10 Ways I Get Free Clothes for My Kids

Most days, my clothing is most clean and tatter-free. But my kids? They have hit the fashion jackpot. They’ve got it all. Dresses that twirl for days. Thick, butter-soft rompers. Vibrant Mediterranean prints. And soft and flowy SoCo styles with artsy prints and muted colors.

I’m a messy-haired mom with two very well-dressed kids. And the best part? They’re 3 and 1. They don’t fight me on any fashion choices. (Never-mind my husband’s mutterings about kitting out my son in candy-ass clothing. It’s sweet to be a child here. )

When my oldest turned 6 months, I discovered the intrepid

But I am a hustler at the core. I know how to get things for free, or damn year. Coupons. Discount codes. Cash back. Thrift stores. Arbitrage. You have to work all the angles. Here are 10 ways I get free clothes for my 3 year old daughter and 1 year old son.

10 Ways to Get Free Clothes for Kids

This article will cover the hacks and hustles I work to get free clothes for my kids. There are donations and charities where you can get free clothing assistance, but that is not related to this post.

1 | Recommend the Brands You Love

I discovered Alice + Ames 2 years ago, and I really love the brand. My girl loves to twirl. Alice and Ames clothing is all things twirly goodness, but it’s all cotton. Which means their dresses work for special occasions and daily wear. I find the fabric soft, stretchy, and thick.

I discovered the brand 2 years ago. I started telling other people about the brand four months ago. For each Alice & Ames referral, I earn points. My referral gets $15 off their purchase, which is a big win. (The email signup bonus is not as generous.) In four months, I’ve earned enough points for 7 free dresses. We sized up the next couple of sizes, and got some to give away to others.

I’ve also earned referral rewards for Bomba socks, Milk+bots, Quincy Mae, Rylee + Cru, and Gus + Steel. The balance isn’t enough to purchase what I’m interested in, but I’m getting there.

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 7 garments

2 | Take Paid Surveys for Free Gift Cards

I take paid surveys on my phone to earn free gift cards and PayPal cash. I mostly use Swagbucks and InboxDollars since I know the ins and outs of these brands. (Prodege, the parent company, is my day job.) And I mostly take surveys while I’m watching TV.

Most surveys are 3 minutes to 45 minutes in length, and payout can range from 5-cents to $10. Most pay less than $1. You have to qualify for the survey and complete it to earn the reward. Last year, I made $2,000 taking online paid surveys. (That works out to $2.74 a day).

Try InboxDollars Surveys now, get $5 free. Sign up for InboxDollars.

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 7
  • Total “Free Clothes” Money Made: $2,000

3 | Buy Discounted Gift Cards

There are a lot of gift card resale sites. People unload their unwanted gift cards and make cash – like 60-cents to 90-cents on the dollar. Frugal shoppers can buy a discounted gift card. A gift card resale site option is a safer option than Craig’s List. There’s a third party vetting that the funds are there on the card.

I’ve purchased used gift cards on several different sites, including MyGiftCardsPlus, CardPool, Raise, and Gift Card Granny.

MyGiftCardsPlus is a favorite because each month you can get 15% cash back on a different featured gift card. I’ve got 15% cash back on gift cards for H&M, Chipotle, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. Right now, the top categories are Under Armour and Chipotle.

H&M was an especially sweet deal. I got $500 in merchandise for $182.

  • Black Friday made everything 50% off
  • I got 20% cash back ($50) from Rakuten
  • I got 15% cash back ($37.50) from MyGiftCardsPlus.

Buy getting $87.50 in cash back and shopping H&M’s Black Friday, I created a 68% off sale for me. Otherwise put, I got $500 worth of merchandise for only $162.50.

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 7
  • Total “Free Clothes” Money Made: $2,337.50

Psssssst!! Wondering what I bought that added up to a total sticker price of $500 at H&M?

(And yes, everything cashmere was 100% cashmere. Everything merino wool was 100% merino wool.)

4 | Flip Thrift Store Finds

In other posts, I suggest flipping clothes can be a bad idea. But I’m referring to buying clothes on Facebook or Mercari to try and flip. Because you can find good used items in Facebook groups priced below typical market value. Generally, you can’t make more than $3 in profit and it’s hard to scale.

But thrift stores hold buried treasure. For less than $5, I’ve found Rylee+Cru (twice), Stella McCartney Kids, and Childhoods joggers. The prices are so low it feels criminal.

I shop thrift stores strictly for my kids – but I am willing to look at grow-into sizes. (I used to look through every size rack and that’s just too overwhelming.) It might take 10 trips to “strike gold”. But when it rains, it pours. When you do find “the good stuff”, it’s usually the donated clothes from one family.

After my kids are done wearing their clothes, I can sell them at a markup. Typically the purchase price x 3. Last year, I made $3,000 flipping clothes on BST groups and a little bit on Mercari.

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 7 garments
  • Total “Free Clothes” Money Made: $5,337.50

5 | Claim All the Cash Back for Your Buys

Using cash back shopping portals is one of my favorite ways to claw back cash. Shopping apps like Rakuten or Honey partner with retailers to give you cash back for your online purchase. The retailer gives Rakuten commission for purchases you make, Rakuten shares a portion with you.

You can visit the shopping portal’s website and click a link to visit the featured merchant. Or you can install a free extension in your browser (it takes like 15 seconds to set up). Then when you’re on a website that offers cash back rebates, they will automatically get applied.

Last year, I made over $1,000 using Rakuten, Swagbucks, and Upromise shopping cash back rebates.

Try Rakuten now and get a $30 bonus. Sign up for Rakuten. Get a $10 bonus for signing up for Swagbucks.

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 7 garments
  • Total “Free Clothes” Money Made: $6,337.50

6 | Get Free Clothes on Social: Instagram Isn’t Just for Influencers

I’ve got free clothing from Twitter and from Instagram without even trying. Honest.

A few years ago, I ran a marathon and tweeted about it a lot. And Mizuno was giving away lots of running shoes. They tweeted at me that they were giving me a FREE pair. Yay!

And on Instagram, I share pics of the kids. I often tag brands, because I want to see what other people’s kids are wearing too. The pictures are not Influencer quality, trust me. But through this, I won $500 free at L’ovedbaby.

If you share pics and stories in an authentic way, I think brands can recognize that. I post once a week or less on Instagram. And I don’t divulge personal details. (If someone asks you for your mailing address, don’t give your home address. No one needs to know where you kids live.)

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 7 garments
  • Total “Free Clothes” Money Made: $7,000

7| Join Online Communities that Love Kids’ Clothing

I belong to several Buy Sell Trade clothing groups on Facebook (but am not a very active buyer). I also belong to several related off-topic chat groups.

People share referral links and promo rewards they are not using, like extra Kohl’s Cash or Old Navy Rewards. I’ve shared Boden codes, and received Old Navy Super Cash.

Before you make a purchase, ask if someone has a referral link. Even if there’s no discount with email signup, there could be a discount for signing up through a referral link. (And often times, the referral link discount is better than the email signup bonus offered to the general public.)

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 7
  • Total “Free Clothes” Money Made: $7,150

8 | Check Your Spam: Read the Emails

So I am really bad about keeping my personal inbox cleared out. People who need to reach me can DM or text. But your spam has a lot of good stuff. Yes, you get a discount when you sign up for the email newsletter. But there are other discounts that wind your way, too.

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 7
  • Total “Free Clothes” Money Made: $7,250

9 | Buy Gender Neutral Clothing

When I shop for my oldest (my 3 year old daughter), especially boots and outerwear, I look for gender neutral clothing.

The aesthetic (clean modern lines and neutral color palette) is in. And there is a broader cultural understanding about how we (re)define and (un)impose gender. And non-gender specific clothing has better resale value if you plan on consigning after.

I bought a Patagonia jacket for $86.04 in a size up for my daughter. (With the sale and cash back rebates, I got it for $43 less than the $129 price-tag.) She’ll wear it for 2 seasons, and then pass it down to her younger brother so he can wear it for 2 seasons. And then I’ll sell it for $50.

Which means for $36.04 I’ll get a high-quality jacket that can endure Minnesota winters. My daughter will get 2 years of wear. And then I’ll basically have a “free” jacket waiting for my son.

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 8
  • Total “Free Clothes” Money Made: $7,250

10 | Ask for Hand Me Downs

Friends and family know I sell used clothes. They’ve offered me their kids’ hand-me-downs and told me to go ahead and sell online and keep the money. They just want the clothes gone.

I’ve told neighbors I sell used kids clothes online to fund my kids’ college savings plan and over-indulge in Folgers Instant Coffee. (Both are true statements.)

If you’ve got extra clothes you want rid of, feel free to dump them on me. I’ve received roughly 200 clothing items (and counting) that I can flip online. I haven’t flipped them yet, but expect to be able to make around $1,500 for the batch.

Of course, I offer to give the clothing source a cut. I offer to share or split the proceeds. I’ve always been told “Just take it.” One neighbor wanted to pay me for picking up their extras and giving them back their closet space.

So go ahead and ask for those hand-me-downs. But disclose why you want them and what you’ll do with them.

  • Total Free Clothing Acquired: 208
  • Total “Free Clothes” Money Made: $8,750 (estimate with selling the hand-me-downs)