Simple clothing for kids: 7 money saving tips

I’m a HUGE fan of school uniforms. While they’re often expensive to pay for in the initial outlay, they save massive amounts of money in the long run.

My daughter is still wearing her uniform (two sets) that we bought her at the start of last year, as is my son. Two sets of school uniform apiece keeps both kids dressed through five days of the week, which we can onsell once they’re outgrown? Brilliant!

School uniform…plus…?

Apart from school uniform, kids really don’t need much in the way of clothes, and I think it is foolhardy to buy them a lot.

More clothes just means more maintenance – more washing, sorting, storing and, eventually, passing on – and all this without even taking into account the initial cost of the stuff.

So what do kids really need in their wardrobes? Here’s my list:

Son, age 9

Two sets of school uniform
School shoes

Warm winter hat
Crocs (we buy the nameless brand at the discount store)

Two pair long trousers
Two pair shorts
Three t-shirts
Two jackets / hoodies
One warm jacket

Socks, underwear
Two pair light pyjamas
Two onesies.

Daughter, age 7

Same as above apart from the addition of one summer dress.

Everyone’s lists will vary depending on climate and needs etc., but kids really don’t need a lot. Most of the items in the lists, as I’ll explain below, last several seasons if you buy them right.

I use a few tricks to save money with kids clothing…

Buy large to last more than one season. I tend to buy on the large side, to get a couple of seasons (or more) out of each item. This pretty much cuts clothing costs in half. About the only thing I can’t do this with is shoes (although gumboots I can), but shoes don’t tend to last more than a few months anyway.

Pass items on through children where possible. Most of my daughter’s school uniform, being unisex, has come from her brother. We then sell it secondhand on to another family through the school. She has also inherited various t-shirts, onesies and hoodies from time to time.

Buy unisex items that can cross genders in your kids and be passed on. BUT – be cautious with crossing genders – clothing is so gendered these days that only a few items for sale are genuinely unisex. Great places to shop for unisex t-shirts include Etsy, Snorg T-shirts and Headline T-shirts.

Buy onesies to stretch pyjama wear. I bought very oversized warm onsesies for the kids to wear in bed over their pyjamas in winter. That way, they can wear the same pyjamas all year round while staying warm, and they don’t need dressing gowns, as the onesies keep them warm while they’re watching TV or playing computer games on weekend mornings.

Onesies keep my kids warm all winter.
Onesies keep my kids warm all winter.

Buy basics at discount stores, and t-shirts that are more “designer”. Other kids don’t notice where my kids’ trousers come from, but they’re already fashion-savvy enough to pick a designer t-shirt. So I buy discount jeans and trousers, and designer / trendy t-shirts. I buy the designer / trendy stuff at end-of-season sales, or ask grandparents to buy for gifts.

Ugg boots (from discount stores) work better for kids than slippers. And crocs work better than flip flops. Ugg boots really keep my kids’ feet warm in winter – they wear them all around the house, and are less likely to slip over. Same for crocs – they’re a much better choice for summer footwear than flip flops, and come in some really cute styles for kids.

My daughter lives in her mock crocs (similar to the pink ones above) all summer!
My daughter lives in her mock crocs (similar to the pink ones above) all summer!

Crocs (or mock crocs) also triple up as beach shoes, shoes for the swimming pool and shoes for the playground. They’re really adaptable, and so much safer than flip flops. I’m a big fan.

Cut off jeans into shorts. Turn winter’s outgrown jeans into summer’s shorts – cut them off. For girls’ styles, turn the edges over and stitch, for boys’ styles just leave them to get ragged and grunge looking.

Can you think of other ways to keep kid clothing simple and affordable?


  1. I think you have pretty much covered it. The only thing I would add is learn to sew so you can alter worn out clothes. I used to make shorts out of jeans worn out at the knee, let out hems, etc. I also had such difficulty finding nice flannel pajamas in the US (pajamas are covered in flame retardant here, so dumb) that I had to make my own.


    1. Absolutely. I couldn’t find warm enough pyjamas either, which is why I settled on the onesies solution instead, which works really well.

      But the amount of people who don’t mend anything is unbelievable! I actually took a favourite shirt to our local menders the other day (to fix some handsewn buttonholes in a 1970s vintage shirt which was a task beyond my skills to make them look really good and not at all puckered), and the menders said I’m one of the few clients she sees under the age of 60 – it’s all seniors in there, and nobody else bothers, they just throw things out šŸ˜¦ More basic mending and patching I do myself.

      If I think of anything else to add I’ll put it on the end of the list.

      Thanks for commenting šŸ™‚


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s