The temperatures are dropping and the holidays are right around the corner. As moms, we know this means it’s time to transition our family’s wardrobes to warmer clothes for the winter months ahead. However, affording high-quality, weather-appropriate attire for the kids on a tight budget can be challenging.
To help you keep your family warm and stylish this winter without breaking the bank, here are my top 10 tips for budget-friendly winter wardrobe shopping:
1. Take Inventory and Make a List
Before hitting the stores or browsing online, take an inventory of what your family already has for cold weather. Try on last year’s coats, sweaters, scarves and more to determine what still fits and is in good condition. Make a list of any wardrobe gaps that need to be filled with new items. Having a list will help you stick to only purchasing necessities.
2. Shop End-of-Season Sales
One of the best ways to save money on winter gear for the family is to shop end-of-season sales. Look for winter clearance sales during the warmer spring and summer months. Retailers are eager to unload their remaining cold weather inventory to make room for the new season. You can typically save 50-75% off original prices.
3. Scout Thrift and Consignment Shops
Gently used winter wear is abundant at local thrift stores and children’s consignment shops. And the savings are incredible, usually at least 50% less than buying new. Take time to scout shops in your area. Look for quality winter coats, sweaters, boots and accessories in like-new condition.
4. Skip the Trends – Choose Classics
Trendy winter clothing for kids is usually more expensive and won’t last. Instead, choose timeless, classic style winter wear in neutral colors. These pieces will coordinate with existing items in their closets and can be worn for several seasons. That’s key when trying to maximize a limited clothing budget.
5. Layer for Versatility and Cost Savings
Building a versatile winter wardrobe around layers is wise. Opt for long sleeve t-shirts, turtlenecks, flannel shirts, sweaters and vests that can be mixed, matched and layered as needed. You’ll get more use out of each piece and need fewer overall items. Plus, thinner layered items are often less expensive than expensive heavy coats.
6. Take Proper Measurements
Don’t guess on sizes when shopping winter wear sales online. First, properly measure your child following size chart instructions. Compare those measurements to the store’s sizing information. This will ensure you select the right size item to avoid the hassle of returns and exchanges.
7. Compare Prices and Shop Sales
Even when shopping sales, compare prices for the same or similar items at various retailers. Check both in-store and online since prices can vary. And don’t forget to check coupon sites and retailers’ current promo codes for any additional discounts to maximize your savings.
8. Buy Big for Maximum Wear
For younger kids who rapidly outgrow clothing, consider buying their winter wear a size or two larger than their current size. This is especially true for more expensive items like coats and snow boots. They’ll get more wear throughout the winter season and you’ll extend the useful life of those items.
9. Add Fun with DIY Accessories
Customizable winter gear and accessories can be pricey. Get creative and make your own to complete winter looks on a budget. Knit scarves, fingerless gloves or hats to match their coat. Decorate blank knit beanies with fabric paint, puffy paint or iron-on appliques. Or reuse old sweaters by cutting them into infinity scarves.
10. Organize Hand-Me-Downs and Swaps
If your kids are close in age, organize a clothing swap with friends who also have young children. Trade hand-me-downs so each of you gets “new-to-you” winter wear for free. You can also host a swap event where everyone brings winter items their kids have outgrown to trade and swap with others.
Staying on budget doesn’t mean compromising style or warmth this winter. Use these tips to shop smart and build affordable winter wardrobes for the kids. Let me know if you need any other money-saving advice for dressing the family this cold season!