woman Shopping. Courtesy of www.sxc.hu Image #1229519When kids come into the picture, a lot of things change- mostly for the better, of course. One change that can be difficult for new parents to adjust to is the added strain children place on family finances. Yes, they’re adorable and you love them to pieces, but there’s no denying that kids cost quite a bit of money!

In the early stages, diapers and formula (unless you are breastfeeding) are the main money eaters; followed closely by clothes they outgrow or wear out faster than you can buy them. And let’s not forget daycare expenses when both parents return to work. It all adds up.

Some of these essential expenses leave little or no room for savings. Luckily, when it comes to dressing your children, there are numerous ways to knock a few dollars off.

1. Become a Member

By joining an online shopping club for families, you can enjoy huge discounts on brand name clothing for your children. For example, a free membership to MarilynJean lets you save up to 70% off major children’s brands like Gap, Gymboree, Children’s Place and others.

2. Out-of-Season Savings

By shopping at the end of a season, when retailers are clearing out stock, you can snag incredible deals for the next year; simply buy a size larger than your child wears now. Being proactive means you’ll never have to pay full price for a snowsuit again!

3. Be Thrifty

There is always a deal to be had at your local thrift store. Browsing the racks of gently used clothing at Value Village can often turn up items that still have the original tags attached! You can also find great items for an incredibly low price on kijiji and at yard sales (in season). Also try craigslist and ebay.

4. Hand-me-downs

If there are siblings of the same gender in a family, parents can save some money by dressing the younger brother or sister in the clothes that no longer fit the older sibling. Often times, friends or family members are eager to offer their older children’s outgrown clothes to new parents as well; especially in the early years when children outgrow clothes before they have a chance to wear them more than a couple of times.

5. A Clothing Exchange

Invite your network of parents- family and friends- over for a clothing exchange. Have your friends invite their friends if you wish. Everyone brings the clothing their children have outgrown or never wear. Parents can then choose items that would fit their children and everyone leaves happy.

6. Have a Big Baby Shower

The clothing you receive from the generous guests at your baby shower is usually enough to get you through at least the first six months of baby’s life. Creating a baby shower registry is a good way to make sure you receive a variety of clothing items in different sizes.

7. … And a Diaper Party

Mom gets the baby shower and, often times, Dad gets the diaper party. Mom gets to be showered with cute little outfits and baby items while women who have been-there-done-that reminisce about the magical moments with their own newborn babies. Dad gets to sit around with his buddies and talk poo. Seems fair, doesn’t it?

Nonetheless, a diaper party can be a huge cost savings for new parents. Just be sure to indicate varying sizes to different guests, so you don’t end up with a mountain of diapers you won’t use.

Having kids is expensive but with some planning, their stuff doesn’t have to be!

About the Author:
Kelita Jean Klein is a third generation entrepreneur. She’s the Co-Founder, Chief Branding Officer and ambassador of MarilynJean, an online shopping club for families. You can find her on Twitter @kelitajean