February 12, 2014

Clothing a Large Family on a Budget





People have this misconception that it costs a lot to clothe children-and depending on your resources and what you have access to,it really doesn't need to be that expensive.

Between hand me downs from siblings or friends,buying bulk lots off of sites like Ebay/Craigslist/local groups on Facebook,shopping clearance racks,and buying second hand,you can make your money go a LONG way.







My shopping tips:


Socks/underwear
I always buy these new-but,I buy them when they are on sale,even if it's a size ahead-and I buy several packages.
With lots of busy children,socks get worn out,socks go missing,and the ones that last through one child can be passed to the next!

Shoes/boots
I never buy new winter boots-unless I happen to catch them on *super* clearance.
Winter boots start at $24 a pair brand new-but my mother and I both keep our eyes out at the second hand stores for gently used winter boots-WHERE we get them for less than $7 per pair.

As for shoes/sandals,I try to get them on clearance,but am not opposed to buying used in good condition.My boys have always gone through shoes really quickly,so a barely worn pair will get as much use as a brand new pair!

Coats/winter wear
Again,I buy nice used condition.
The local Salvation Army has great deals if you pick through-and if brand names are a concern,they often get those in too!
I can buy a nice used winter coat for less than $9,whereas a new coat in the store is upwards of $35 or more.
Hats and gloves are plentiful at second hand stores-a 99 cent hat vs a $6 hat?
My children don't mind...they are always excited to get a new winter hat and they are aware that there is nothing wrong with gently used goods.

Outfits
For the most part I buy these in *barely worn* condition at places like Goodwill,Salvation Army,and-my new favorite store-Once Upon a Child.
I buy the lower cost things in the best condition...I tend to buy boys clothing in plentiful amounts because I know that between our four boys SOMEONE will wear it!








My extra tips:


Buy used,Save the difference
I love finding really good deals.I primarily buy the kids' clothes and most of mine at second hand stores,and several of my husbands shirts too.


Fill in the gaps by shopping new/sale when possible
I buy hubby's jeans brand new,but only because men's pants are harder to find in specific sizes,and I often purchase a few items for the kids and I that I maybe couldn't track down in the gently used stores.


Buy ahead on sale
I buy the clearance items and guesstimate what sizes the kids will be in for the next season,again considering that a pair of jean 75% off is worth it knowing that someone will eventually wear it!
I try to wait on cute items that I *can't live without* until they have a 40% off sale at least,that way I still get it in season,but don't pay full price! (Kmart is known for 40% off sales on In-season clothing)


Buy layer-able clothes
This works really well with my baby girl,but it could with boys too.
Tee-shirts for boys can work in cooler months layered over a long sleeve shirt or under a sweatshirt jacket.
I can still put shorter sleeved/sleeveless dresses on Marlena if I have a few *neutral* long sleeve onesies or shirts...I buy in white/grey/black/pink/purple and those will usually match dresses or little short sleeve shirts on cooler days,so she gets more wear out of her wardrobe.
I also buy more skirts and dresses for her,so leggings work well under those to keep her legs warm,as well as BabyLegs and tights.


Hair accessories
Nobody warned me how fun it is to accessorize little girls....so I wasn't prepared for oohing and ahhing over 1000's of styles.
I have found that making my own is cheapest,as well as buying bulk lots of headbands/flowers off of Ebay or Amazon.


Hand me downs
When one child outgrows it,if it's still wearable,save it for the next child!
Even if it's not in pristine condition,it can still be play-wear!
I store all the clothing in storage totes separated by size.I have SO many baby clothes newborn-3T and most in really great condition still!
Look for deals online
Stores like Kmart,Walmart,Target and other retailers have sales too,as well as free shipping if you spend a certain amount.

Craigslist is where other mothers go to sell off the clothes that their kids have outgrown.
Ebay is also a good place to score a large lot of clothing.I bought four cute dresses for less than $10 with shipping.
There are often local groups on Facebook where parents list their kids outgrown clothes.

Comfy lounge clothes can count as pajamas
My children don't mind wearing either the clothes they wore that day (provided they didn't get too soiled!) or just comfy parts of their wardrobe-like sweat pants-as pajamas.
I don't complain since it saves on laundry *laugh*


My cheap hauls comparisons (in like-new condition) to normal retail prices:


Carters infant 2 piece PJ's 
Used $4.42 for two pairs vs RV $18 (on sale!) for two pairs

Disney Pixar Cars shoes size 10
Used $2.50 vs RV $16.99+

Infant girls size 12 month holiday dress
Used $4.00 vs RV $24.99+

Baseball cap (youth)
Used 99 cents vs RV $9.99


Boys dress shoes
Used $3.00 vs RV $12.99





I spent a little more on Marlena's clothes at first...because I've never had a girl!
Now I buy gently used (you usually can't even tell they were worn) and she has a beautiful wardrobe
 for a fraction of what normal retail would have cost!



*A thought about buying used clothing: Some people aren't comfortable buying used...and that's their prerogative.However,if you consider that the first time you wear and wash something,it's USED.
If you buy from a retailer,chances are what you buy has been TRIED ON.



Again,it's personal preference,but I think buying used is a smart and thrifty thing to do!



And that is how we dress without it costing a fortune!

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