From infancy through college kids sure need a lot of supplies; diapers, cribs, strollers, car seats, clothes, shoes, books and tuition, the list goes on and on. Let's be honest...these necesities can be expensive! Most kids out grow these items before they wear them out. How do you keep up with their constantly changing needs without breaking the bank? Here are some great places to "shop" smart:
Family and Friends
Family and friends should be your very first stop. Most parents are happy to lend or even give away that bouncy seat, stroller or playpen they are not currently using. The same goes for clothes their kids have outgrown. Jeans and sturdy play clothes can usually be handed down several times before the start to show wear. You save money, they get rid of clutter, and its a win-win situation! (have owners label or initial clothing if they want items returned to them.) Keeping it "in the family" provides an added pleasure when cousins observe, "I used to wear that jacket when I was little."
These types of shops are a great resource. You can find great treasures in these places it is just a matter of looking! You can find good, "almost new" looking kids clothing and even shoes for a fraction of what you'd pay in a store. The Salvation Army and Goodwill Stores often have weekly of holiday sales and "back to school" promotions where they will charge $5 for as many items as you can fit in a paper grocery bag. It pays to stop by these establishments frequently as you'll often find unexpected bargains or items your kids can "grow into." You can also find bargains on children's furniture and toys. Other second hand stores that are worth checking out are Kid to Kid and Deseret Industries.
This time of year in booming with garage sales! Keep your eyes out for those around your neighborhood. Sometimes the will be advertised in local papers, shopping guides and social media. If the sale is in your area, you may even know some of the neighborhood kids who have just out grown the sizes your kids need. Arrive early for the best selection!
Mom to Mom Sales
Have you tried this?! This is one of my favorites. We are all in this together and as mothers we like to help each other out. These types of sales have become very popular as they focus mainly on clothing and supplies. Baby furniture and car seats are also a hot item at these sales (before purchasing a used car seat ALWAYS check the expiration date and ask if it has ever been involved in a car accident). Check Consumer's Report to make sure items meet current safety standards. These types of sales are often sponsored by elementary schools, churches, daycare centers and neighborhood associations. Another way to find mom to mom sales in through social media. There are many facebook groups that are put together by moms in your area where you can buy and sale items there. I recently bought my sons crib this way and got a great deal! Another online way to find things for less in through KSL classifieds. You can search any item you are in need of and find someone in your area who is selling it. You can also sell your items through KSL and make some extra cash to purchase what you need. I highly recommend this way!
Sports swaps can save you a ton of money on expensive sports items. As with clothing, kids often out grow sports equipment within a year. A complete set of hockey or football gear can often be swapped for a different size with another bargain hunter, without any money chaning hands. most attendees arrange their own deals based on the condition of the dquipment. An advertised event promotes a large turnout of interested buyers and sellers. Keep your eyes open for these types of events and bring your little sports fan along to try on ice skates or skis.
Church & Community Pantries & Women's Shelters
These places often have a selection of baby items and children's clothing of rfamilies in need, at little to no cost. These organizations will gladly accept donations if you have outgrown clothing you'd like to pass on.