As a mum of three kid’s, I’ve spent over 20 years buying kid's clothes. From school uniforms to party outfits, and while I’m not sure how much I’ve spent in that time (or I don’t want to know) I’ve picked up shopping habits that save me a fortune. It’s fair to say it’s taken 3 kids to get me to this point, so I’m sharing these tips to save you time!
My first tip, in a way, involves planning ahead. Of course, many parents don’t know if they will have more than one child. But if more than one child is part of your plan, pick up as many gender-neutral basics as you can. This is a long-term way of saving money, but well worth it. Whatever gender your next child is, you will start with a ready-made wardrobe.
So what are the basics? If you’re shopping for newborns, pick up packs of white, cream or primary colour babygrows and continue to stick to those colour themes moving forward. Some of the most expensive things you will buy from the start are snowsuits, jackets and coats so make sure they are neutral colours too.
As kids get older you will find that denim and corduroy are your friends. They are easy to wash, they look cute and they’re hardwearing. Select these in gender-neutral colours too as jeans and dungarees never go out of fashion.
And if you really want to add pink and blue, do it with some inexpensive accessories like socks and hats. Gender-neutral clothing is still a great option for parents with one child, as it’s a cool look and makes it far easier to sell these clothes in the future, but more on that later.
Bread, milk, eggs…school uniform
Kids' supermarket clothes are awesome! In general, the quality is equal to the more expensive brands but easier on the pocket. I love the convenience of picking up school uniforms, pants, socks, t-shirts and more while I do my grocery shop.
My recent bargains have included packs of school polo shirts that were 70% cheaper than my local school uniform shop and a winter coat that was £35 in comparison to a well-known outdoor clothing company charging £80 for an almost identical version.
It’s worth exploring the F&F range from Tesco, Nutmeg from Morrisons (great reductions in the sale), TU from Sainsbury's and my favourite, which is George from Asda. I find the clothes from the George range are a great fit, and great quality and my kids have loved the designs - it’s important that they love what they wear!
School uniform swap shop
In the last few years, our local school has started a swap shop for uniforms. One of the most expensive clothing purchases for any parent is the school uniform and this is the ideal way to reuse and save hundreds of pounds.
Just take along the uniform your child has outgrown and swap it for the next size up. No money exchange, just clothes. And if your school don’t currently offer this service, why not suggest it at the next PTA meeting? You won’t be the only grateful parent, I assure you.
Local NCT sales (nct.org.uk)
Your local NCT (National Childbirth Trust) will often hold nearly new sales. It’s a great place to find bundles of baby and toddler clothing at bargain prices. But parents often clothes swap here too, which means you don’t spend a penny!
Babies grow at a rapid speed so you can be left with clothes that don’t fit within a matter of weeks. Swap your newborn's clothes for 3-6 months with another parent and just keep going. You can buy other baby essentials too, well worth knowing for those on a budget and those living sustainably.
And if you don’t have a local NCT you could arrange a clothes-swapping, and meet up with other local mums. Jilly Blankenship, a baby sleep consultant, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and mum of two says ‘Organise a clothing swap with other parents to exchange clothes your kids have outgrown for clothes that fit them’. https://www.babysleepmadesimple.com
Charity shop bargains
Charity shops are a bargain hunter's paradise! I find that kid's clothing in charity shops is often priced a lot lower than adult clothing. But, it often takes up more time than I’d like with no guarantee of finding what you’re looking for.
If you’re a regular shopper at charity shops and enjoy browsing this is a great way to find affordable kid’s clothes and of course, you’re supporting a charity at the same time. Another advantage is that the clothes' condition will be checked over, so you don’t need to worry about them being clean or stained. But other ways of buying second might suit you better…
Ok, so this app has been a game-changer for me. Vinted allows you to sell and buy new and second-hand clothing and accessories. The app is free to download and register for. You can search for items by different categories like products, brands and sizes. You can choose from new with tags, like new or satisfactory. It’s a great way to buy second-hand kids' clothing and saves time compared to visiting a charity shop.
Bundles of kids' clothes are popular on Vinted. Often sold by size, I recently picked up a bundle of t-shirts for my 11-year-old. I paid £8.50 including postage, my bundle contained 7 t-shirts, 3 of which were new with tags! Don’t be afraid to haggle a little, you can message the seller and offer a fair price, most sellers are expecting this. Vinted is brilliant for all ages, but I find it especially good for my pre-teen and teen as I can find the expensive brands that they crave for a fraction of the RRP.
Remember how I mentioned buying gender-neutral clothing? As well as becoming practical hand-me-downs, gender-neutral bundles sell really well on apps like Vinted. It’s easy to buy on Vinted and easy to sell. When you sell on the app you can cash out or save the money you made in your Vinted wallet. I tend to save my earnings in my Vinted wallet, this way it works like a bring-and-buy sale online and it feels like I’m not really spending any money. In reality, I am, but far less, and I’m doing my bit for sustainability.
Car boot and jumble sales
You can bag some real bargains at car boot and jumble sales. After people have had a mass clearout at home they want to get rid of items all in one day so be brazen and haggle! If you’re like me and don’t mind taking a chance, arrive toward the end of the day and items are practically given away.
Your local school will likely hold car boot and jumble sales and it comes as no surprise that they are the best for kid's clothing. Again this is a great place to pick up bundles of clothing or offers like - 3 items for a fiver or buy one get one free are popular here. I don’t think I’ve ever bought any of my kids a brand-new pair of wellies, I always seem to find a pair at a car boot sale in great condition for a couple of pounds.
Make do and mend
Get thrifty! When I was a kid, my play clothes often had random patches of material sewn onto the elbows of jumpers or knees of dungarees. I’m not saying that you need to go that far but some basic repairs on well-loved clothing are a great way to save money
YouTube have thousands of simple tutorials to follow if you are a total novice. From replacing a broken zip to turning trousers into shorts. I’m a massive fan of Wonder Web, it’s a great way to take up trousers and skirts or attach school badges without getting the sewing kit out. Just iron it on and your good to go.
Check the sale rail
I know, shopping in the sale is an obvious way to save money. But when buying kid's clothing there are additional things to consider.
Try and find items in the next size up or even a few sizes up, especially when it comes to winter coats. Yes, they can grow into them, but you can put these bargains away until they are needed.
Shop with seasons in mind. There is no point in buying shorts and t-shirts that will fit next winter. But if you find some bargain knitwear that will, that’s great. Planning is key when shopping for younger kids, it saves so much money in the long ru
Hire clothes instead of buying
Hiring clothes instead of buying them is becoming increasingly popular. We are all striving to become more sustainable, but it’s not always budget-friendly. However, thelittleloop.com seems to have solved this problem. This subscription service gives parents access to a shared wardrobe full of ethical clothing brands
Choose the level subscription that suits your budget and get credits. Credits can be used to hire the clothing that you like but then swapped for alternative styles and sizing when needed. If, like me, you are concerned about footing the bill for stains or repairs, don’t worry. Clothes are fully insured - no need to worry about the chaos that kids bring!
Look for voucher and discount codes
One of the easiest ways to save money is by adding a voucher or discount code. MyVoucherCodes offer discount codes and promotions from over 1000 retailers, including those that offer children's clothing. I find the sale at Studio.co.uk offers excellent value on kid's clothing and sales are held all year. But if you spot great kid's clothes that aren’t in the sale Cody Beecham, founder and owner of Personal Finance Guru says ‘Save vouchers for bigger purchases or items that rarely go on sale to maximise your savings’. personalfinanceguru.com
Most of us are shopping online, so it makes sense to sign up for a cashback website. And this applies when shopping for kid's clothes too. Especially when you are a new parent and might be purchasing enough clothes to get your little one started. Remember that you will need to shop via the cashback store so they need to be partnered with the retailer that you would like to shop with. Top Cashback rates very well on Trustpilot with a rating of 4.5.
Capsule wardrobes for kids
It’s easy to get into the habit of overbuying kid's clothes, especially when we think they will look cute or it has a character print that we know your kids adore. But it’s important to stick to what is really needed. After all, they grow so fast that too many clothes will never get worn.
Think about a capsule wardrobe, based on season, flexibility (remember, those gender-neutral colours help with this), comfort and quality. For example, a summer capsule might contain as few as 6 pairs of shorts/trousers, 6 t-shirts and 2 hoodies. Chose items that mix and match, that you know are comfortable and of good quality so they last. Obviously, you need to figure out what’s best for you, the kids and your budget - but it really does help to reduce spending and reduce landfill waste.
Whatever your budget, there are ways to clothe your kids without breaking the bank. The money you save by using these simple tips can go towards the rest of the household budget or something fun for the whole family to enjoy. In addition to saving money, you are helping to prevent more clothing from going to landfill. According to wrap.org.uk, we add an estimated £140 million worth of clothing to landfill each year. Saving money and the environment can only be a good thing.
Hi, I’m SJ. I’m an editor and content executive here at MyVoucherCodes. I started my journey here as a deals expert which gave me the skills to become a money-saving expert. You can find my tips and recommendations in various publications including The Sun, The Mirror, and The Telegraph.
I gained a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and I’ve put my writing skills into many projects since then. My portfolio at sarahjaneoutten.com includes my work with Cardiff Times, Buzz Magazine and more.
I write poetry and short stories for pleasure and enjoy getting creative with watercolours and lino printing. I hope that I can merge my love of writing and art into a children's book in the future - watch this space!