My daughter is only 19 months old, yet her closet is already filled with size 3T as in 3 toddler. This isn’t because my daughter is really big for her age. She’s not.
Rather, it’s because buying and outfitting my little one in too-big clothes is one way I’m cutting down the cost of new little clothes, a money saving strategy that is today’s hint and that I mention over at U.S. News Money’s The Frugal Shopper blog in a post on 3 ways to save on new clothes for babies.
I’m not referring to buying bigger styles when they’re on sale and saving them for future use, another tip I like, especially for baby and toddler shoes.
Rather, the gist of this trick is simply to dress your little ones in styles that are a size or two too big, and let them wear the bigger clothes as they grow into them. Assuming that the clothes don’t quickly shrink in the dryer, this tip should help new little clothes have a longer useful life than just-right sizes that are quickly outgrown.
And it’s not just your imagination that the clothes are quickly outgrown. By some estimates, babies typically triple their birth weight and increase their length by about 50 percent during their first year of life alone. Then, in their second year, they will gain an average of four inches, followed by three inches a year through age 5.
This fast growth translates into a lot of clothes, as your little one quickly graduates from one size to another. But hopefully by always going a size or two ahead, you’ll be able cut down a bit on the costs of this quick clothes progression.
I’m not the only fan of this “think big” strategy. For instance, the authors of my go-to baby gear book, Baby Bargains, recommend that new parents skip newborn sizes and instead opt for “3-6 month” sizes because “the average newborn will grow out of newborn sizes way too fast.”
Elsewhere, over at the site DailyFinance, a Kiplinger writer suggests that parents looking to save money on kids’ clothing “buy the next size up.” As the author notes, buying tops, dresses and jackets in sizes larger than her daughters actually wear allows the clothing to be worn longer. The site MagicalChildhood.com, meanwhile, recommends that parents “buy clothes too big” in order to “actually get your money’s worth.” Finally, the site QuickandDirtyTips.com suggests buying larger sizes “so your child has room to grow into, and get more use out of, the items.”
And of course, there’s a variation of this trick that I’m also guilty, and a fan, of. The variation: Let your little ones wear their clothes for as long as possible after they’re starting to get small, with too-small leggings turning into cropped pants and long-sleeve shirts turning into three-quarter-length sleeves. This method, however, is probably not as comfortable for your baby as wearing too-big clothes.
For other tips on how to save money on new and used baby and toddler clothes, check out my full post over at U.S. News Money’s The Frugal Shopper blog. Also check out this hint from Jessica Pallay of Well Rounded NY as well as this hint on how Facebook can help you find used baby clothes.
What are your tricks for cutting down the costs of little clothes?