Hi, I’m Meaghan. People always tell you that kids grow up so fast. What they don’t elaborate on is that kids grow out of clothes practically before you even get a chance to take them off. Lucky for us thrifty moms, we know the secret to savings when it comes to the little ones – NEVER pay full retail for kid necessities! Cute, quality, very gently used (if ever used at all) items can be found at Goodwill at a fraction of the price of big box retailers and hey, families large and small need all of the savings they can get. Plus, I feel better about buying clothes and gifts for my children that put perfectly good items to use – it’s environmentally friendly as well as being friendly on your wallet. And now, the list:
1. Baby and Toddler Clothing and Shoes: Well-meaning admirers of your child in his/her first year of life will shower your cherub with adorable onesies, frilly dresses or fancy pants, shoes, and fun sundries that won’t fit them until December, or cozy sweaters that are a perfect fit in the sweltering summer. Lucky for us, these items get donated (sometimes with the tags still on) and now occupy the shelves and racks at Goodwill, saving you thousands in clothing purchases. You can afford to buy them everything they need in the right season and size. Plus, I always get compliments on the beautiful, unique, and sometimes handmade clothing I find at Goodwill.
2. Winter Gear: With the barometer dropping, my mind quickly turns to what’s missing in my child’s current-sized wardrobe to keep them warm in the winter. Each year, I take a specific trip to my local Goodwill to search for coats and boots. Even toddler snow boots retail at anywhere between $30 and $100 a pop. I can always find boots in my kids’ sizes that look like they rarely touched the ground… and I can speak from experience that – for my kids – they rarely did. I also can always find parkas in excellent shape. I got this parka at the Leetsdale Goodwill, and yes, that is a lift ticket on there – she wore it her first time skiing last week! Thrifty bonus: we found a matching pair of mittens in the pocket.
3. Dress up clothes: I swear some of these children’s toy and play clothes companies assume that all parents are suckers… $30 for a princess dress?! Um no. This mom can find beautiful donated toddler-sized fancy dresses (perhaps they were holiday or flower girl dresses worn once) that my daughter delightfully dons during pretend play. Plus, she just doesn’t seem to mind that they are last season’s style. I shell out less than $10 each – take that! I also find: scrubs for my little doctors, purses for when they pretend to be mom, costume jewelry, and even tiaras. It’s a toddler’s dream…
4. Holiday attire: If your kids are anything like mine, they are stripping down their perfectly primped holiday outfits before the last click of the camera at the holiday party – and that’s all I hope for each year. This is apparently how many families function (phew!) because I can always find formal kids’ attire in perfect or near-perfect condition at Goodwill. Patten-leather Mary Janes and suede loafers too… oh my!
5. Toys! I oftentimes find myself gagging at the sight of some price tags in the toy aisle at even the “bargain” big-box stores. I mean, $40 for a toy truck is just irresponsible. I found Caterpillar Big Cat builder trucks for $3.99, this huge 18-wheeler truck for $2.99, and a ride on race car for $7.99. Then I found a brand-new (in the cellophane) Candy Land game for $5.99. Now, that’s just totally fun!
This could easily be a top 10 or 20 list, but I had to stop here. Some other items I always get at Goodwill: Halloween costumes, décor for themed birthday parties, sports equipment – like helmets and baseball mitts… the list goes on and on. Happy thrifting!