When it comes to raising your children, it's no secret that expenses can quickly add up. Clothing is one of many essential items that parents need to buy for their kids. But it can also be one of the most expensive.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to find affordable, or even free clothes for children. With around 84% of clothes ending up in landfills in the United States, companies and organizations are taking steps to both reduce waste, and make used clothes in good condition more easily available to those who need them.
In this blog post, we will explore various options for finding free or affordable clothing for your kids no matter what age they may be. Whether you're looking for gently used clothing, baby clothing, winter clothes, or school clothes, there are many different options for you. If you're on a budget and need to stretch your dollar a little further, here are some helpful tips!
1. Your Local Thrift Store
A thrift store is a shop that sells a variety of used items, typically to raise money for some sort of charity. You can find anything from books to furniture to, of course, clothes. Many different people shop at thrift stores for different things. Whether you're looking for a hidden gem or an old relic that's ended up at one of these stores, or if you're simply looking for good quality and stylish clothing for next-to-nothing, thrift stores have something for everyone.
It's a lot of fun to shop at these places too, as you never know what you might find. People tend to spend hours shopping around different thrift stores in their area looking for beautiful clothes or treasures, and typically find that they've spent very little money at the end.
While thrift stores have been around since the early 1950s, they've recently started trending among the teenage and young adult community, as people are appreciating clothing with a bit of character and heart. There are thousands of amazing pieces waiting to be discovered, so if you're in need of affordable clothes, a thrift store will not disappoint. There are many popular thrift store brands as well such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Thred Up (an online thrift shop), but you are likely to find the best deals at your local stores.
2. Local Garage Sale
Garage sales are similar to thrift stores in that you can find all different types of items in one place. While thrift stores get a large amount of their goods from donations, they do have workers in charge of pricing their items so it is definitely harder to bargain for the products you want.
Garage sales are typically hosted by a homeowner who may be moving or just trying to get rid of things they no longer use. The reason garage sales are a good option is because their main goal isn't usually to turn a huge profit, which makes it a lot easier to get things at a very low price.
People are hosting garage sales all the time depending on where you live. For the most part, you can find them in any type of residential area, including suburbs and communities. It's worth taking a drive or walk around different neighborhoods to look for flyers posted on telephone or utility poles. You may also be able to find garage sale announcements online on sites such as yard sale search, GSALR, or craigslist.
Another good option is to simply ask around for hand-me-downs. Many times it's as easy as asking close friends or family with children if they have clothes their kids have grown out of. You never know what someone may have stashed away in a clothing closet or laying around in the "donate" bin. You may be doing someone a favor by taking old clothes off their hands.
4. Consignment Stores
A consignment store is a type of establishment that essentially acts as a physical buy-and-sell platform. They basically accept goods from people, sell them to customers who come in, and give the seller the money from that sale while taking a portion of the money.
The consignment store will tell you how much they can offer you for your item before you make a decision on whether to sell it with them. They are similar to pawn shops except they only give you the money once the sale has been made on their end. You can find a variety of items at these shops such as sports equipment, used clothing, technology, etc.
5. Local Clothing Banks
A clothing bank is best for those who are in desperate need of clothing and other resources. They work similar thrift stores by accepting clothing donations, except instead of selling them to raise funds for a charity, they will typically hand out the clothes directly or have them available for those in need. While most clothing banks require you to qualify in order to receive free clothing, they can be a great resource for those who do.
6. School Swap Meets
A school Swap Meet is a type of fundraiser that is hosted by elementary, middle, or high schoolers where they sell donated clothes for cheap prices with their school or class. If you have a child who's currently in school, you may want to check for these types of events happening in the near future where you could find your child some new clothing.
7. Community Swaps
A community swap is a good way to exchange clothing with people who might find value from the clothes you don't use anymore, and vice versa. Community swaps can happen in any type of housing community as well as other neighborhoods. You can find community swaps that are happening either online or posted on flyers around your neighborhood. They are typically hosted as part of some other neighborhood event such as a pot luck, cookout, fundraiser, etc. It may even be a good idea to host one yourself if you cannot find any happening already. They are a fun way to meet new people, spend some time with your neighbors, and exchange unused goods.
8. Clearance Sections At Department Stores
Most department or other stores have what's called a clearance section. It's essentially all of the store's clothes that haven't sold yet and are now taking up space. Clearance sections are usually heavily discounted and placed all together in one section that's easy to find.
9. Online Marketplaces
If you are in the market for brand new clothing at low prices, sometimes it's as simple as searching popular online marketplaces.
Ebay is a platform for buying and selling new and used goods. You can find thousands of listings for cheap clothes on Ebay. They offer both delivery and pickup, meaning if you find something you like around your area, you can make arrangements with the seller to pick it up, sometimes on the same day. However, Ebay mostly operates by shipping their goods and a lot of the time they ship outside the US. The issue is that most sellers will not pay for the shipping fee themselves, leaving you with large fees. It's best to find items as close to you as possible in order to avoid these costs, but otherwise Ebay is a great tool to find the items you want at lower prices.
While Amazon doesn't allow you to buy and sell local items for pickup, you can still find a variety of cheap clothing options. Amazon is known for its reliability and efficiency. So even though you may have to pay slightly more for some things, it's a good choice if you want to find high quality clothing that gets to you reliably and fast. You can also count on Amazon to find more specific things such as baby clothes, school clothing, seasonal clothing, etc.
If you are in need of anything from summer shirts to winter coats, Shein could be the place. They are known to offer stylish clothing of all types for ridiculously cheap prices. If you are someone who is struggling to find affordable clothes for your child, you may want to browse around Shein's catalog. You can even find brand-new pieces for under $5, but they aren't always the highest quality. Shein also may have extended delivery times depending on where you are in the world, but for most items you can expect to receive them in a reasonable time frame.
10. OfferUp, Mercari, Facebook Marketplace
These platforms are dedicated to buying and selling locally. You can find any type of item from gaming consoles to furniture, so the sky is the limit with websites like these. They may also come in handy if you are looking to sell unused items around your house for some cash on the side. The process is very simple and you can have your first listings up in minutes.
Offerup is very easy to use and is essentially like amazon but for buy-and-sell services. You can search up any item you are interested in buying and see what's available in your area. They also have a feature where you can apply a certain radius to your search depending on how far you're willing to travel for the product. Offerup also allows you to have goods shipped, and the shipping price typically depends on the distance of the item and what the seller decides. Sometimes the seller may choose to cover the full cost of shipping.
Mercari is another good option when it comes to local goods. You can find many different choices for clothing at very cheap prices. It's sort of a cross between a marketplace and a thrift shop in that you are likely to find one-of-a-kind items or different types of treasures. Mercari also has a 'free' section for users who are simply looking to get rid of their unused stuff. A lot of people use this for clothing as they tend to grow out of them so it could be a great resource to find completely free clothing for children.
Facebook Marketplace is also a very reliable buy-and-sell website and app. You can use Facebook Marketplace all over the world so it could be a good option for those outside of the US. Because of its popularity, you are likely to find thousands of listings in your area no matter where you are in the world. Facebook Marketplace also has a "free stuff" section but note that many people list their items as "free" when they are looking for offers and not actually offering the item for free.
Freecycle is a non-profit movement that allows people to post listings of items for people to pick up locally. Everything that's posted on Freecycle is completely free, meaning it's not a buy-and-sell platform, rather a give-and-give platform. The website currently has almost 11 million members in over 5 thousand different towns all over the world and is 100% free to use. It's ran and moderated by various volunteers to prevent scams and other types of spam. It's worth checking out as anything you find on Freecycle can be yours without paying a cent.
12. Handmade Clothes
If you have a sewing machine around and some free time on your hands, you may want to consider making some of your own clothes. It can be easier than it may seem and with some practice, you can sew anything from blankets to kids clothes free of any cost apart from the equipment needed. Learning how to sew can also be very useful to stitch torn clothing back together and make your current clothes last even longer.
What Else can I get Besides Free Clothes for Children?
Other than looking for free clothes for children, there are also other resources available that can help lower your household expenses. In the U.S., there are a lot of different programs and grants available to assist you financially. If you meet certain criteria, it can be a very good way to access affordable daily items from clothing, to food, to internet connection for your family.
Here are a couple of grants that offer financial help to people in need: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is designed to help individuals who cannot afford enough good food for them or their children; Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANIF) which is a program that offers temporary financial assistance and many other benefits for up to 60 months (5 years).
How About Getting FREE UNLIMITED DATA For Yourself?
To keep track of the many free and affordable children clothing options mentioned above, you need access to reliable internet. Did you know that you may be eligible for free phone service and data plans through EASY Wireless, thanks to the Affordable Connectivity Program? This program aims to provide affordable and reliable internet and phone access to low-income individuals and families.
The application process is simple and can be completed online or by mail. By providing free cell phone service, the Affordable Connectivity Program seeks to help low-income individuals stay connected with family, friends, potential employers, and vital resources that can improve their quality of life.
When you qualify for this program you can receive:
EASY Wireless Free Unlimited Plan
- FREE UNLIMITED Data & Hotspot
- FREE Unlimited Talk
- FREE Unlimited Text
- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
- FREE SIM Card & Activation
EASY Wireless offering free monthly cell phone service with unlimited data to eligible customers. It only takes a few minutes to see if you qualify for this free government service. Learn more at EASY Wireless.
All in all, it's good to know that there is help available from different organizations and government programs that can help with other aspects aside from clothing. It's good to research exactly what you may be eligible for to build a better life for you and your children.