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Buying Cheap Kids Clothes: Store Sales and Clearance Schedule

As frugal parents, we all want to get great kids’ clothes while spending less money.  Planning ahead and buying kids’ clothes in advance is a thrifty way to get more for your money. 

We talked about how to save 90% off kids’ clothes by shopping thrift stores out of season last week.  To make this strategy work, you’ll have to make an estimate of what size your child will be wearing at a certain point in time.  Always guess a bigger size instead of smaller, and if the clothes happen to be a bit too big, they’ll be able to grow into them.

The store sales and clearance schedule below lists the best times and places to buy kids’ clothes for the best price.  “Do not buy” indicates when the clothes will be at their highest prices of the year.  Bookmark or print out this list for future reference.  To all you mommy bloggers- if you like this list and think it will be helpful to others, please link to it for your readers!  The permalink is: Thank you for helping support this site!

Kids’ School Clothes 

Buy long-sleeved shirts, jeans, pants, sweaters and other fall / winter type kids’ clothes in spring and summertime.  The best time to buy school clothes is April or May, when stores are trying to make room for summer clothes.

  • Best time to buy at thrift stores: spring and summer.
  • Do not buy: August or September.
  • Retail store clearance time: April, May.

Halloween Costumes

For the best prices on kids’ Halloween costumes, look for them to appear at thrift stores all year round or at garage sales during the summer.  Consignment stores are a great source for cheap Halloween costumes as well.

  • Best time to buy at thrift stores: November-August.
  • Do not buy: September or October. 
  • Retail store clearance time: November 1st-7th

Christmas Costumes and Themed Outfits

Retail stores start putting out cute kids’ Christmas outfits, like santa suits and elf costumes, around Thanksgiving time, but you’ll pay the highest prices possible if you buy them then and there.  eBay stores have super clearance sales on kids’ Christmas clothing the week after Christmas.

  • Best time to buy at thrift stores: January-October.
  • Do not buy: November and December.
  • Retail store clearance time: December 26th until supply runs out.

    Christmas and Holiday Dresses and Suits

    Watch for holiday suits and dresses year round at thrift stores and in eBay auctions to get the best price.  A fantastic time to shop for discounted formal wear is at the end of the summer wedding season on eBay or in newspaper classified ads.  At that time, all the kids’ suits and dresses from being in the wedding party are cheap to buy 2nd hand from people that no longer need them.

  • Best time to buy at thrift stores: January-October.
  • Do not buy: November or December.
  • Retail store clearance time: December 26th – 2nd week of January, or until supply is sold out.

    Winter Gear

    Kids coats, snowpants, snowsuits, gloves, hats, and scarves may appear at thrift stores out of season at unbelievably low prices.  Check bagged items (in which similar small items are bagged together for one low price) at the thrift store for cheap gloves and hats.  Also check garage and yard sales during summer for cheap deals on kids’ winter gear. 

  • Best time to buy at thrift stores: spring and summer.
  • Do not buy: August-December.
  • Retail store clearance time: As early as December, with deep discounts appearing in March and April to make room for summer gear.

    Easter Dresses and Suits, Church Clothes

    Formal dresses and suits for kids can be very expensive, almost matching the prices of adults’ clothes!  Just like holiday formal wear, the best time to shop for discounted kids’ Easter clothes or church clothes is at the end of the summer wedding season.  The formal kids’ dresses and suits from weddings are usually high-quality and made from heavy-duty fabrics that will hold up well to heavy wear.

  • Best time to buy at thrift stores: End of summer through early fall.
  • Do not buy: November, December, March or April.
  • Retail store clearance time: Week after Christmas, week after Easter. 

    Summer Clothes

    Tank tops, swim suits, shorts, capris, and summer dresses are best bought out of season at consignment shops and thrift stores.  Garage sales in summer are a great place to find kids’ summer clothes for as low as 25 cents each!  Around back to school time or early winter, check Craigslist and eBay for huge lots of kids’ summer clothes for rock-bottom prices from parents who are decluttering.

  • Best time to buy at thrift stores: spring and summer.
  • Do not buy: Spring or summer.
  • Retail store clearance time: Fall, back to school time.If you love shopping savings (and who doesn’t?!), check out how we scored 31 cent shirts  and read the 13 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries .  For more Works for Me Wednesday, visit We are That Family. 
  • Winter photo by by fotologic.  Santa suit photo of Truett Ice-Simmons ©Danelle Ice/IS World Media.

    Danelle Ice is an entrepreneur in Los Angeles and mom of 3. She is the creator of and Danelle is also known as internet personality SimDanelle, the first virtual person. Danelle is a beauty guru on YouTube, vlogger, blogger, and new media darling. She is a current brand ambassador for for Keurig and previous AMD Tech Mom, Kraft Foods Delicious Byte brand ambassador, and Purex Insider.


    1. Angie Goodloe
      Mar 17, 2009 @ 15:14:19

      Great post! This is a great time of year for garage sales as well!


    2. Muthering Heights
      Mar 17, 2009 @ 19:01:05

      GREAT tips!


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      Mar 18, 2009 @ 01:19:43

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    4. Dave Roller (Home School Dad)
      Mar 18, 2009 @ 04:28:46

      Excellent tips. Great information.


    5. Amanda
      Mar 19, 2009 @ 07:36:37

      Excellent post! Our family rarely purchases clothing new. Thanks for the great post!


    6. Shasta
      Mar 27, 2009 @ 03:31:39

      Thanks a lot! Those are really great tips!


    7. Dressycostumes
      Aug 07, 2009 @ 01:37:52


      Thanks fr the tips!!!!


    8. Beatrice
      Nov 11, 2009 @ 22:18:45

      you should try too. I’ve saved $100′s of dollars by using this service. it’s better than thrift or consignment, ebay, or anything else.


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