Clothing on a Budget – How to find Affordable Clothing

Clothing can be a huge expensive for a family.  Budgeting for clothes can be stressful, especially for the kids who sometimes seem to grow out of their clothes mere months after you bought them.  However, it is possible to find affordable clothing on a budget.

Clothing on a Budget

So, here’s the truth.  When it comes to clothing, I don’t really budget for my husband and I.  It’s kind of one of those situations where we take care of our needs in this department last, because we have three young kids and a tight budget.  Our money goes to what they need before we consider taking care of our own clothing needs.  I tend to wear my clothes out till their worn and tearing.  I know other moms can relate.  Plus, I personally hate shopping for clothes.  Gone are the days when I could just walk into all those hip stores in the mall and find anything and everything I liked and could pull off.  Now I struggle to find something that doesn’t scream “mom jeans” but also isn’t me trying to wear something all the teens are wearing these days.  Plus, with a busy household, who has time to shop for clothes?

Please, people, tell me I’m not the only one with this struggle?  I even went into Walmart tonight and actually tried on a few shirts only to be disappointed with every single one.  Maybe my expectations for clothing is too high.  I want something decent that is affordable.

Anyways, regardless of the trouble I now have in the clothing department, I do make sure my kids are covered in this area.  Kids can be hard on clothes, so finding affordable clothing are key to shopping for clothing on a budget.

The following are tips i use to keep the kids’ clothing budget under control, but many of these ideas can be used for your own personal clothing budget.


Accept hand-me downs when someone offers them.  We have been blessed over the years with so many hand-me downs.  Other people who know us and our tight budget think of us when they are getting rid of clothes.  They often offer them to us before they take them to the thrift store.  I will go through them and then pass on what I can’t use to either someone else I know who can use them, or to a thrift store.  Don’t be turned off by hand-me downs.  No one has EVER looked at my children’s clothing and assumed they were hand-me downs.  Most people who offer hand-me downs make sure they still have a lot of wear left in them.

Remember to pay it forward and give hand-me downs to other people to keep the cycle going!  Because we get hand-me downs so often, they can sometimes can have little wear in them after we are done with them, and therefore are no good to pass on since they’ve been through multiple kids by that point..  But I always make sure to pass on what is in good shape, and I love giving someone else my daughter’s beloved dresses to another little girl to enjoy!

Shop at thrift stores.  Kids often outgrow clothes quickly.  Therefore, the thrift store is full of gently used clothing for kids.  Often you can tell they have not been worn all that long.  The prices can be amazing!  Bring your kids along and get them involved in the process.  This way they can help pick what they like, and they see that there is nothing wrong shopping at thrift stores.  My kids already talk about various prices in the stores when out, and I will always hearing them discuss among themselves what is a good deal and what isn’t.  They are already learning the value of money by being part of the process.

Shop at garage sales.  There isn’t a Spring and Summer that goes by that I don’t find piles and piles of clothing for kids at garage sales, especially for babies. You can usually get clothing at these places for insanely cheap prices.

Shop at consignment stores.  Consignment stores tend to be a little more choosy about what they accept to sell which means you can usually depend on the level of quality in these shops.  You will most likely pay a little more than the thrift stores, but it will still often be less than if you were to buy the items brand new.

Hit the clearance racks.  Sometimes I can find clothing just as cheap or even cheaper than the thrift stores on the clearance racks.  Often it is end of season clothing on sale that you can buy a size bigger than your child for the following year.  Always think ahead, especially for more expensive purchases like snowsuits, etc.  If you buy them at the end of season on the clearance rack, you will pay considerably less.  The best place to find the clearance racks are usually at the back of the store.

Skip the name brands.  Name brand clothing is expensive.  Many of us grew up without wearing Nike or Adidas and we lived through it without it causing lasting trauma.  Kids will be okay without name brands.  If your child really wants name brand clothing, offer to pay the price you would pay for the knock off brand, and they can pay the difference with any money they have from part-time or side jobs (if they are old enough to work) or from birthday or Christmas money they received from relatives for the exact brand they want.

Get creative with clothing to make them versatile.  I always say kids can pull of anything. Remember this when dressing them for the seasons.  For instance, my daughter wears skirts in the Summer.  In the Winter she wears a lot of the same skirts with leggings.  This works great for church.  The leggings alone would be too casual for church, but the skirt alone would be too cold in the winter.  The combination solves the problem.  The same goes for some of her button up sleeveless shirts she uses in the Summer.  She can use it over a shirt in the winter for a vest-type look.

When buying clothes, buy some that can be worn by boys and girls.  Okay, my daughter has a lot of clothes my boys wouldn’t touch, and vice versa.  But we do have some clothing that are more neutral that works for all of them, so when my daughter is done with them, my boys can wear them.  Mostly this has worked well for some coats we have, along with things like winter hats, mittens, and even a couple sweatshirts, which is great since those are more expensive than something like a shirt or pants anyways.


Affording clothing for your kids, or for yourself does not have to break the bank.  With some careful thought and planning you can make sure that everyone is dressed for the seasons, looking stylish, and wearing their sizes.

There are so many different options when it comes to finding cheap clothing for your whole family.  Be sure to try some of these above tips to shop for clothing on a budget.

Related: How to Afford the cost of Having a Child

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