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Budget shopping for kids: Save money when buying clothes for kids

Budget shopping for your kids

It's hard to find fashionable and affordable clothes for children. Here is the scoop on dressing your little bargainista (or bargainisto) in the hottest fashions for less!

Mom shopping with little girl

Dressing girls

Most of us struggle to find clothing for girls that don't make your favorite five-year-old look like a mini Britney Spears. There are plenty of stores to find age-appropriate items like Old Navy, Children's Place, and the Gap. These stores offer great pieces for reasonable prices. (Bargain tip: Always buy items like shirts, pants and jackets one size up, so that it can last into the following year.)

H&M and Steve & Barry's (neither of which are completely available across the US yet) have some of cutest clothing for girls -- and for you! -- at even lower prices than the Gap offers.

Target is one of the best stores to find great bargains for girls. The options are limitless and the clothes are generally well-constructed, with most items in the $10-$17 range. As a bonus, shopping at Target is very acceptable (unlike K-Mart), so you can save money without worrying about the "cool" factor.

If you are a department store shopper, try stores like Macy's, which has great deals on children's clothing during their major sale events, and Sears, where the clothes are guaranteed to last through at least one kickball season. Two more options: Kohl's and JC Penney's, both of which have seemingly perpetual sales on a wide variety of basics for everyone in the family.

Avoid department stores that tend to price children's clothing at the same price point as adults. (There is no reason a 4T Ralph Lauren Skirt should cost the same as an adult-size skirt from the same company.)

Dressing boys

It seems like the designers for boys clothing are hell-bent on making them look like little action heroes. Bargain shopping for these tykes is an art form that few understand.

Target has great stuff for little guys, with Children's Place giving the most for your bucks. However, Sears is also a really good place to find cute little items from brands like Sean John and Levi's -- and for very reasonable prices. 

Although Old Navy is great place for basics like cargo pants and T-shirts,The Gap also has a lot of great stuff. Brightly-colored lumberjack jackets and knit caps will keep your little guy looking stylish!

Two more good places: T.J. Maxx and Marshall's. (Although the newer T.J. Maxx stores look quite upscale, it's still a great place to find a bargain.) Usually both of these stores have nice clothing from designers like Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, OshKosh and Converse -- to name just a few -- for such bargain prices that you could also pick him up a little toy to make up for dragging him around the stores!

Dressy outfits

When you want to spend a little more on something like a good suit or party dress, head to the outlets of the big expensive department stores -- like Neiman Marcus (Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance Centers), Saks Fifth Avenue (Off 5th) and Nordstrom (Nordstrom Rack) -- that also have kids' departments. Use the links above to find the outlets nearest you. You can find designers like Betsey Johnson and Ralph Lauren for kids, and Nordstrom also has an amazing selection of shoes for little ones.

Saving grace: The web

The Internet has revolutionized shopping for children. Long gone are the days of having to meander through stores with a screaming three-year-olds! Put the kids to bed, grab a cup of chamomile tea and start to shop.

Check out these online stores:

  • Zappos.com - Great selection of shoes, including from designers like Bibi and Kenneth Cole.
  • Target.com - Cheap and cool: a great combo.
  • Overstock.com - A wide selection and rock bottom prices. Especially great for coats.
  • SmartBargains.com - Lots of great buys in a variety of categories, from furniture to clothing.
  • Babystyle.com - Keep your favorite infant stylish with clothes from this online fave.
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