Dressing Baby on a Budget

When we found out we were expecting our first child, we didn’t give into the temptation of beginning to shop for baby! We knew that we would have family and friends who would shower us with gifts and Β hand-me-downs.

We purchased the very first outfit on the day we found out we were having a boy to celebrate {and we paid with a gift card!} Before he was born, we picked up a few items on clearance and some essentials that we needed, using gift cards we had been given for him, but paid absolutely no cash out of pocket for clothing!

It is possible to dress your baby for almost nothing if you are grateful for the ways people bless you and aren’t too picky! {Sure, we’ve been given things that we wouldn’t pick out for Paxton to wear but honestly babies look cute in almost anything!}

Here are sources of dressing baby on a budget:

Shower/New Baby Gifts

Newborn sleeper we received at a shower

Almost every mama-to-be has a shower – or 2 or 3- for a first baby! Even second or third babies are given gifts so this is a great way to outfit your little one!

We were very, very blessed with gifts of clothing for our son. We returned the duplicates and items we received too much of (like 20 size 0-3 month bodysuits!) We used the cash and store credit from returns to purchase items we needed for him.


Hand-me-down romper from my parents pastor's boys

Hand-me-downs are the cheapest way to outfit children! We’ve been given several boxes of clothing from friends over the course of the past year. Looking through a box of hand-me-downs and finding adorable clothing is so much fun! Paxton’s wardrobe for this coming fall/winter is composed of at least 50% hand-me-downs from friends at church!


Borrowed overalls from friends at church

Borrowing is another great way to save lots of money on outfitting your children! Since we have been given so many clothing items, we haven’t had the need to borrow much but we’ve had a few friends who have loaned us clothing items we need to fill in gaps in the wardrobe. If our second child is a girl, I plan to borrow most of her clothes from my sister who has 2 girls!

The best part of borrowing clothing, once you’re finished with it, you return it and don’t have to store it!


Secondhand t-shirt from a resale store

Buying children’s clothing secondhand saves a ton of money! I still haven’t needed to purchase many items for my son but almost all of the items I’ve bought for him have been from secondhand stores.

We are very blessed to have several resale stores in our town. I’ve sold items for cash and store credit at two different stores in town. Having store credit has been a frugal way to supplement his wardrobe without spending anything out of pocket! This past spring I sold some clothing and after purchasing several items, I still have about $25 in store credit that I can use for any fall/winter items Paxton may need or to purchase items for our new baby!

{Buying baby clothing from yard sales would fall under this category too. That is a wonderful way to spend almost nothing to outfit your child. Since we have been so blessed with hand-me-downs, gifts and store credit to a secondhand store, I’ve had no need to yard sale for his clothing.}

Birthday/Christmas Gifts

A play outfit he received as a birthday gift

Paxton has received many clothing items as Christmas and birthday gifts. This past Christmas we received clothing that helped our quickly growing boy get through the rest of the winter! He received several outfits as birthday gifts which make up a large part of his summer wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to ask for clothing for gifts for your child, babies and young children don’t need many toys!!


Romper purchased on clearance at the end of last summer

Clearances are another wonderful way to save big dollars on clothing! Last summer I purchased several cute clothing items (up to size 3T shirts) that were marked down very low (with a gift card we received as a shower gift, costing us nothing out of pocket!) This is another great way to save money on clothing. It does take some guess work in sizing but even if your child can’t wear an item or two you can always give them as gifts or resale them!

These are the ways we outfit our son (and will do the same with baby #2)! At 15 months, we’ve yet to spend a dollar out of pocket for his clothing {remember we’ve used gift cards and secondhand store credit to purchase the items we’ve personally bought for him.} Sure he’s not wearing $50 smocked items or clothing from trendy and expensive baby stores but we think he’s dressed incredibly cute! {Of course we have our family and friends to thank for most of these cute clothes!!}

Now that we’re expecting baby #2, we’ve only bought a size 3 month white bodysuit (we didn’t have a white one in this size and white will work for boy or girl!)

Babies aren’t as expensive as most people make you believe! If you don’t give into the temptation of having the latest, greatest and most expensive baby items you can have a baby on a budget! {And I’d much rather outfit my children on a budget and have a house full!!}


27 Replies to “Dressing Baby on a Budget”

  1. Very good tips!
    Most baby wear items are so gently used, that it seem almost frivolous not to take advantage of second-hand options. I'm thankful we still have our 1st son's clothes, and we're set to receive more, in the larger sizes, as we have mostly 0-3. I hope it's a least a year before we 'have' to buy any clothes!

    1. Yes, baby items are gently used! So many items in secondhand stores still have the tags on or you can tell they've only been worn once or twice!

  2. Good for you! I wish I had more self control when it came to the kids clothes, it is one of my guilty pleasures, though I must admit that I love looking through a yard sale for some great pieces or a 2nd hand store. πŸ™‚

    1. I understand, I adore looking at baby/toddler clothes! I try to just look at most stores and only buy at the places I have store credit or a gift card! I sometimes get on the Carters website just to browse because of all the cuteness!! Indulging in clothes for your kiddos at second hand stores and garage sales is definitely the frugal way to do it!! πŸ™‚

  3. I love this post! Well I love all your post on raising a baby and being frugal. I have said for a long time ( we have children ages 10, 7 and 3) that it doesn't have to be as expensive as people make it to raise a baby/child. And as we try and plan for number 4 I am really taking some good notes from your blog post:) My youngest boy who is about to turn 3 has almost exclusivly been clothed with hand-me-downs from the twin grandsons of some of our wonderful friends at church. It is great I have hardly had to buy him anything other than undies, socks and shoes. He always needs dressy clothes so since he is still young I make all of this John-John and Rompers. I even made him a dress coat this winter costing me only $14 if I had of bought one I would have been $30 +!

    1. I love that you make some of your son's clothes, if I was a little more skilled at sewing and had more patience, I'd love to do that (if we have a girl this time I may have to brush up on my sewing skills and make some sweet dresses)!! And people make it sound like children drain money, I completely don't agree! If you are smart and don't give in to what they are "supposed" to have (the best and newest) then raising children can be fairly inexpensive! I think we have very similar views! πŸ™‚

    1. Yes! I love those *borrowed* overalls…so cute!! He has some short overalls this summer that his grandma gave him that I love putting him in now!!

  4. We are not in contact with the mom who gave us hand me downs in the past and now we are running out of them! I shop at Goodwill and hit rummage sales to pick up clothes for our son who is now 5. Every once in a while, Criagslist has kids clothing in their "free" category but I haven't tried it yet. I love clothes that are already broken in!

    1. I've heard of people getting clothes for free off of Freecycle too! Again, I haven't tried but I'm sure there are lots of great clothing items being given away! And I love used clothes too since they've been washed and you don't have to worry about shrinking!!

  5. Great post! With #2 on the way for us we have only bought a handful of items! Our first was a girl and this next one is a boy so the first thing I did was haul all of her bins of clothing (we were poured upon with gifts!) and sort through it all to find gender neutral things. I found a TON of stuff we could use again which was great! Then I sorted through the girl stuff, set aside my absolute favorite things and condensed sizes NB-2T into two of the bins we use for clothing (keep in mind each size had it's own bin to begin with!) to keep in case another sweet daughter comes our way. Bonus – by emptying the bins I can reuse the extras for boy clothes and not spend any more money on storage bins which also saves space!

    I posted items on Craigslist with less luck than I've had in the past so last night my mom and I got all the girl clothing ready for a garage sale her friend is having early August and I am hoping it all goes! I don't want to move it when we move out of where we are living! My mom even volunteered to work my table at the sale so I don't have to take off work!

    The only boy items we have purchased are a sleeper (which is what I wrapped up to give daddy to share that baby was a boy!) and a few shirts on clearance at Target for one dollar! I do work at Target and I am tempted each day to get things but then I remember we have PLENTY and I would rather save the money and buy a home! It's great motivation πŸ™‚

    This got long – sorry. I just get so excited sometimes about things and since I literally got garage sale stuff ready last night I am all fired up on this topic! Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

    1. I'll be doing the exact same thing in a month if we find out a girl is on the way! Pulling out neutral items, then picking only my absolute favorites and selling the rest! (I'm hoping for a boy so we can reuse all those precious baby items we already have!!) Have you thought about selling to a consignment/resale store like Once Upon a Child, local stores or in a consignment sale, it'll probably be more work than a yard sale but you should make more. This spring I brought a large gift bag of clothes to our local store and left with $60. I might have made $15 or so selling at yard sale prices.

      1. I have thought of Once Upon a Child but unfortunately our local stores (we have two nearby) are bursting at the seams and not taking very much in right now! I am in the mood to get rid of it so I made the decision to just be rid of it before we move out of where we are living currently (which I hope happens very, very soon!) Thank you for the suggestion and I hope that the next time I am doing this the local stores are taking in more so I can get more for my items!

        1. Well, I don't blame you one bit for just wanting it gone! I completely understand!! I have the luxury of a detached garage that we store our clothes to consign in. And we also have a large garage sale stash in there…one of these days I'm going to actually plan a garage sale!

    2. When my kids were small and outgrowing things quickly, I had a couple of families whose kids were just a bit bigger or smaller than mine, and we traded clothes back and forth as kids grew out of stuff. We also have shirts that my youngest nephew is now wearing, that were handed down from cousins–some of them have been through four or five kids in the family.

  6. Preach it Rachel! I have been asked by so many moms in our church for tips on how to save money and shopping second is always one of my main tips! We have been blessed with hand-me-downs, great deals at yard sales (like $.25 for an adorable Gymboree dress that I will sell on eBay when she's outgrown it!) And our family! Molly is still the only grandchild on both sides and gets all the goodies. I feel so cheap when I go into thrift stores and think that $2 for a piece of clothing is too much money! But it is if you can get clothes for free or $.25! $2 is 8 times as much as I normally pay if I pay at all. It is so very true that you can dress your baby without spending money and I wonder how many more mommas could stay home with their babies if they followed suit!

    1. We're definitely like minded…I agree with everything you said!! And, I'm sure many mamas could stay home if they were committed to being very frugal (like us!)

  7. Amen! My best friend and I were talking about this a while back. We both wished we had been into yard sales and thrift stores when our kids were smaller, we would have saved a lot! Now my boys get excited when I come back from a sale with something for them for only 50 cents! It's harder to find things, but not impossible!

    1. I love that your boys get excited about your yard sale finds!! And as Paxton is growing, I'm learning that finding gently worn boys clothing gets harder and harder!

  8. Totally agree with all the comments, raising a baby can be so inexpensive if you are smart about it! We are expecting our 2nd this December and are not finding out the gender again, so we already have lots of neutral clothing to use again. I always tried to get all major items and things like sleepers in gender neutral schemes so we can reuse them whether girl or boy!

    This summer I have been making it my job to search garage sales for cheap clothing for our new baby (filling in gaps and getting seasonal appropriate items) as well as clothing for our 1yr old daughter throughout the fall/winter/spring until the next garage sale season comes up! I have gotten so many cute things for like 25 or 50 cents a piece, and so many shoes, all hardly worn and in great shape! Since I am the first of my friends to have children, I don't have the hand me downs available just yet but that is changing as we meet more young families!

    1. You're really saving big money using gender neutral items…so smart! I need to go to some garage sales soon to look for shoes…kids shoes are so expensive in stores!!

  9. Though we dont have children yet, hubby and I agree with what everyone is saying about clothes (mainly because that is how we dress ourselves!), but we also believe the same thing with "stuff" for our future children. Toys, furniture, accessories, etc. We dont believe children HAVE to be as expensive as everyone says they are.

  10. Nice post Rachel. Here are a few things that I learned to use as guidelines when shopping for babies:

    Watch for end of season sales
    Buy bigger sizes
    Buy and Sell at Consignment Sales

    Good luck shopping and start shopping now for next season πŸ™‚

  11. Garage sales this time of year are a great place to find excellent deals on baby clothes! Babies grow so fast the clothes are in great shape. Thrift shops also have great deals as well. Author and blogger Lorilee Craker has some great tips on her blog at http://www.lorileecraker.com, so check it out. if you like this blog you'll also like her's.

  12. I heartily agree! When Bryn was on the way, I had friends give me HUGE bags of baby girl clothes. About half of the items were looking pretty worn, but half were in great shape. I had more 0-12 month clothes than I knew what to do with! My philosophy: if a child's everyday clothes won't fit into one or two small drawers, they have too many clothes! Another favorite way to save money: shopping at Goodwill on their 99-cent days. I often find great, almost-new clothes for all the kids, and a huge stack of clothes only costs me around $15. Not too shabby for outfitting three kids! πŸ™‚

    1. I agree with the drawers! Paxton currently has 2 drawers of his clothing, although it's amazing how much fits in 2 drawers when the clothes are small! I'm planning on paring down for fall/winter especially since we have to make room for baby #2's clothing!

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