Finding a baby bargin!

(I am so excited to bring you today's guest post by my friend and fellow blogger, Ninja Kitten! No one can beat her a bargain shopping.)

After April discussed shopping for children, I emailed her a ton of tips I've collected over the years.  She kindly asked me to do a guest post article and I was pleasantly surprised by the request, so I'm obliging!

I will note that I've been shopping for my son for four years and my daughter for half a year.  When I first started, I bought all of my son's clothing from Babies'R'Us or Target or Macy's and I always paid full price.  I laugh at my younger self!  Here's my tips for dressing your child like you have boutique tastes while spending like you're too cheap to buy from Babies'R'Us!

The first thing you should know is that you should never pay full price.  I suppose if you're desperate to own a particular item, you might reconsider, but since I've started to learn to shop for children's clothing, I have not bought full price items.  Having said that, watch sale items really carefully.  Once an item goes on sale, I'll start to watch it if I really want it.  If it starts to sell out in any sizes, I strike even if I don't have a great coupon.

Secondly, be prepared to sign up for email lists.  I have signed up for Gymboree, Janie and Jack, Gap Kids, Crewcuts, Tea Collection, and several other brands emails.  They give information on when new collections are released and when old ones go on sale as well as contain coupons or sale information.  This helps if you don't feel like visiting a site once a day.

If you do not mind extra credit lines, consider getting cards for stores you love the best, especially stores like Gap which offer deals every day to their members (but up the ante with 40% off during Family and Friends days and random 30% coupons).

Be savvy.  If you're going to buy online, make sure you have the BEST coupon code.  Do a search for coupon codes.  I've had email coupon codes sent to me, then done a search and found even better coupon codes.  Or combine coupon codes with special sales or the use of things such as Gymbucks.  (Gymbucks are Gymboree Rewards special way of thanking members who make large purchases.  They sound kind of silly and are useless until you learn to make them work for you.)

Be willing to buy ahead.  I mean, a LOT ahead.  Have a special drawer or place in your closet that you check seasonally that you keep this clothing in.  I have size six clothing for my four year old.  I bought it when he was three.  I have size 3T for my seven month old baby.  I got great deals on these items.  I, in fact, often loan them out ahead of time to people who hand me down clothing.

If you have people who loan you hand me downs, treat them well.  Let the people who lent you the clothing want to loan you more.  Wash according to instructions.  Iron if needed.  Fold away carefully.  Repair them if a button falls off.  Don't let your child wear the Sunday best to play in the mud.  Be willing to loan out clothes that you've bought.  It's all about creating an aura of good will.

If you get word of something like Gymboree's Balloon sale, go nuts. This is their semi-annual clear out the store sale.  Most stores and sites have crazy sales like this and you'll find deals like no other if you're willing to hunt around and use coupons you might have.  I bought my son a pair of sneakers at Gymboree for five bucks at one of these sales.  You'll need to dig through bins and hunt through racks because other customers will put a baby girl's espadrilles in the boy's underwear bin, and vice versa, but it's often worth it.  I will frequently attend multiple days of such sales because the sales associates continue to put out new items to keep those bins and racks full.

Don't be afraid to buy over the course of days.  I went to Gap's friends and family, bought an item I had my eye on for the last three months (at a 60% discount of its original price) and got a survey code receipt.  I got a 20% discount code with that, combined it with the 30% sale and got my son a long sleeved tee from a new collection for 8 dollars at Gap.

Onesies and shirts will keep getting slashed at Gap. They will just keep cutting the cost of an item every two weeks as long as it is there. Onesies will often go down to four dollars pretty easily.  You can find them at a buck if you're really lucky.  I have at least two or three onesies from the Gap for various age groups for my daughter and they're always so pretty that they're my favorites for her, yet I didn't pay more than four dollars for them!

Talk to the staff at the stores if it is slow in the store.  Be good humored with them.  Some of them love to talk about the details of their store.  I know so much about the inner workings of Gymboree, Janie and Jack, Gap Kids, and Crewcuts, that it is rather ridiculous.  They are willing to call you about deals and clothing lines if you come in enough.

If you find a yard sale with great clothes for cheap (look on Craigslist!), get them to give you an email if they have another yard sale if you like the clothes they are selling at the first sale.  They want to sell their stuff.  You want to buy it.

Do not buy NWT on EBay.  EUC is your friend.  NWT Ebay people are doing the same hunting and searching I'm doing, only buying en masse and then selling via Ebay.  (I recently tried to replace my son's $5 Gymboree shoes via EBay with a larger size and found that the NWT people wanted $15 bucks plus shipping for a pair, on average.)  EUC is people who have used the items and it should still be in good shape.

Especially for shoes from Stride Rite or other big names, get the price, walk out of the store, check Zappos or Google Shopping.  I've found the exact same boots for six dollars cheaper online and just ordered them.

Thanks again, Ninja Kitten!  If anyone has something else to add please do!!

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Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit