As a single mama with three kids I totally get it!
Big box stores and large corporations can make products for dirt cheap because they order by the millions. I'm a small potatoe one mama gig with small orders so the cost to make them is high and the price is set by the cost to make them.
The coats have extra length in the sleeves for longer wear without sizing up and adding bulk to the back (some parents have gotten up two 3 years out of their coats - but results definitely vary). I've also added Sezzle so parents can split it up into four payments with no interest or credit check.
I totally get budgets though and added a two ways to trade up program that allows parents to get a $20 refund on the purchase of a new Buckle Me Baby Coat when they donate back a gently used Buckle Me Baby Coat or $15 refund on Buckle Me Baby Coats sent back through Swoondle. The donated coats are distributed to New England little ones in need and this year we are donating to New England Pediatric Care. You can read more about our programs here: http://www.bucklemecoats.com/pages/trade-up-program
If none of these things work for you I totally 100% understand and am working constantly to make things better for all families! In the meantime ponchos, blankets, and taking coats off are all great ways to stay safely buckled in the car seat too!