What's your BEST money saving tip?

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What's your BEST money saving tip?

So how bout posting some of your best tips for saving. I know some were posted in the intro thread, but thought it would be nice to have everyone post theirs here.

-I buy clothes for the kids seasons ahead of time at the end of season clearance. If I find a great deal i may get similar items in many sizes. I've gotten full outfits for Anthony for $1 on walmarts clearance, sure they're not designer clothes, but they're cute and great for days we're hanging out at home.

- I buy the Thursday/sunday newspaper, because those are the days all the flyers are in, then have a big deep freezer so I can stock up on groceries. 1 of the stores nearby has a buy 1 get 2 free sale on a lot of meats and frozen items that we use, so i buy a ton and it lasts forever.

- I also shop on the clearance rack at the grocery store for boxed and canned goods and stock up on stuff like cereal and canned items during really good sales.

-I shop craigslist for toys and kids clothes, sometimes you can get great deals, they also have a free section that I LOVE.

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I guess my "best" tip is that I try to buy less stuff in general. I think mostly I buy too much crap and I'm trying to streamline. Before I go up to a checkout counter I ask myself "do I really need this" for every item.

We also create meal menus (which I know is an obvious and simple thing to do) BUT it saves a lot of money.

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You girls stole most of my ideas already. To be honest I could do a much better job saving money but I'm getting much better.

I do alot of bulk buying and buying/selling second hand where I can get away with it (especially kids toys). Also if I'm buying a brand name and I know that it will likely be discounted I'll wait -- I just got a pair of $115 pants for $35 Woo Hoo!!

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Pretty much my ideas too! I love stocking up at the grocery store.
Also:
I love using coupons. I make sure to sign up for mailing advertisements or promo's online, I get tons of coupons that way.

I just got a pair of shoes at Penney's for .84 using a 10.00 coupon (off a 10 purchase) and they were also on sale 40% off!

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I love Walgreens and their rebate savers club. I use my coupons on items, plus the rebate and I'm getting money back for most of those items (cleaning supplies, toothbrushes/paste, etc).

Like Kit, I'm also trying to streamline in general what I'm buying lately. I'm on a mission to pay off our credit card debt and keep it that way. It will take a while, but will be satisfying when its said and done.

I already have DS's entire wardrobe for next winter (winter coat and all). I bought it off of ebay in one big lot and then bought some other stuff on clearance (75% or more) at the end of last season.

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*I'm trying to buy less in general also, and because of this I try to stay away from stores like Target unless I absolutely need to go. I always end up spending way too much money on clearance items. They're always good deals, but not usually something that I HAVE to have.

*I use coupons when I can, but try to avoid buying things just because I have a coupon for it. I trade for coupons that I need on couponforum.com and sign up for mailing lists for everything that we buy.

*I try to only shop one grocery store a week. I used to shop all stores for their big weekly sales, but I was spending more money than I needed to. So now I compare the sale ads for our 3 stores, and shop the one that has the sale items we can use the most.

*I stock up on ready made meals once a month when I go to Trader Joe's. Having the few $5 prepared meals on hand save us from spending 2-3 times as much on carryout when we don't have time or don't feel like cooking Smile

*Buy clothes out of season on clearance, and shop Salvation Army/consignment stores.

*House is a little warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter than we would like, but it saves $ Smile

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~I limit my shopping trips to once per week. That way I am not tempted to buy one or two extra items at each trip and it saves money on gas.

~I don't use paper products (plates, cups, etc) as it saves money to use and wash "real" plates/cups.

~Rather than rent movies for the kiddos, I check them out at the local library.

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"cartsmom" wrote:

~I limit my shopping trips to once per week. That way I am not tempted to buy one or two extra items at each trip and it saves money on gas.

great one

:oops:

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My Dh and I are very cheep...um 'er I mean frugal. In Dec he stoped working and went back to school so we have had to tighten up even more.

*We only use our credit cards for gas and doc visits.

*We have a set amount of cash we get each week $50 and we go to the ATM each weekend to get the money.

*We look through the grocery store mailouts to compare and might go to 2 or 3 stores to get everything we need.

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I'm very cheap too, and my husband even more so!

Every week I check the local store ads and make lists of items that are on sale that I either need or know I will use in the near future. I go through the coupons I have and match up any I have that go along with those sales. I hate coupons that say "$.50 off of 2", but sometimes when that item is on sale, it's a great deal. And then, because I'm a sucker for buying something just because it's a good deal, I go through my lists again to make sure that everything written down will definitely be used in the near or pretty near future. I used to be the worst at buying something just because it was on sale, but then it would sit in the pantry for months and months and months without ever being touched, and then expired. What a waste! I do stock up in things I know will get used, like olive oil when it's on sale, because it's already so expensive. Or chicken broth or spaghetti sauce.

I always price things online before buying them. Especiall big purchases. I also read reviews to find out if what we're buying is worth it.

We pay cash for everything now. We don't even have credit cards any longer.

I used to spend so much money on books, but now I go to the library and checkout what I want to read. Usually I can request a book or movie and a week later they call me to pick it up. I don't always like waiting, but at least it's free. AND I don't have to worry about storing lots of books and movies any longer!

I stalk clearance racks.

I clip lots of coupons.

I buy in bulk when it's a better deal. Sometimes it's really not that much cheaper than buying at the grocery store when it's on sale.

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I drive 10 min out of my way to get cheaper gas, but last week it saved me $8.00 after I filled up my tank. Gas in Illinois is outrageous compared to Iowa. There was a $0.39/gal difference!! A few cents I really won't bother with, but that was too much of a difference not to.

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I love yard sales and flea markets and thrift shops, my local thrift shop has half off all clothes on wednesdays, I go every week

My library sells books for a quarter a piece, it's the only place I buy books.

I take advantage of toys r us sales, they do stuff like fisher price and little tykes b1g1 sales, i usually buy stuff even if I don't have someone in mind to give it to, there's always a neice or nephew or 1 of my kids with a bday coming up

My library and many others give out free passes to local zoo's, museums etc. you just have to ask them at the desk.

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I also love the tip that I got from Cartsmom a while back to have one week a month where you force yourself to only use stuff in your cupboards and freezer for meals. It's a great way to cut way back on your grocery bill for a week but also makes sure you don't waste stuff you already have.

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Thanks Robyn. I am so glad that you are finding that helpful. We are cleaning the cupboards this week for dinner as we are leaving for vacation next week.

Which brings me to another tip~when you are going on vacation check online through the visitor center in the area. You can usually find great online-printable coupons for restaurants, etc in the area. Also, as you are heading in to your vac destination---stop by the visitor center. You can usually pick up discount books and talk with the staff about recommended stops in the area. We are headed to the beach and by looking online, I found that a state park in the area is doing free dolphin tours for families. All you have to do is call ahead to reserve your spot. Other dolphin tours that I have priced are up to $50 per person. Smile

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We have a points credit card that we use for everything all month and then pay it all off. We get extra interest on your bank account for keeping a higher balance all month, we pay no interest on our credit card cause we pay it off and we exchange all our points for free gas gift certificates.

We also have a store in town called Almost Perfect. It sells restaurant and grocery store overstock. It's hit or miss with what they have, but you can guarantee after a grocery store has a huge sale on frozen pizzas etc they will show up there for $2 each or something. we check it out every 2 weeks and save a bundle.

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DH and I gave up our ATM cards YEARS ago. I go to the bank once a week to withdrawl a small amount of cash for our wallets for the week. If we blow it in one day - too bad. And it's such a PITA to get money that I'm not tempted to get "just an extra 20 bucks".

We unplug as much as we can when we're not using it. We have our entire entertainment system on one powerstrip and when we're not watching TV, the whole strip is off. Doing this to as many appliances as we can is how we got our electric bill last month to just under $30.

I clip coupons and use them whenever I can. I stock up on things that don't go bad like cleaning supplies, diapers, flour, sugar, etc.

I shop Craigslist for toys, books, movies, etc.

We joined Netflix. We have the cheapest package, which is $4.99/month. It gets us 2 movies a month, which is all we have time for anyway. It's SO much cheaper than running to Blockbuster ($4.50 per movie, so $9 for two, PLUS gas there and back twice), and it's even cheaper than renting movies for free from the library when you factor in gas (it would cost us more than $5 for two there and back trips to the library).

We use a Hess gas credit card for all our gas. It returns us 5% on all Hess gas purchases.

Buy clothing during the opposite seasons - although that's a little hard with my daughter. It's a little hard to guess what size she could be in this winter or next summer.

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"ButtonsMama" wrote:

DH and I gave up our ATM cards YEARS ago. I go to the bank once a week to withdrawl a small amount of cash for our wallets for the week. If we blow it in one day - too bad. And it's such a PITA to get money that I'm not tempted to get "just an extra 20 bucks".

We unplug as much as we can when we're not using it. We have our entire entertainment system on one powerstrip and when we're not watching TV, the whole strip is off. Doing this to as many appliances as we can is how we got our electric bill last month to just under $30.

I clip coupons and use them whenever I can. I stock up on things that don't go bad like cleaning supplies, diapers, flour, sugar, etc.

I shop Craigslist for toys, books, movies, etc.

We joined Netflix. We have the cheapest package, which is $4.99/month. It gets us 2 movies a month, which is all we have time for anyway. It's SO much cheaper than running to Blockbuster ($4.50 per movie, so $9 for two, PLUS gas there and back twice), and it's even cheaper than renting movies for free from the library when you factor in gas (it would cost us more than $5 for two there and back trips to the library).

We use a Hess gas credit card for all our gas. It returns us 5% on all Hess gas purchases.

Buy clothing during the opposite seasons - although that's a little hard with my daughter. It's a little hard to guess what size she could be in this winter or next summer.

That'll get easier now, their growth has slowed so much now that they're a year, that they'll be in the same size for several seasons.

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When we buy furniture new, we purposely look for pieces that have minor defects and then we try to get a discount. No one would ever notice but it's not perfect so the store will generally do it!! We've been given a ton of discounts that way!!

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YARD SALES!! I go to the upscale neighborhood yard sales. You know, the ones with strict neighborhood associations that only allow sales twice a year. That way you know there's going to be GOOD stuff and you can hit a bunch of houses in one morning. I have purchased a load of toys for DD that way. A Little Tykes car for her to ride around in for $2, her FP Little People barn/house and accessories for $8 and that blasted FP gumball machine that lights up and plays music for $1. I don't even want to think about how much I would have paid for those in the store!

I also have started shopping end of season clearance and consignment for her clothes. I hope I don't get burned with all of the 18 month winter clothes I purchased, but I have kept the tags on everything and can probably eBay them for more than what I paid Wink

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I thought I responded here.. dur.

My big one takes a lot of time, but it's worth it.
I keep a price book, and it's listed by store and isle. I write down the prices for things we buy regularly, then match prices depending on the store, then compare ads and coupons when I go shopping.
It's a lot of time, but generally my savings are great and I can buy a lot of (healthy-ish) food for my big family

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http://hillbillyhousewife.com/ love this website...lots of great tips including feeding a family of 6 on $45 a week

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-Reduce your debts. Interest payments add up fast!

-move to a small town in the middle of nowhere...no fast food or box stores to tempt you to impulse buy....

-stock up when things are on sale

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Almost all of our clothes have come from Yard Sales & Consignment shops...

We only grocery shop once every two weeks with a $200 budget. (Family of 5)

Always use coupons... You can find just about any coupon if you google it.

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A couple that have helped me -

Eliminate stuff you don't use. If you have less clutter, you *find* the things you've bought to use later and you or a child doesn't accidentally destroy something that was just laying around.

When shopping, have a list but leave a day or two of meals flexible in case you stumble onto a good sale. Shop the perimeter of the store and ignore the aisles with prepared stuff. It is generally less healthy and often more expensive. Also this helps cut down impulse buying. Smile

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Hmm... we cut huge amounts of money mainly on our food bill. We hunt, which saves over a grand a year we would otherwise spend buying cuts of meat an d we are phasing our proteins to legumes and eggs, which are MUUUUCH cheaper.

We go out once a week on a date night, usually a walk and inexpensive dinner, and by indulging ourselves once a week we don't splurge the rest of the time. Just not going to the movies, for example, saves hundreds of dollars. I also only buy myself clothing once a year, which saves us a ton.

Cooking everything, including baby food and pet food, from scratch saves as lot as well. Cutting my own hair and my hubby's, getting our vaccinations at the public health center, and avoiding sales. If I see things on sale I buy way too much stuff I don't need!

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I hardly buy anything new. I get home decor, purses, clothing at garage sales and thrift stores. I buy many things on ebay where I can shop for the best price and usually find something used but in like new condition. I am most proud was able to decorate my son's nursery in all garage sale finds. It took some time, but I was amazed at how many items I could find with his theme (celestial). I even got a Pottery Barn Kids crib set for $15. We say the only thing new in there is the baby! I grew up with a rule that you could have name brand clothes when you stopped growing, lol, I may not be that frugal but I am close. I just can't see paying $10.00 for an outfit I can find at the neighbors garage sale for $1.00 that their kid wore twice! Plus I just love the thrill of the hunt Smile

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One of the best things that I have done that has saved me TONS of money in the long run is Not spending change. If I check out and the total comes to 20.01 then I pocket the 99 cents and put it in a 5 gallon water jug, every few months DH and I roll the coins and bring them to the bank to deposit. The most that I have had is $500 and the least has been $300. It just depends how much I spend, and when I feel like rolling the coins...lol

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I've been doing once a month cooking.

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Make you own multipurpose cleaning supplies with baking soda, borax, vinegar....

Try to avoid processed foods and buy fresh instead.

If it's cold, I set the thermostat one degree higher for a short time (like 20 min) and turn it down again.

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For saving money with a baby I buy most of her clothes at consignment stores and have gotten a lot of hand me downs from friends. Clothes, toys, baby gear, as long as they are in good shape there is no point in buying new.

Craiglist~love it so much. I've gotten several things recently for a great deal. A Kelty baby backpack for $35, a bunch of little people stuff for $15. I check it almost everyday, you have to jump on something when you see it otherwise someone else will snatch it up.

I have made all of her babyfood from the beginning. I don't know how much that has saved but it makes me feel better knowing what I am feeding her.

Just shopping around in general. I am guilty of impulse buying but with things like her stroller I searched and searched for a good deal and ended up saving $90.

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Use fabric towels instead of paper towels.

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Make your own cleaning supplies -
Windex = alcohol and water
Sink, tile, tub cleaner = bleach and water and baking soda for a little grit

Shop the sales - I'm guilty, my little one has lots of designer clothes. However, we peruse enough that I can spot anything last season on the sale rack from a mile away and end up with stuff for DIRT cheap. I also buy stuff way ahead of time. If it's cheap enough, I don't care what size it is. I'm also huge on store incentives and coupons.

Peruse the grocery store ads - I have recently started ONLY buying what is on sale, and I buy what I can in bulk. We meal plan around the sales. This week, I spent $50.00 at the store -- after a savings of 38%!!!

Go vegetarian - Works for us!

Ease up on the gas - I've started driving 55 mph on the highway. I gained 2-3 mpg. On a 16 gallon tank, that's 32-48 extra miles per tank -- a whole extra commute to work!

Contribute to your Cafeteria plan -- We save a lot of tax dollars by estimating our child care and medical expenses annually.

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DH and I cook our meals for the week on Sunday and make all of our snacks for the week on Sunday. This saves on spending for unneccessary food items and going out to eat.

A couple months ago we set our food budget at $100 per week. If we go over one week and go over the next it's okay. But we have been hitting Winn-Dixie for their BOGO sales on meats and stock up then and don't but meats for almost a month later.

I'll soon be saving on gas by working 2 miles form home and riding my bike to work for day shifts.

Also we pay our bills with a CC and pay it off each month. Its a rewards visa so we get a $75 dollar visa gift card and use it on DH's gas.

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Someone has mentioned this but I have been using a lot less paper towels since I have switched to microfiber towels. I use them to clean around the house. You can get them at Costco, Walmart, Target...ect. I got a big pack of 8 of them a few months ago for around $5. I would say they have earned back thier price within the first week.

One thing...don't throw them in your washer if you will use fabric softner. The towles just don't work as well once you use Fabric softner on them.

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I always look for the cheapest prices at the grocery stores and if something is on sale I buy a lot of it because I know it will be eaten.
We use our credit card for gas and groceries and pay it off each month and it collects dividend money. When it reaches $50 we can request a check!
I only shop clearance for clothing, etc. I NEVER pay full price for something unless it's at a used clothing store.
I second Craigslist and hitting neighborhood yardsales. There is one back in my hometown and even though it is a couple hours away, it's worth it to go back and hit it.
If I ever have a fast food craving, I won't buy an entire meal. I'll just buy a burger off the dollar menu or something like that and it satisfies my craving.
I try NOT to have cash because I end up spending that way faster!

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"krisfrogten" wrote:

Almost all of our clothes have come from Yard Sales & Consignment shops...

We only grocery shop once every two weeks with a $200 budget. (Family of 5)

Always use coupons... You can find just about any coupon if you google it.

You buy groceries with $200 every two weeks for a family of 5?!! how do you do it? I've been trying to reduce my grocery bill but I haven't been very successful. I spend about the same but we are just two (soon three) in this house! I am trying to clip coupons but I never find coupons for the things I usually buy:(

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"Catori" wrote:

You buy groceries with $200 every two weeks for a family of 5?!! how do you do it? I've been trying to reduce my grocery bill but I haven't been very successful. I spend about the same but we are just two (soon three) in this house! I am trying to clip coupons but I never find coupons for the things I usually buySad

There's your problem! Sometimes, you have to buy things you don't need to get the things you do need for free or cheap. Also, when couponing and saving money, you just can't be brand loyal!!

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I have been clipping coupons which works great if the item is on promotion. But generally I find the store brand is cheaper than the brand off sale even with the coupon so we buy almost all store brand. I am really only brand loyal to Tide and I buy that during P&G Brand Saver coupons - sometimes double. I love almost all the store brands we buy so I just keep buying them and enjoy the savings!

No baby here yet but we're hoping to live on DH's income and 1/4 of mine banking the other 3/4s while pregnant and we've paid off my car and all our credit card debt in the last 16 months so frugal living has been essential! Love all the new tips!

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When we moved into our new home, there were 4 criteria:
1. walking distance for me to work
2. Walking distance to groceries, recreation, beach etc.
3. on the bus route for DH to get to campus
4. in-suite laundry Smile

so that saves us owning a car/gas/insurance etc, getting gym memberships (lotsa walking and carrying groceries), me paying for the bus, and the urge to go shopping whenever I feel like it.

We also make almost all our food from scratch which is way cheaper than packaged stuff. We trade babysitting time with the neighbours. Lots of second-hand clothes and toys. We go for walks or to the beach on weekends instead of more expensive stuff. If only I could give up getting my tea at the local coffee place instead of just bringing the darn teabags to work Smile

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"Catori" wrote:

You buy groceries with $200 every two weeks for a family of 5?!! how do you do it? I've been trying to reduce my grocery bill but I haven't been very successful. I spend about the same but we are just two (soon three) in this house! I am trying to clip coupons but I never find coupons for the things I usually buy:(

We have a budget of $150 every two weeks, and most of the time I don't even spend that much. I use lots of coupons, and track sales. I also buy a lot when I find a good deal. This past week, I got 38 packages of butter for $32 using coupons ($9 was tax). I did that by combining coupons with a good sale. I froze all the butter, and now I can wait until the next really good sale comes around to buy more butter. My dh is very picky about many things, so in order to keep him happy, I collect coupons for his favorite foods, then use them when there is a good sale.

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Cloth diapers. I use old-fashioned flat folds with pins and homemade diaper covers (I knit). They save so much, and because they are only a single thickness when unfolded, they dry quickly on the line.

My second favorite tip is related: I use washcloths instead of feminine napkins. Since I'm nursing, I haven't had a use for them recently, but they are so much more comfortable than disposables. I bought five packs of three at Dollar Tree ($5 for 15 cloths), and I fold one in thirds to use. I keep the dirty ones in a plastic bag in the bath room and wash them with bleach when I need to.

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"kona367" wrote:

I also love the tip that I got from Cartsmom a while back to have one week a month where you force yourself to only use stuff in your cupboards and freezer for meals. It's a great way to cut way back on your grocery bill for a week but also makes sure you don't waste stuff you already have.

I kinda work like that too. I don't have a set shopping day. Instead, I try to make every possible balanced meal I can out of what I have before I buy more. This way I waste less, get creative, save money, and get a better idea of how much we actually eat in a week. Last week I spent $5 on groceries. This week was $35 because we were out of a lot of staples and had used up the milk.

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I go to grocery stores like Aldi's which is much cheaper on some items than places like Krogers or Meijer. I save at least a dollar a box on cereal, usually closer to two as well as things like snacks and such.

I have not started using it but I know a girl that started a chart of clothing for her son. She has clothing that is from 12 months to 4T which she gets at garage sales. She keeps them in plastic bins and pulls then out when her son gets big enough for them. She said she saves a large amount of money this way. I am going to try it.

Also clearance is a great place to get things. I know i got my oldest daughter a winter jacker and snow pants for 15 dollars at a end of the season sale. If you have the room is this the way to shop.