According to the USDA, the average annual cost of clothing a child is about $600. I am here to assure you, though, that you can do it for much less. In fact, I maintain that you can practically clothe your baby for free. The following five strategies will get you started on scoring free clothes for your baby. Some people can use all of the suggestions and some may only use one or two. Using any of these suggestions, though, will help to save you money.
- Register for clothing. Most people remember to register for car seats and swings and even bottles, but surprisingly, a lot of people forget to put clothing on their baby registry. Also, be sure to register for more than just newborn and 0-3 month sizes. Be careful, though, to consider the seasons – don’t register for sundresses in a size 9 months if your baby will be nine months old in the dead of winter.
- Leave tags on clothes and keep receipts. Instead of immediately washing your baby’s new clothes and arranging them neatly in his closet, leave the tags on and hang onto the receipts. Why? Because you may have an abundance of one size and be able to exchange a few items for a bigger size. Likewise, your baby could skip the newborn size entirely (both of my babies did) so you could return all of your newborn clothing for bigger sizes.
- Join The Baby Chain. I can’t rave enough about this site. Its motto is “give what you can and get what you need” which pretty much sums up its purpose. When you join (for free), you can donate baby and maternity items to people who need them and you can request the items you need – including clothing. It is a terrific service that everyone should join.
- Join Freecycle. Freecycle is a network of local groups that works similarly to The Baby Chain. Members can offer up things they no longer need and request things that they do. While it is not exclusive to baby items, plenty of baby stuff changes hands on Freecycle.
- Resell your baby clothes. Children’s resale shops are becoming quite popular all over the United States. There are a number of national chains of stores including Once Upon a Child, Children’s Orchard, and Kid to Kid, as well as many independent stores. Parents can bring in their gently used baby and children’s clothing for cash or store credit. In many cases, the store credit will be greater than the cash amount. If you accept store credit, you can go ahead and shop right there for more clothes for your baby – for free!