Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dressing on a Budget, Part One: Kids

Your kids can still look nice, even when you're shopping on a budget.
Photo by Stuart Miles

One of the biggest challenges for our family is keeping everyone dressed relatively well, without breaking the bank.  Fortunately, none of us are slaves to trends and we prefer clothing that looks decent without being super fancy.  At the same time, I don’t think any of us are going to be wearing handmade dresses and pants made from homespun wool. 

Elias has enough challenges that dressing “poor” would only be more fuel on the fire.  Maddie is a three-year-old girl with a quickly developing fashion sense.  While Gav and I are not exactly fashionistas, we have the challenge of being, well, plus size, which brings a whole new set of clothing challenges.  Here’s how we keep everyone clothed, including two growing kids, without going into the poor house.


Maddie is probably the easiest one of the bunch to clothe, believe it or not.  She’s cute, and little girl clothing is fun to buy, so she gets clothing as gifts on a regular basis.  She also gets adorable hand-me-downs from several friends.  End of season clearance sales at stores like Fred Meyer can fill in the blanks.  One of my favorite shopping opportunities for Maddie is at a local consignment store, Quadoo’s.  Not only are consignment stores a great way to stretch your dollar, they will also take clothing your kids have grown out of off your hands, providing credit.  Each season, I’m able to turn in Maddie’s outfits from the year before and score some new goodies.


Elias is really challenging to clothe.  He’s eleven, and that age just isn’t quite as much fun to buy for.  Plus, like most boys his age, he’s just really hard on clothes. He wears through the knees of jeans quickly and his shoes fall apart like they are made of tissue paper.  Plus, he’s already 5 feet tall.  He grows out of his clothes fast and he is terribly picky about what he wears, since he has sensory issues.  He’s in that awkward in-between period and consignment stores don’t carry his size.  I can get away with getting items for him at the Goodwill, and by combining store coupons with clearance sales, I can get some good deals at Fred Meyer. Last week we found ourselves having to replace his winter coat (the other one was destroyed).  We were able to catch a 50 percent off sale and scored a nice coat for $30.  Not quite as great a deal as the London Fog coat we found for Maddie for a measly $12.99, but I can’t argue.  It’s hard to find coats in good condition at thrift stores.  My sister likes to take Elias school shopping every year.  She has more fashion sense than we do, so Elias always manages to start off the school year looking sharp!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you how Gavin and I shop.  The truth is, we are far more likely to buy new clothes for the kids then for ourselves.  Show me a parent who isn’t, right?


  1. Love this topic! So hard when the kids grow like weeds, and then designers seem to think that plus-size means you either want shirts with kittens on them or plunging necklines and sparkly baubles in awkward places! I do most of my shopping at Goodwill, going every couple weeks to scan the shelves. I love scoring shoes there!!

  2. I LOVE the Goodwill. Last time I was there I absolutely scored. I know I need to finish this topic, but I got distracted, lol. It's coming soon, I promise!