If you have young children, you know how quickly they grow. In the blink of an eye, your precious bundle of joy goes from diapers to dress clothes and from onesies to boxer briefs. Little girls sprout into tweens overnight and boys turn from toddlerhood into young men sometimes before they've had the chance to wear the same outfit twice.

When kids grow and change with such speed, spending lots of money on their clothing is wasteful. Sure, you want your kids to look nice and keep up with fashion trends, but at what cost? To wear a pricey blouse for one special event or invest in a pair of tailored pants your kid's ankles will stick out from in a few months is money practically thrown in the trash.

Kids are expensive to raise, from food to schooling to healthcare and more, so invest your money into something that's longer-term than a turtleneck your kid won't be able to fit over his head by the following winter. Here are some easy ways to save money on children's clothing you'll feel proud to have put into effect. And don't forget, no matter what they want to wear now, once your kids are adults, they'll look back at their childhood outfits in photos and cringe anyhow!

1. Swap with Friends

Just because a kid grows out of something doesn't mean the piece of clothing's life is over. If a child only wore something a few times, why not let someone else own it next?

Meet up with friends who have kids around the same age and size and swap clothing. Or connect with friends with older kids who have clothing that your kid has caught up to, and vice versa. It's like going shopping without spending a cent. The clothes will feel like new to you and your child because they've never worn them before.

As recommended by Money Crashers, "Tell all your friends to bring 10 to 15 pieces that are in great condition and approximately the same size, and you'll end up with new additions to your child's closet." You'll leave with a bunch of new pieces as will your friends. It's like recycling for clothing!

2. Thrift Shop

As kids are growing, playing and making a mess, and constantly need things far more important than expensive clothing, shopping frugally is the way to go. Hit up local thrift shops, tag and garage sales, consignment stores, and the like. You'll find what you need at the fraction of the cost of name brands and designer duds. As long as the clothing is well put together and stylish, your kids will be comfortable and you'll feel like a savvy shopper.

As per Mom365, "Goodwill, the Salvation Army and other used clothing stores are a great way to get a large chunk of your child's wardrobe on the cheap. Because the clothing is donated, there may be small stains or minor wear, but in terms of price, these stores usually offer the biggest bang for the buck. Plus, many of these stores are raising money for their charitable projects, so you can feel good about your purchases."

3. Forget Gender

When you're out buying clothing, let go of the stereotypical gender-specific colors, prints, and patterns and aim for neutrality. Not only will you get more use from the basics, but these pieces of clothing can be used for your daughter now, and then for her little brother when he catches up in size. Or if your son and daughter wear close to the same size, they can share t-shirts, sweats, socks, and even pjs.

This shopping mentality saves on those big ticket items like winter gear, rain gear, boots, and jackets. As Money Crashers notes, "Buy them in black or brown so they can be shared and passed down. These items can be pricey, and having to buy only one pair is a big financial relief."

4. Shop Pre- or Post-Season

Waiting until the first snowfall to buy a winter coat or that first perfect beach day for a swimsuit purchase may seem season-appropriate, but it'll cost you. When these items are in high-demand, the prices are at their peak meaning you'll have to shell out full price.

Instead, stock up during the off-seasons when sales are in place and stores need to clear off their shelves and racks. As Sidetracked Sarah suggests, "Take inventory at the end of the current season. What sizes and items will your child need when this season comes up again? Often, stores will be clearancing the out of season items at 75% to 90% off."

Kids go from pint-sized to almost our size in a snap. Their clothing is for the moment and not a lifetime, so spend with that notion in mind. Use what you've saved for something special or for their other needs and you'll realize how far a dollar will stretch when it comes to your kid's wardrobe.

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