Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Last year, when my son Grant was 4, I told a story on air about buying him $10 shoes that were two sizes too big because I was upset how quickly he outgrew the last pair. So many people were horrified with me about the harm I was doing to my son’s feet.
Recently, I bought Grant another new pair of shoes and to my horror they were $12! But based on listener feedback, I only went one size too large this time around. I’m not sure how people will react to that news. But the shoes seem to be fitting him just fine.
Well, there are parents who clothe their kids in a way that’s a lot smarter than I do. They’re swapping clothes and shoes with other families to save money. I recently read about a website called ThredUp.com where parents can arrange the swaps via mail. The website’s slogan is “Clothes don’t grow. Kids do.”
Boy, is that an understatement! Grant is now wearing what are practically flood pants. Because of his growth spurts, he went from tripping on one particular pair of pants to them being 4 inches too short. Now they almost look like women’s capris on him, and soon they’ll be shorts if I don’t get him new pants!
ThredUp has more than 50,000 members swapping nationwide. It’s free to send a box of your kids’ gently used clothes to others, while you only pay $5 plus shipping to receive a box from someone else. That can be a real savings.
For my own clothing, I use the calendar as a cue for savings. I bought winter clothes recently as retailers have moved onto spring fashions. My goal is to buy only at single-digit prices — no more than $9.99 for a clothing item — and I’ve been able to do that.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions at ClarkHoward.com. You can also listen to his radio show live Monday through Friday 1-4 p.m. on AM 750 and NOW 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB.