Bargain shopping for James

I love buying James new clothes, and I buy him far more clothes than I buy myself. Kids clothes are expensive so I try not to pay full price for any of the clothes I buy James.  Most of his clothes are from JoJo Maman Bebe, Marks and Spencers, Joules, Mothercare and Gap.  Clothes from these shops aren’t cheap so I generally only buy things in the sales or from their outlet stores.  I am known for telling my husband the amount I have saved rather than the price of the item.  His response is usually always “but how much did it cost?”  Somehow I expect him to be impressed with how much I have saved.

I thought I would share with you how I manage to get so many of James’ clothes at reduced prices…

JoJo Maman Bebe – I love the clothes in this shop.  I love their designs and that a lot of their clothes incorporate stripes, which I am a big fan of.  Their clothes are fun and are made with lovely soft fabrics.  They are pricey though.  I can’t really justify buying many items in the shop at full price.  JoJo Maman Bebe sales are pretty good, in that a lot of items usually end up in the sale, but there are often more girls clothes than boys.  The discounts they have on their clothes aren’t always that great, and sometimes I still think they are more than I would like to spend.  Another way I save money with JoJo Maman Bebe is through discount codes.  If you sign up to their emails they often have promotions on where you can save money on certain items, failing that you can usually find a discount code online.

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JoJo Maman Bebe dungarees and Clarks Outlet shoes

JoJo Maman bebe also have an outlet store in Newport.  It is about the same size as one of their high street shops, so it’s not a massive outlet. I have visited it a few times and have had various successes.  I think it is completely pot luck as to what they have, and I have always found that there is more baby and girls clothes than boys.  There is also an outlet section on their website.  I managed to get James a winter coat for this winter reduced from £55 to £27.50.

Marks and Spencers – I am a big fan of Marks and Spencers baby clothes, but less so of their toddler clothes.  I find that the designs for toddlers are the same as those for school children and are far more suited to the older children.  Marks and Spencers do have some good sales, but sometimes it can be hard to scramble through the sizes, especially out of the baby section.  They seem to have a good range of children’s clothes in their outlet stores but I don’t think the discounts are that big.  One good way of saving money on Marks and Spencers clothes is to download their Sparks app.  They then allocate offers for you to select allowing you to save money and there are often discounts on children’s clothes.  For each purchase you are also given points, and when you reach 5000 points you are then sent a link to their sale previews, allowing you the opportunity to purchase their sale items before they are released to everyone.

Joules – This shop is expensive in my opinion. I don’t think I have ever bought anything that wasn’t in the sale or in one of their outlets.  The things I have bought I have been really happy with.  I find their sizes are generally quite big.  Some 12 – 18 month trousers I bought James were so long that they only just fit him now, where in most other brands he is going into size 2 – 3.  I have managed to get some great bargains in their sales.  I also got James his wellies from their outlet store which were nearly half the price of what they are in the high street shop.

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Joules outlet wellies and trousers

Mothercare – I love Mothercare and how it sells everything for babies and toddlers all under one roof, not just clothes.  I would genuinely be sad if our nearest Mothercare store closed.  The staff are always friendly and very knowledgable and always offer to carry big or heavy items to the car for me.  Mothercare sales are brilliant and their discounts are good.  I have found to get the best items you do need to be quick, and ideally go into the store on the first day of the sale.  They also offer a sale preview if you join My Mothercare.  Mothercare often have discounts on certain items too.  I bought James a range of Grobags all at half price when they had them on offer.

Gap – Gap have so many offers and sales that I don’t think I would ever buy anything that was full price.  I used to think it was just the outlet stores that had the good deals, but it’s not, there are often great discounts in the high street stores too.  I’ve often found jeans and trousers for James in the high street store for around £5, and they would normally retail at nearer £20.  The savings you can get in Gap stores are brilliant.  If you sign up to their emails they also send you extra offers to get more money off.

For James’ shoes I always go to the Clarks Outlet, which is so much cheaper than the high street store.  I was lucky in that I managed to get his first pair of shoes, Startrite, for £5 because the shop was closing down. I have never paid full price for a pair of shoes for him. I got him measured in the high street Clarks once and then told them I would go to the Outlet to get his shoes, they completely understood.

For toys and books I often look out for things on sale, or on Amazon.  One great place to buy new children’s books is Books for Bugs, where all books are £2.50.  We have made trips to their warehouse open days on several occasions to stock up on books for James, and you can also order from their website.

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Our last Books for Bugs haul.  5 books for £10 this time, and then any others £2.50 each.

I buy James’ clothes a size range ahead in the sales.  You would be surprised at what you can get for the winter in the summer sales.  I think the key to getting the best items in the sale is to get into the shop as near to the sale start date as you can.  If you sign up to the stores emails they email you notifying you when the sale starts.  I am lucky in that I don’t work so I can usually just go to the shop on the start day of their sale.  I then  go again towards the end of the sale, where they have made bigger reductions to see if they have anything else worth buying.

I may love shopping for clothes for James, but he certainly doesn’t.  Shopping with James can be a complete nightmare.  He gets bored in the pushchair unless he is constantly being pushed.  He is not a fan of me stopping so I can browse, and will proceed to whinge very loudly.  My tactic is usually to distract him with snacks, but now he has nearly all of his teeth he eats a lot quicker than he did when he was younger, reducing my browsing time.

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