Shopping for kids winter gear can get expensive, but if you follow these frugal tips your kids will stay warm and your wallet will stay full.
If you live in an area of the country that gets cold and snowy in the winter, you’re likely experiencing a deep freeze right about now. We have just received two feet of snow in one week thanks to two storms days apart, and we’re looking at a high of -14 one day this week. Of course, our weather isn’t usually this extreme, but even in a more moderate winter, dressing your kids in warm winter gear is essential. Unfortunately, kids winter gear can be expensive, especially if you have several children.
But it doesn’t have to be. For each of my kids, I paid less than $40 total for winter boots, snow pants, coats, gloves, hats and scarves. Here are some strategies we use:
Check the clearance racks.
Around mid-January, big retailers will slash the prices of their winter gear. This is a great option for bigger kids’ clothing. I bought my 9 year old son a jacket that had room for him to grow for $15. This is the second winter he’s worn it, bringing my yearly total to $7.50.
This is my best strategy. I bought my two daughters their mittens and hats at a garage sale for $1 a piece. I also bought their boots at a garage sale for $3 per pair. My son’s boots were bought off a mom’s e-mail list where local moms list items they have to sell. His boots cost $10. (I find as he gets older, I have to pay a bit more for his gear because items in his size aren’t as plentiful as they are for smaller sizes.)
Use hand me downs.
Pass the items down as a child outgrows them. My son had black snow pants when he was 3 that his youngest sister is now wearing. I save money by utilizing hand me downs. I don’t think it’s essential that my girls be decked out in pink or purple for their winter clothes. Black snow pants work just fine for her.
Pick neutral tones.
To get the most mileage from winter clothes, pick neutral tones. Passing a pink jacket on to a younger brother is a tough sell. Handing down a blue jacket from one child to a child of the opposite sex is not so tough.
Make your own.
If you’re crafty, you can make your kids’ scarves and hats. My kids all wear scarves their grandma made them.
Ask for items as gifts.
If your child really wants a particular item that is all the rage, she can ask for that as a present for a birthday or Christmas.
Send out the word.
If you’ve used these tactics but still don’t have all the pieces you need, send out the word to friends and family that you’re looking for a jacket to buy in size 5, for instance. Chances are, someone you know has one hanging in their closet that they’d love to get rid of.
What are your best ways to save money on kids’ winter gear?