Times are tough and money is in short supply for many across the country. Nevertheless, you have a family to clothe. Now is the time to be pulling out those fall and winter outfits and to your dismay, you realize that your children have outgrown most of what the clothes they have. Now what? Is it possible to stretch that clothing budget? It certainly is possible.
Thrift Stores Are Great Places to Shop!
In our area, there are quite a few thrift stores. Shopping at these stores is a great way to stretch your clothing budget. One local thrift store benefits the homeless, and another store actually donates proceeds to the local children’s hospital. Not only are you saving money, but you are helping other people in the process.
One of the stores in our area has “expensive” prices and the selection isn’t that great. By expensive, I mean that I could find a good department store sale and I would expect to pay about the same prices. I haven’t returned to that store.
I tend to shop at a larger thrift store which is run by a church group in our area. Not only is it clean, but the staff is very friendly. In addition to their already great prices, they also have half price days on Wednesday’s.
Shop When There Are Sales!
In addition to the thrift stores, we check out the clearance racks at the different department stores. This means that I purchase clothes a year or so ahead of when I believe my children will need the clothes. It sounds complex, but it really isn’t. You buy summer clothes on clearance for the following summer and you do the same for winter clothes. For example, my youngest girl is in a size 7and I figure that she’ll be in size 8-10 by next year based on her growth pattern. My son is now wearing size 2T clothes and I am purchasing him 4T clothes for next summer because he grows so quickly. However, I am not purchasing a whole lot of clothing because I’m not exactly sure how quickly he’ll grow! The younger the children are, the more of a gamble this method is so if you have a young child, you may not want to buy too much clothing on clearance.
Reuse and Recycle!
In our house, we also hand down clothing. I box up clothing after each season and store it in the crawl space above the attic. We recently remodeled the attic space to make storage even more convenient by installing shelves on walls. The shelves hold the boxes and make them more accessible. I use two boxes for each size: 1 box for summer clothing and 1 box for winter clothing. I label the box with the size and also with the season. It is important to wash the clothes well before storing them because stains will “set” during storage. Even if you launder the clothes before storing them, you may still notice that stains appear after storing them for a while. You may also notice that the elastic in some outfits has been damaged. I’ve had some success getting stains out of stored clothing, but if the elastic has been damaged, I’ll use the clothes as rags. I do know of people who have sewn in new elastic and the outfit has been fine, but I find that such an endeavor is way too time-consuming for me!
Because we hand down clothing, I tend to avoid trendy looking clothing which appears out-dated after a season or two. I purchase trendy clothing for holiday or birthday presents, which satisfies the kids’ fashion cravings.
By following the above suggestions, you too can stretch your clothing budget!