Shopping on a budget
Wgives her advice on how to find fantastic pre-loved clothes for your kids that won’t break the bank.
ith many families on a single income these days, trying to find spare money to buy children new clothes can be a very stressful experience, and more often than not, families have to rely on other loved ones to buy the kids new outfits for birthday and Christmas presents. If your child is in need of some trendy new clothes for the upcoming season, don't despair. For a limited budget of only $20, you can get your hands on up to dozens of good quality pre-loved clothing items.
Embrace the internet
The internet is a fantastic place to not only buy new kids clothes, but pre-loved outfits as well, thanks to the world's largest online marketplace – ebay, and our local version, Trade Me. Both websites are very simple to use. Trade Me and ebay sellers offer great clothing bargains all year round, but prices tend to be considerably higher between the months of October and January, due to a large number of buyers looking for Christmas presents. This pushes up the demand for quality outfits. From personal experience, I have found that the best time to buy clothes online is between January and April, when hundreds of unwanted Christmas gifts are listed for sale at reduced prices.
The advantage ebay has over Trade Me is the sheer quantity of clothing styles, colours and brands available – everything from designer labels through to cheaper but still fashionable chain store brands. For less than $10 per item, you can find a beautiful dress, a warm winter jacket, a bundle of tops and t-shirts, a couple of winter romper outfits, or a trendy pair of denim jeans. You can also shop 24 hours a day in the privacy of your own home, or while out and about thanks to mobile apps.
From my many years of buying second hand clothing for my children, I have found the best bargain buys at local charity shops. Most local shopping areas have at least two second-hand shops, with the most popular ones run by the Red Cross, Salvation Army, SPCA and local hospices.
The best charity stores to visit are those in wealthy suburbs where many clothes for sale are by trendy designer labels. These clothes have usually only been worn once or twice and are in 'as new' condition. You can also find great treasures in dollar bins, so don't shy away from browsing through the mountains of clothes.
Many of the best bargains can be found at the end of each season, so buy your children clothes for the following summer at the beginning of April, or a month or two before the start of the summer season to grab fantastic bargains before everyone else has the same idea. If you find a lovely outfit for your child that's too big, buy it anyway and put it away for a Christmas or birthday present later on.
If you can spare a couple of hours on a Saturday morning, garage sales are a great way to find incredible clothing, toy, book and furniture bargains. Look in your local newspaper for a list of garage sales being held, and if you want to head out to a few, choose some in the same suburb each time. Most garage sales start at 8am, but I have seen eager bargain-hunters turn up any time from 7.30am.
Garage sales can be hit or miss, but when you find one with a lot of children’s items, you can get some serious bargains. Most items are only $1 each, and you can usually get a few books or soft toys thrown in for free as the sellers are always very keen to get rid of all their unwanted goodies. I have also found exceptional furniture bargains at garage sales, with kids desks and bookshelves in brilliant condition, priced at only $10. It’s a good idea to take a trailer or a car with a good sized boot when you attend garage sales, especially if you are planning to buy furniture items.