When it comes to baby clothes, its easy to get carried away and overspend (I mean, everything is just so gosh durn cute!) I remember buying my little one an adorable ‘going home’ outfit to leave from the hospital in.
Yeah… we didn’t use it.
I just couldn’t see the point in undressing my newborn out of his cozy pj’s, putting him in something NOT comfortable, driving 10 minutes and then putting him back in his pj’s. *shrugs*
I probably spent about $30 on that outfit and it only got worn maybe twice before he outgrew it.
But, even besides special outfits, baby clothing is pretty expensive. And babies grow so fast, most items don’t see much wear.
If you’re on a budget (like me), those are powerful reasons for cutting costs when it comes to baby’s wardrobe and sent me on a journey to find out where to buy cheap baby clothes (or even get them for free).
That doesn’t mean driving out to the cheapest shop you can find. No. Designer duds for baby DO make sense – and by designer, I mean those well-known baby brands like OshKosh and Baby B’Gosh, Carters and Sweet Pea.
Wait, what?! Didn’t I just say you shouldn’t spend too much on baby clothes?
I can explain!
Designer brands concentrate on the little details that cheap clothing manufacturers skimp on – little details that make a major difference in fit, appearance and comfort. You want flat seams that don’t irritate, and snaps that don’t scratch or pull through fabric. But you also don’t want to have to pay $30 for a sleeper!
The answer is shopping around for gently worn used baby clothes.
Here’s the scoop on saving money on baby clothes:
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Where to Buy Cheap Baby Clothes (Gently Worn)
1. Try Yard Sales
Yard sales are a great source of baby clothing finds in the spring and summer months. You’ll often find great clothes that are barely worn in bulk lots, so you can pick up sizes for the next couple of years. Check the newspaper for upcoming yard sales or for signs around your local area – baby clothes are often one of the advertised items!
Yard sales are also cheap as chips. Make an offer and you’ll likely be able to pick up the whole batch.
2. Ask Around Family and Friends
What’s cheaper than cheap? That would be free!
If you know someone who’s been keeping baby clothes, just in case they have another, ask if you can borrow them. If they don’t currently have a little one in the size you need, they might just say yes.
A friend of my husband kept all her baby clothes in plastic tubs and used to loan them out to her friends all over the place. It was great! I didn’t have to buy most basics from 0-3 years old!
3. Check the Consignment Shops
Another great place to buy designer baby clothes super cheap is a good consignment shop.
If you strike up a relationship with the owner, she may even start to put aside items she knows you’ll love and give you a call to let you know what she’s got. Once you’re done with the clothes you can often sell the same baby clothes BACK, or trade them in on the next size up when baby outgrows them. Win – win!
4. Look on Freecycle
Another way to get free items for only the price of the gas required to go get them. Freecycle.org is a national movement of community bulletin boards who are committed to the concept of ‘one man’s junk’. Check www.freecycle.org to see if there’s a chapter near you, and join up. There’s rarely a day that goes by that someone doesn’t offer a few bags of baby and children’s clothing in various sizes. The quality varies, but the younger the baby, the more likely clothing will still be in relatively pristine condition.
5. Check out the Thrift Shops
Don’t overlook church and community thrift shops as sources of good, well-cared for baby clothing.
Heads up on Junior League thrift shops – if there’s one near you, you’ll find beautiful clothing for baby at bargain basement prices.
6. Craigslist, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace
This is like the online version of a garage sale, only it’s open 24/7.
There are loads of parents trying to sell off their old baby things (including clothes) on sites like Gumtree. Look for bulk lots (it’s more efficient) and don’t forget to make an offer – list price is often a guide rather than a firm price!
Please stay safe when meeting with online sellers to buy baby gear:
- never go alone.
- meet in a public place.
- tell someone what you’re doing.
Caring for Gently Used Baby Clothes
When you do pick up used clothing for baby, give it a good look over and launder it as soon as you get it home.
You’ll also want to look for:
- the elastic in the waist of pants (you know how elastic goes crunchy when it’s old.)
- missing snaps, buttons, broken zips, tears or holes.
- envelope necklines – they tend to stretch out with frequent use and can leave baby’s shoulders bare.
Pretreat stains if there are any, and wash with a gentle laundry soap. Add borax to the water for extra whitening power, and be sure to rinse at least twice if you use bleach.
When you’re done, you’ll have the best dressed baby in town. And no one will ever know you didn’t spend hundreds of dollars on your baby’s wardrobe (unless you tell them of course!)
Where to Buy Cheap (New) Baby Clothes
Buying gently used baby clothes is a great way to save… but what if you want new? Or you need to buy a couple of things to fill in the gaps in your baby’s wardrobe?
While buying new is usually more expensive than buying used, you can still get a great deal if you have the patience to wait and know how to spot a bargain!
2 Things You Might Want to Buy New
Even if you find these items in your cheap baby clothes haul from Facebook Marketplace or a yard sale, you’ll probably want to grab these new:
- baby vests – these are kinda like baby underwear, tend to be flimsy and catch a lot of wear and stains. It’s a nice thing to get new for your baby. Bonus, you can also usually find them in bulk packs at the shop for cheap.
- basic onesies – another form of baby undies, onesies get a lot of wear and those with an envelope neckline tend to stretch.
1. Your Local Stores
Compare basic (non-sales) prices at your local stores. You can probably do this online! This’ll give you a baseline for comparing whether something you find online or on sale at another store is actually a good deal.
Consider looking at:
- JC Penney
2. Get on the Mailing List
Ugh, I know. More email spam. Who wants that?
But, it’s actually worth it.
If there’s a particular brand that you love and want to buy for your little one, don’t resign yourself to paying full price! Jump on their mailing list – lots of stores (like Carter’s) offer a great discount on your first purchase and will send you info on sales, discounts, more coupons and flash sales throughout the year.
You’ll also get to know the sales cycle and the best offer they have so you can jump on it when it comes around again!
For this baby, I was determined to buy Bonds Zippys for sleepers. I had all snap up sleepers in newborn sizes for my little boy and it was a pain. I signed up to the Bonds VIP mailing list and noticed two things: 1. the best sale they did was 40% off and 2. they had 40% off sales very frequently! No FOMO here!
3. Online Outlets
You can find great deals online in the clearance, sales or outlet sections for your favorite shops and brands. You’ll often see items available online that have been sold out in your local store.
Definitely worth keeping an eye on! Though, mind that postage doesn’t take the shine off the deal.
4. Sales in Store
Sadly, for this online shopper, some of the best deals you’ll ever see on baby clothes are exclusively in store (and not advertised). Try around change of season for items on serious clearance: I’ve seen baby clothes go for $0.75 a piece! Granted these aren’t name brands, but if you just need a handful of extra long sleeve onesies or a baby dress, it’s perfect!
I tend to just happen upon these sales because I’ve got myself into the habit of taking a quick browse through the baby section whenever I visit the store. An even better way would be to ask your friends and family to keep an eye out for you too!
5. Online Only Stores
There are quite a few bargains to be found on online only stores. Here are just a couple:
- Zulily – often has a range of Mommy and Me outfits!
- Groupon – sometimes has “buy $30 credit to use at the store for $x”, though read the conditions in case there’s a catch about how much you have to spend.
I often find these sites getting their ads into my Facebook feed… so keep an eye out there!
Tips for Buying New Baby Clothes For Cheap
- Packs are almost always a better deal than buying individually – onesies, sleepers, socks, vests – you name it!
- If you have the time before baby is born, try to gauge whether a sale is the best price the store does by getting on their mailing list or by researching online (pregnancy app forums are great for this!)
- Stay alert for coupons and deals, stack them when you can!
- If you see an amazing sale, don’t be afraid to buy ahead if your budget will allow it… though be careful with seasonal items as they could end up the wrong size when your baby needs them.
Get the Most out of Your Baby Clothes
Regardless of whether you buy new or used baby clothes, here are some ways you can reduce the cost per use even further!
- plan to use your baby clothes for a second (or more!) baby – choose a majority of unisex newborn baby clothes so you can reuse the same clothes even if your next baby is the opposite sex.
- care for your baby clothes – carry a Tide To Go stain treatment stick and pretreat stains, wash messy clothes as soon as you can to minimise staining.
- once you’re sure you’re done with your baby clothes, sell them to another mom on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to recoup some of the cost (or more likely, to put toward your little one’s next size clothes!)
More Reading on Baby Clothes
- 22 Baby Clothes Hacks That Will Save You Money Big Time
- Quilt From Baby Clothes – The Best Way to Save Your Favorite Keepsake Outfits
- Unisex Newborn Baby Clothes – Why You Should Go Unisex (Even If You Know the Gender!)
- 19 Brilliant Baby Clothes Organizer Ideas
- Where to Get Carter’s Cheap
- Baby Clothes: Everything a First Time Mom Needs to Know [Ultimate Guide]