05 March 2012

Thrifting for Baby on a Budget-Guest Blogger Lauren!

Today's post is brought to you by the lovely Lauren from Ruthie Pearl.  Thank you Lauren!!

The other morning, I took Harper to Book Babies (the weekly sing/dance/read/play event at our local library), and there was this other baby her age (8.5 months) with a pair of Tiny Toms. Of course, the little girl couldn't crawl, much less walk, but I found myself envious of the adorable things. The mom was raving about how well they stayed on the baby's feet and how she thought it was so important for kids to wear shoes in the winter. (A few minutes later, I noticed one of the tiny shoes in a corner while the little girl played on the floor with just the one remaining on her feet.I realized the mom was probably justifying the ridiculous expenditure to herself - not me.)Still, I wanted those Tiny Toms for Harper. I went to our local pricey baby boutique, and they had them. In silver. In Harper's size. For $26.50. "And so it begins," I thought. You know, that awful competitive nature that comes out in parents whether its regarding their kids' sporting activities or infant wardrobe. I decided to forego the $26.50 baby shoes since, well, I have bought Harper several pairs of other shoes at the thrift store (for $2.99, no less) to find them immediately off her toes and into her mouth as a new teething toy. YUM. But this raises a good question - how can we keep our wee ones looking good without breaking the bank? I mean, I don't like to think of myself as a vain person, but COME ON! These babies are ADORABLE and we must show them off at every opportunity, right? Can I get an AMEN? :)Enter thrift shopping. But not just ANY thrift shopping - thrifting on a budget. 

Yes, that's right. You can buy your baby's entire wardrobe using penny rolls if you try realllllly hard (and have lots of pennies, duh). I actually took this big pile of pennies into Savers the other day to buy Harper some things. The teenager behind the counter said, "Do you mind if I ask, why do you have all these pennies?" I looked at her kind of like she had grown two heads and said, "Duh, it's money, you know." TEENAGERS!!! (Ahhh, scary, I am going to have one of those someday!)Before I get into the ins and outs of thrifting on a budget for your baby, let me just show you everything I got yesterday at Thrift Town for $18.63. That's right - $18.63 for everything you see below (plus a treat for me that you'll see at the end!).

Four long-sleeved tees in cute prints and soft fabric.

Three adorable t-shirts. My favorite brand is Circo - their prints are so cute, and the tops are really comfy. I like to buy these a bit too big so Harper can wear them now over a bodysuit and in the summer by themselves. 

Four tank tops for this spring/summer. I suspect these will be a staple when the temperature is hovering around 100 degrees. I picture her with one of these, a flouncy skirt and a wide-brimmed sunhat to protect her little skin from the sun. 

Three flouncy skirts. Every little girl needs flouncy skirts. 

This sleeveless shirt with precious flowers. I love little details like this that give Harper's outfits a little bit of sweetness. 

See how I've cropped this photo and folded the sleeves over? That's because Harper wore this shirt today and already got baby Tylenol all over the front (teething - ouch!). I'm sure it will wash out, but this is another reason thrifting is so great! You won't feel tooooo bad about something getting stained and ruined if you only paid $2 for it.

I love dresses like this because when they get too short, they can be worn as tunics or shirts. From my experience, there often isn't THAT much difference in the circumference of baby clothes - it's more in the length. Harper has a few tops that are size 3-6 months that she can till wear. This one will probably last her through the summer (as a dress) and into next fall/winter (as a top). 

Four cute hooded sweatshirts. We still have a month or two of colder temperatures here, so these always come in handy. I love to throw them on over a bodysuit for an instantly pulled-together (and warm!) look. I got these all in larger sizes so Harper can roll the sleeves up this year and still be able to wear them in a few months when summer's over. 

You are probably wondering...where are all the pants? Well, Harper wears cloth diapers. Big, fluffy cloth diapers. Store-bought pants don't fit over her bum, so I sew most of her pants myself. I absolutely love the Big Butt Baby Pants pattern for cloth-diapered babies, and I'm working on a pattern for leggings (out of knit fabric) for cloth-diapered babies, too. (Sound awesome? Subscribe to my blog to find out when the pattern is available in a few weeks!) 

So how do I do it? Here are my pointers for outfitting your baby or toddler on a budget:
  • Check out your local thrift stores to see which ones have the best selection of kids' stuff. I am lucky to live in Salt Lake City where we have Deseret Industries (owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), Thrift Town, Savers an several other options. Knowing where to go is the first battle. Otherwise, I could spend a whole weekend driving around town trying to find the best deals! For kids' clothes, I tend to stick to Thrift Town. It's a smaller store, but their baby selection can't be beat.
  • Subscribe to shopper programs and/or email lists for your local thrift stores. I am in the Super Savers Club and the Thrift Town VIP program. Not only do I get special access to sales and other discounts, but I also am notified in advance via email of upcoming events. 
  • Inquire about upcoming sales when you're shopping at your local thrift stores. The way I got all the items above for so little dinero was that I purchased them on a day when children's clothing was 50% off at Thrift Town. I cut my bill in half just by being patient for a sale day. 
  • Look for "tag sales." This is when items with tags of a certain color are half price or $.99 - that sort of thing. You get pretty good at spotting certain color tags when you know the potential savings!

Have your husband/partner/mom/neighbor keep the kiddos while you're shopping. This way you can get in and get out - no fussy babies distracting you from the awesome deals, and you'll be back in no time to continue the fun with your family. 
  • Count coins! I wasn't kidding above when I said I sometimes shop with pennies. Keep a jar on your dresser and collect change from your pockets. It adds up to a nice thrifting budget!
  • Buy clothing a couple sizes too large. You can always roll up sleeves and pants, or you can put short-sleeved tees over bodysuits for extra mileage. Remember, BABIES GROW FAST!!
  • Don't be afraid to ask your cashier or a store manager to lower the price on an item. Some of our local thrift stores refuse to do this, but others are happy to cut a deal. Ask once, and you'll know the policy. I can often get items for half the listed price if I simply point out a small stain or easily fixable flaw.
  • Don't buy shoes for your non-walking baby. I know. It's hard. The shoes...they are so stinking cute. But don't do it. It's a waste of money. 
  • Don't buy shoes for your baby. SERIOUSLY! ;)
  • Keep a bin in your baby's closet or the bottom shelf of a changing table (or wherever is convenient) for clothing she's outgrown. Once the bin is full, pack it away in a box and label it with the size clothing it contains (0-3mos, 3-6mos, etc.). If you're planning on having another baby, taking the clothing back out and reorganizing will be a breeze. Plus, you won't have to buy all those clothes again! 
  • If you're not planning on having more children, look into taking the gently used clothing to a kids-specific consignment shop. You can sell the clothes and put the money toward YOUR clothing budget! Or, you know, buy your kid some more stuff. 
  See? Clothing your baby in fabulously cute outfits doesn't have to send your credit card bill through the roof. You might even save enough money to buy yourself a little something. In fact, I bought myself these like-new Birkenstocks for just $2.99 when I bought all the above items for Harper last week. YES, Birkenstocks. I am a child of the 90s. I will rock these Birkenstocks AND YOU WILL LIKE IT. Heck, I might even throw on a pair of socks and a flannel shirt with them. I'm bringing it back! For real! (And for just $18.63 total, INCLUDING the Birkenstocks, why not?!)

Thank you so much Lauren for the great tips!!!
I can't wait to get thrifty with my baby girl's fashion.
I am always looking for a good deal.

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  1. Thrifting baby clothes is the best! The clothes are almost always in good condition and for super cheap. Some of my favorite things my daughter has were thrifted!

  2. What I do a lot is take my kids' clothes into a children's consignment store and use the credit toward things they need. It works out perfectly and sometimes I can even score some brand new toys. :)

    p.s I love birkenstocks too!

  3. Thrifting baby clothes are really awesome they are very cheap and the designs and colors they choose are really cool and in my opinion best suited on my baby.
    baby winter clothes

  4. About to share this article on Twitter. Baby clothing is in such abundance second-hand, no one should ever buy it new. I find so many outfits with the tags still on them since babies outgrow clothes before they can even wear them!

  5. Great post! I'm expecting my first baby in April and I personally haven't bought him anything that wasn't from a thrift store! It's the best place to find clothes! :)


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