My mom sewed my clothes when I growing up. Most of the time it was good. There were moments when I wished I looked like everyone else, but it was pretty cool to get to design my own stuff. AND I learned to sew a bit along the way.
I sewed my own kids’ clothes for years…it was a tradition I liked carrying on. I did it on the cheap, recutting cast off clothing and using clearance bin fabric. At some point while homeschooling, having 6 babies and working 3-4 jobs at a time on the side, I ran out of time. Some of the kids were getting old enough that they had opinions about what they wore. I might spend hours on an outfit, only to have it rejected during the final fitting. Sewing lost it’s charm for me.
Now we shop more at thrift stores, where the girls can try on stuff. ThredUP gives us the convenience of thrift store shopping at home. We love that Old Navy clearance has prices to rival thrift stores and online sales around holidays that make their whole stock accessible. Forever 21 has some of the trends the teens crave (after you sort through the WEIRD they also carry) at bargain prices. Discount shops like Ross, TJ Max, Burlington, and Marshalls fill in the gaps.
I tried shopping at a huge consignment sale once. I was pregnant and tired and the crowd was overwhelming. I thought the prices were high. I could do better on clearance racks and I was so under impressed that I never went back. That was 8 years ago. I have several friends who still go every season and score great deals. Every thrifty method isn’t for everybody, and that’s ok.
There are times in my life where sewing exactly what we need still feels easier than running all over town looking for something specific, but if we are looking for general items for a particular season, it’s really fun to bargain shop.
My two girls have different shaped bodies and different personalities and style preferences. We don’t hand down as many clothes as we used to between them. Since we get their clothes so inexpensively, we sell what they can’t use anymore at yard sales and use the money to replace the clothing.
When you sell at yard sales and buy at yard sales, you can dress for free.
One of the best ways I like to save on clothing is to host a HUGE garage sale twice a year and invite friends to bring stuff. Then I can shop from what they bring. I have some stylish friends who price their stuff cheap. This August was a huge win that way. (I scored 2 Vera Bradley purses for $.50 and $1.00 each and they hardly look used!)
We pass clothes down through the boys as much as possible. I have purchased more for the toddler than usual since 3 boys have worn the clothes over a period of 10 years and they are worn out. Crumbling elastic, pilly fabric, ripped knees–worn out. I also shop for the oldest–who has no one to hand down to him.
Clothing is the hardest budget for me to stick to. We do cash in an envelope but I only get $10 a month per person, which is also supposed to cover shoes. That really doesn’t cut it, so I supplement that budget with garage sale income, and online sales. My ideal budget is $200 per year season for the ones that don’t get passed to, and $50 a season for the others. We’ve never quite had that much, but a girl can dream. If I finish a month with money left in the envelope, I remove it from my purse and put it in a clothing envelope in the safe. That way we can save up for bigger purchases later in the year.
It’s possible to be thrifty whether you sew it, buy it new, or buy it used. How do you prefer to save money on your kid’s clothes?
This is day 20 of our series 31 Days of Kids and Money