First of all, I should mention that I never, we're talking NEVER buy anything retail at full-price. Anything I buy is on sale or is bought with a coupon. It's possible. It's not that HARD, it just takes a little time to get used to waiting for a good sale or for the "final price."
Couponing has become such a big thing these days that you can usually find coupons for just about anything and everything. One of the best ways to get retail coupons is to sign up for emails from stores. The Children's Place has a great email they send out with online and in-store coupons. On average I can save about 40% with coupons there. I love TCP jeans. They always fit my kids well and hold up nicely with wear. I can get them pretty cheap too, as they usually have sales on buying more than one pair. I also loooove the PJs at TCP. They are SO cute and always fit nicely!
Target has fantastic online coupons available for clothing most of the time and usually those coupons go along with a sale they are having in the store. The more you use coupons the more they'll send you via mail, too. I'll often get a coupon book or two each month. Usually one or both of them contain a free gift card if I spend X amount of dollars.
Target also has several racks of clearance things that are anywhere from 30-75% off. Target has such cute stuff right now for fall. I love that I can usually find matching dresses for the little girls(sizes 5T, 3T, and 6-9mths) and something that either matches or coordinates for Olivia(size 7). The girls love to match, so that's always fun for me to find things for them that are matchy. I'm also a fan of Target's shoes for the kids. The sizes are easy to fit my kids feet and their shoes hold up really well for us.
A little side note, if you haven't tried Target's Up&Up brand diapers you should for sure at least give them a try. That's what I've used for our kids for the past three years. There are times when I've had to go back to pampers(like with newborns), but overall they have a GREAT product with a really nice low price, AND they're cute! AND, no this is not one of our baby booties!
So, if couponing isn't your thing(it wasn't mine for a long time, and I still don't spend much time doing it) there are other options for getting cute clothes for cheap. One word: RESALE! My personal favorite is Rhea Lana's, but there are several other sales all around the country that have great merchandise at a fraction of retail cost. Most of these sales provide consigners(people who bring their items to sale) a pre-sale pass. Retail pre-sales are the best place to get the best selection at the lowest price. Check your local sale to see if they have volunteer opportunities. Usually workers get to shop first! I can find just about anything I need(except underwear/panties) at these sales. This is where I get all of the specialty brands that I would otherwise have to shop at expensive boutiques for. Some of my favorite speciality brands that hold up nicely with time and wear are Little Lulu, Miss Tee-V-Us, Matilda Jane, and Zackali.
Consignment sales are usually held twice a year with one sale in the fall and one in the spring. Go ahead and buy anything you'll need for the coming season. In order to best fit your kids get some good measurements before you shop then take your measuring tape with you to shop. Realize that you are buying used, so at these sales there are going to be some stained items that slip through Be sure to look over your merchandise before you buy, and if you find something stained be sure to take it to a worker. They don't want stained merchandise on the sales floor any more than you do!
Some people might turn up their nose at buying resale, but when you think about how fast your kids grow, buying used probably means that it's been worn only a few times before it was too small of the other child and your child might only wear it a few times before it's too small for them! It's a great place to find all of your kids Halloween costumes and accessorise! I usually get all of our bows and hats from consignment sales.
Consignment sales are also a great place to get all your toys and baby items(like swings and strollers). I recently got this amazing Joovy stroller that I'd been pricing at $240 for $75 and it was basically new! Gotta love saving that money. Bottom line=Buy use, save the difference.
Other places to look for good deals at the end of season: Gymboree, Old Navy(sometimes their jeans are hard to fit my kids), and Carters outlet. I can usually get a lot of play clothes from the Carter's outlet, and their stuff lasts forever! CUTE PJ's, too! I can usually use a big coupon at an outlet store and end up saving so much money I can go get my self some things for the upcoming season too! Most Toy's R Us or Babies R us stores will take carters coupons too, but be sure to ask before you stock up there, just in case your local store doesn't do that.
The last great option today for getting stuff for your kids is a clothing swap with friends. This is a great idea for mom's with kids of several different sizes. I have a friend who does this through her church. What a great ministry to mom's! If you've ever seen one of your friends kids and liked what they were wearing, this might be a good idea for your mommy circle! Just call up several moms and have them bring clothes that their kids are no longer wearing, bake some yummy treats to enjoy together and get to swapping! You may need to set up some ground rules so that one mom dominate the swap taking all the best items for herself. Be sure everyone knows this is a friendly event and a way to bless each mom.