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Smart Spending Parent: Recycled Baby Clothes

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

Having kids is expensive, there's no doubt about that. They are constantly growing: There was a period of time when I was getting new shoes for my son every month because his feet were getting so big. My strategy is to buy kids' clothes a size larger than they actually need, but eventually those too-long pants end up looking like clam diggers.

Luckily, we have a hand-me-down network that I have come to rely on. My nephew and niece are four years older than my kids, which means we get recycled clothes. Yay! However, the inventory of clothes has lessened over the years. Boo.

We are recipients of my brother-in-law's kids' clothes, and we hand off our kids' clothes to close friends of ours. But it's funny how the cycles of hand-me-downs work, because we recently received back a bag of clothes for our baby that we had given them. Who says a good t-shirt can't last for six years? And be prepared for those nostalgic moments when you see others wearing your kids' old clothes. Sniff.

And don't neglect the inter-family hand-me-down cycle, a clear-cut choice if your kids are the same gender. But even if they aren't, you'd be surprised at how many items can be passed down. My daughter wore my son's clothes when she was younger, cute little shorts and t-shirts that she'd wear to bed. There are a lot of those basic items-white t-shirts, plain shorts, sweatshirts-that can be shared freely among family members.

Mothers' groups are another opportunity for a wealth of baby clothes. There always are moms out there who want to give away or sell their kids' clothes to clear space for new sizes and styles.

And you can even look online for great used and consigned kids' clothes, if you're willing to take the time to go through the site to find what you need. Some sites even allow you to send in clothes you no longer need.

Being a little resourceful and taking advantage of the likely network of recycled clothes in your area can end up saving you lots over the long run. Here's to being frugal!

Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk

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