I have always bought clothing “off season” for the next year. For instance, at the end of summer, I buy lots of T-shirts and shorts for my kids for the next summer. At the end of winter I will pick up coats for them to wear next year. Everything I buy is at least 75% off, sometimes it’s even 90% off. So, when next season rolls around I won’t have to spend TONS of money buying new clothes for 5 children. I do the same with shoes, if they are in a size 1 now, I know they will eventually need a size 2 or 3, so if I see an excellent deal I buy them.
I have bins like these for each of the kids, that I keep in the garage. Whenever I pick something up for someone I just throw it in the bin. Then when a new season rolls around I pull out the bins and decide what items I need to fill in. Shirts are much easier to buy than pants, because different pants fit people different ways. So if there is anything I need to buy, it is usually pants.
Here is a look into the bins of my youngest two. Aren’t those frog and owl pajamas too cute? My little guy is going to look so cute in those! Occasionally, I will buy something that didn’t work out, but I don’t worry about it too much, because I can always give it to family or friends to use. I figure I am saving lots of money buying the clothes this way, so if I make a few mistakes it is no big deal.
Kohl’s – We just recently got some Kohl’s stores here, and technically none of them are that close to me, but if I know I am headed where there is one I will make a point to stop there. The majority of the clothing I buy from Kohl’s is actually online at http://www.kohls.com/. They have excellent clearance prices, you can find stuff 80-90% off. Here is the best part, when you have a Kohl’s charge account, you can always find a code for FREE SHIPPING, and and additional 15-30% off. You can use 2 codes at a time on the Kohls website, so you get the free shipping and the percentage off. I am not a big fan of credit cards, but this one actually saves me money, and I pay it off every month so I am not paying any interest. The free shipping really helps, I can buy single items that are cheap whenever I see them.
Gymboree – If you shop Gymboree when they have one of their additional 20% off sales, or friends and family event (additional 30% off), you can get some great deal. Pair the sales with Gymbucks, and you can find excellent deals. Plus, Gymboree has a great resale value on Ebay or at a childrens resale store. For notification of their sales go to http://www.gymboree.com/ and sign up for their mailing list. If you aren’t familiar with Gymbucks, you can learn about them at their website also.
Old Navy – I don’t buy too much here, but they occasionally have 1/2 off the clearance price sales that are really good.
Crazy 8 (owned by Gymboree) - These stores are fairly new, and we only have one near us, but you can order online at http://www.crazy8.com/. They also have an additional 20% off coupon you can use (I found mine in a parents magazine I think). They are way cheaper than Gymboree, and owned by the same people.
The teenagers (boys):
Aeropostale – The majority of the boys clothes come from here. I mostly buy them t-shirts, polos and hoodies here. They have some great sales, and occassionally they will have an additional 70% off the clearance price. I have found shirts for $3-4, and hoodies for $9-12.
JCPenney & Kohl’s – Just like I mentioned above them have great sales, and I usually buy their pants from these 2 stores.
Hollister – My oldest likes Hollister, and I can even find deals there. They aren’t nearly as good or on sale as often as the other stores, but it is possible to find a deal. I always head straight to the back where the clearance is. I have gotten shirts for 6.90 and even a sweatshirt for 9.90 before.
Also, if you live near a Mervyns, they are another great place to get clearance. All of the stores in our state closed over a year ago. It took me awhile to get over the fact that I didn’t have Mervyns to shop at anymore, I had to attend a 10 step program.
You really can find clearance at any store, you just need to know where it is, and head straight for those clearance racks. Don’t look at any of the new items hanging on the racks, because you might be tempted by those instead.