Clothes: Second Hand or Not?

After I became pregnant with our first child, like any other young couple, we didn’t have any money: mortgage, utilities, car loan, etc. were already taking over our income without the extra cost a child could bring. In order to save a few dollars, I started going to a previously used child clothing store to buy some of my son’s clothes.

I searched for items that looked brand new, or had the original tags. The price of the shirts ranged from $2 to $6, and pants, $3.50 to $8. The cheaper items were a little more worn. I thought it was a great place to stack up on everyday clothes that were going to be quickly outgrown.

Then one of my friends pointed out that it might not be saving me any money, as some of the shops have equally good prices if you buy things at the right time. I found that regular stores have great sale events or even year-long clearance sections, so I started comparing the price and quality of items in the different stores.

Old Navy: It is a great spot to buy inexpensive clothes with fair quality. They always keep a small area with clearance clothes that you can’t find on their website. Most of the items are from the same season; they were purchased via internet and they won’t be restocked in the shop. Last year I purchased some dresses (size 2T) for $2, a hat for $1.99 and pullovers (5T) for $4.80. My friend bought fleece pants for $0.79 each. Winter boots (size 12) were only $8 out of season. They also have coupons, sales and events with $10 off a minimum $50 purchase.

Joe Fresh: They make great clearances at the end of every season. It is really hard to find the clearance items on their website and sometimes they have different pricing online so you are better off finding them in-store. Also, several times a year they give $10 off a minimum $50 purchase (it does not matter what you buy). Items can vary from $2 for toddler shirts, to $9.99 for a size 5 winter jacket. (I also bought some sweaters for me for $6.95 and some polo shirts for my husband at only $4!)

Children’s place: An excellent place to shop for high quality clothes with good bargains, especially at the end of the season. They also have flash sales and clearance events throughout the year. I bought several shirts originally priced at $12, with 80% off. That made the price $2.40 per shirt (if my math is correct).

Carter’s: Their clearances are not as good but they have great sales and coupons that can sometimes be combined, making prices unbeatable. The quality of the clothes are not the greatest but if your children grow as fast as mine, they won’t wear the same set of clothes for long anyway.

As an example, last week I received a promotional e-maiI and purchased a few things using a discount code:

Overall, I saved $21.20 and ended paying an equivalent of $4.80 for each pant/shirt. On top of all that I got a $10 coupon that I will use for my next shopping spree. Not a bad deal.

As I said before, the shirts and pants at the second hand shop were $2-$8. With that in consideration, is it worth shopping in second hand stores?

I would say it's not worth it. You might find decent items in second hand shops, but it takes time and let’s not forget that most of the things are already used. Finally, finding clothes in good condition over size 3T might be hard, as the children don’t grow out of them as quickly as before.

If you are aware when the clearances occur at the regular shops and you know what you are looking for, you’ll have no problem purchasing new clothes at a fair price. Tip: sign up for the newsletters, check their websites regularly and follow your favorite shops in Facebook.

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