Summer is coming. Soon, the kids are going to need a whole new wardrobe. Sigh.
Now wait just a minute. You’re not actually going to buy them a while new wardrobe, are you?
No, no, of course not, you say, but they will need clothes. Time to break the bank.
But before you do, consider these ways to save money in the process.
1. Make an inventory of everything they own, individually.
Don’t skip this step! Go through their closets. Check what fits, what doesn’t, what needs to go and what doesn’t. If something needs to be fixed, fix it. If something is too warm for summer but could be used again next winter (provided they don’t grow another two inches!) save it in an overhead bin away from their usual clothes.
This is also a good time to donate clothes, save buttons, etc. (if you sew and would like to save them) and hand individual pieces of clothing down to the next child.
2. Consider what they usually wear.
My daughter swore up and down that she wasn’t going to buy an entire closet of pink clothes the last time we went shopping. And yet, at the store, the pinks called her name with their siren song. Hey, who am I to stand between her and her favorite color? My son will never wear a sweater vest no matter how many I buy. So why waste cash?
3. Make a (realistic) list of what is needed.
Someone once told me to keep seven – eight shoe boxes of clothes for each boy in the house. The boxes would be organized by them and would contain one pair of pants (or shorts), one shirt, one underwear and one pair of socks. I followed this for years. But now that my older boy is five, I have him organize his clothes in three bigger boxes – shirts, pants, underwear. We still like to keep about a week’s worth of clothes on hand.
When I go through their closets on the eve of a big shopping trip, I see what’s missing and write it down. For instance, if they already have five shorts that they can wear through summer, I will only buy two more pairs. But if all they have five full pants, I might splurge on shorts and decide to buy seven pairs.
Shopping with a list and a plan ensures you don’t buy things that will only hide in the closet all year. It saves you money without having to scour places for bigger and bigger sales. It also helps you control clutter.