The first thing I thought I would tackle is kids clothing!
1) Buy Used When It Makes Sense
I buy used clothing for her (Once Upon A Child, Kidz Again) when it makes sense. Their prices are NOT always great and the clothing will NOT always last for multiple children which are the things I consider when buying at these stores. Yesterday I spent $15 on the items above. The red halter dress was $2.25, the pink dress was $3.50, the jumper $3.25, the shorts and shirt $2.75 and the PJs were $1.75. The only thing that might not last for multiple kids would be the pajamas but I figure that $1.75 is worth it for Miss Grace :)
2) Watch Clearance Racks
This takes a little more time/effort. Whenever I am at a store that I know regularly discounts kids clothes I always stop by that section even when it is just a quick trip in. WalMart and Target have the BEST marked down clothes that I have found so far and Meijer occasionally has some good discount prices. My favorite score was a three piece newborn set from Target for $2.25 - Carters brand too! I recently bought Grace and the baby matching dresses for next summer for $5 each...which is more than I like to spend but since they matched and I have a bit of baby fever I did it anyway :)
3) Don't Be Picky
Anytime anyone wants to give me used clothes I take them. They don't always get to my kid's body - some go to the thrift store, stained things go in the trash but usually if people are willing to give it to you there is some decent stuff in there! (Always ask if they want them back when your kid grows out of them first...if they do, store the stuff that you don't plan to use).
I HATE thrift stores for me. In fact, I hate shopping for me. I figure I have a hard enough time finding things I like that fit well that I don't want to shop racks of clothes to find the "right" thing then not be able to get it in the right size. Bugs me! But for kids it is great! I comb the racks, find the things in her size and up that will work and we are good to go!
5) Buy Ahead of the Size/Season You're In
I have conditioned myself to ignore clothing right at the beginning of summer. That is when all the super cute, bright new clothes come out in all the stores. Instead I wait a few months and hit the clearance racks. When I do I MIGHT buy for this season depending on what she already has and what holes need to be filled in, but USUALLY I buy for the next season and a size up. My kid wears a TON of dresses if you haven't noticed. They are great for the summer and I usually try to make sure the ones I buy can easily be layered with a long sleeved shirt and tights/leggings for the winter. Then, buy adding just a few items I have an easy summer or winter wardrobe for her. Especially now when she is going through sizes so fast the more I have that can just be layered the more sense it makes!
6) Plan Ahead For Special Events
I'll admit it - there is a dress at Once Upon A Child that I pull out EVERY time I am there that I am kind of coveting. I *think* it would be the right size at Christmas but I'm not sure yet so I haven't splurged (even used it's still out of my normal price range). Last year I found Grace's Christmas dress in July I believe for around $4.50. I found her birthday dress last year for about the same price. (This year's birthday dress was $5.50 I believe). By keeping in mind special events and picking up pieces at great prices when you see them you avoid the "oh crap I have to get something TODAY that fits and is awesome"...which usually costs $20-$25.
(The dress was $5.50 used, the shoes were "Squeakers" a birthday splurge on mamabargains.com for $15 and the hair bow I had custom made to match the dress for $3)
One of my Attic girls recently commented that my kid had a TON of clothes. And she is right, the girl has more clothes than she really needs BUT I figure if I can keep the cost way down then she can have a little extra! Like every mom, I want the best for my kid and these are some of the ways I've found to give her the best as far as clothing goes!