Recently I shared with you that we don’t own a lot of clothing. Now I thought I'd share with you how I go about acquiring our clothing on a budget. On the whole I don't spend a lot of money on clothing. That being said it is my goal to spend those dollars on the best quality items I possibly can. I find that by investing my dollars in higher quality items I don't need to replace them as often. They simply last longer.
With growing children it is much more of a challenge to keep them clothed than it is to clothed myself. I begin by trying to anticipate their needs ahead of time, especially when it comes to school clothes.
I start out by doing an inventory of what we have. I keep a list of items I know we will need. I am always in shopping mode when it comes to clothing. I purchase continually so I don't have to buy all at once. The children's needs come first and then I work on my own wardrobe.
My favorite place to shop are the clearance racks at the end of the season. By anticipating our needs and estimating my girl's growth rate I buy ahead with sizes and fortunately this has worked out well. Saving up to 90% on an item of clothing makes me very happy.
Store Coupons & Sales
I take advantage of store coupons, additional percentage off offers, online sales and free shipping. Anytime I can combine a sales or clearance price with a coupon or additional percentage off means I keep more money in my pocket.
I carefully purchase second hand. This worked really well when it came to clothing my children when they were younger. Baby and toddler clothing sees relatively little wear so it is a good value to purchase second had. As they entered grade school it got harder in that children tend to wear out their clothes, however I still found some wonderful tops, coats, sweaters, skirts and fancy dresses to be a great value. Jean and pants were hit and miss as the knees tended to be worn out.
I also purchase second hand online, in particular eBay. I've found quite a few lovely items for myself on eBay as many people will purchase clothes and never or rarely wear them. They resell them on eBay for a fraction of the cost they paid and I end up with a nice new or a seldom worn item.
Sew, Mend & Repurpose
I'm not much of a seamstress when it comes to making clothing, but I do well with simple items, especially robes, pajamas and shorts. When my daughter needed track shorts last year we headed to the fabric store with a coupon and bought a yard and a half of grey fleece to make her two pair of shorts for less than the cost of one pair on sale.
I mend things as they need it to make them last longer and keep them nice and in good condition. Every summer I usually end up chopping the legs off of my youngest daughter's worn out jeans, hemming them and making them into shorts.
Hand Me Downs
We happily accept the offer of hand me downs. My girls have received several nice items from friends and I've been given things from co-workers too. One of my co-workers had a girl two years older than my girls so it was really nice when two or three times a year she would bring me a bag of clothes for the girls to have.
I include clothing items in my gift giving. Christmas stockings quite often have socks in them. I try to give the girls a new outfit or a significant piece of clothing for their birthday and Christmas.
Shoes are always bought on sale and with a coupon too whenever possible. We take turns so I am not buying shoes for all of us at the same time. Staggering these purchases makes it much more affordable. At the end of summer I stock up on clearance sale flip flops and sandals, usually around $3 a pair, sometimes even less.
Keeping our wardrobes relatively small means we need fewer things. Buying higher quality items helps our things wear better and last longer. Staggering our purchases means we aren't pressed to shop and buy all at one giving me time to find what we need at the best possible price. Spending as little as possible on those items keeps more money in my pocket and lowers the financial strain on our budget.