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Monday, August 9, 2010

saving on kids and food - part 4, kids and clothing

So, both of my children are in elementary school (last year for my son...wahhhh!), and clothing is starting to become an issue. Not that they are asking/demanding/throwing a fit, but just that they are noticing more. Personally, I have never been one to bow down under peer pressure to wear only certain brands of clothing, and I am doing my best to raise my children to be the same. Right now, they get most of their clothing from WalMart, KMart, Target, or wherever I find decent, appropriate clothing on sale...most often clearance. As they are still growing, I find it senseless to spend more than $10-$20 on ANY piece of clothing, except for winter coats. Walmart shoes, while inexpensive, are the choice of both children because they have learned that, when they outgrow their current pair, it's not going to break the "mommy bank" to go out and get another in the next larger size. They also know that, if they want a certain label, they will either have to save money from their allowance (more on that in another post), or wait until it goes on sale, at which point, it might not be in their size (but they also might have gotten over the "need" for the item).

If you've been to the stores recently, you will notice that fall/winter clothing is starting to hit the floors, and summer clothing is starting to go on clearance....this is the time to buy for NEXT year. Yes, I know....let's use my daughter as an example....we just did the pre school closet/dresser clean-out (for both children), and she ended up with almost NO summer clothing left. Fortunately, there was a good sale going on and I found her some shorts (in her current size) for less than $4 a pair. I bought her 2 pairs in her current size as well as some in the next size up....seriously...if I waited until next year, instead of $4 a pair, I would have had to pay $8 a pair....nope, not me. Bathing suits are the only thing I hesitate to buy early...simply because they don't always fit correctly, and you can't tell that without trying them on...and DD doesn't like trying a ton of clothes on unless it's something she So...I tend to wait until we need them to get them, and I force her to go with me.....avoids the possibility that the seemingly demure 1-piece is actually a butt-thong, high-leg tramp suit.....don't get offended....I'm talking about a bathing suit for a 1st grader!!!

Keep your child's favorite colors and interests in mind if you aren't taking them shopping with you (safer and cheaper if you don't take them with you) and you can usually get them a good amount of outfits (mix and match if you really work on it) that will last the school year. For my daughter, we have gravitated toward pink, purple, and turquoise/light blue. She can mix and match nearly her entire wardrobe, which actually means less clothing we had to buy, and more outfits because of all the versatility of the pieces. Buying basics can also help save money....a few good pairs of jeans, some plain skirts or jumpers, and some neutral sweaters and shirts and you have the general idea. Of course, if you have a girly-girl, you need to add in a special dress or 2....and that means that besides sneakers, you need some dress shoes....and tights in addition to socks...

For boys, at least if they are like mine, you will need jeans, sweatpants, short-sleeve tshirts, long sleeve tshirts, sweaters or sweatshirts, 2 pairs of slacks (dockers work fine), sneakers, and dress shoes, plus dress socks in addition to regular sport socks.....

ALL of these items go on sale throughout the year, but make sure to ALWAYS check the clearance sections before heading right to the main clothing section (case in point, though about my husband and not my children - he needed new dress shoes and I was hunting for a good pair. All the ones in the main section were $45 or more, but then I stumbled on the clearance section - not clearly marked in the store I was in - and found a pair of dress shoes, in the size he needed and style he wanted, for $13!!!)

Have fun and see shopping as an adventure....think of how much fun you can have while actually SAVING your family money.....make it a game...set a limit (and this also goes for groceries) and see if you can get everything you need for that amount...or less.....

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