adjustments, you can turn an old sweater into leggings just like the folks at So Sew Easy show on their blog. Don’t stop with just their closet — there are tons of tutorials showing you how you can refashion your old clothes into something that will fit your children.

You can also repurpose old pieces into totally new, non-clothing items — like turning leggings into a tote bag or pyjamas into cleaning rags. These hacks will help you avoid spending money in other areas of your budget.

Shop around sales

Eventually, you’ll have to buy something new, and when you do, make sure you time your shopping trip. If you wait until the weather channel broadcasts a UV warning to buy them t-shirts and shorts, you’ll be paying premium prices for summer designs. Shopping for thick sweaters and long pants when the mercury starts rising, on the other hand, can shave off a few dollars from your bill.

This strategy will help offset the expensive back to school season. No, it’s never too early to think about back to school! Before you know it, and it’ll be here. If you don’t plan for it in advance, you can end up using more of your budget to prepare for their return to the classroom.

If you end up cashing in your savings to cover these bills, you may be unprepared for other fall responsibilities — especially if they’re unexpected repairs. Caught in an emergency without savings, you can contact an installment loan lender for help. They’ll help you find out what to do when you need money fast.

Planning in advance will take some getting used to, but it’ll be worth it if you can avoid going over budget on clothes. Make sure you’re up for the challenge by putting these tips to use. They’ll help you keep up with your children’s growth spurts!