Several times a year we see reports and research telling us how expensive it is to have a child. I am always amazed at how high these figures are and yet I always find myself stunned at the highly inflated figures they use. Children do not have to be expensive, and providing for them can be done well, effectively and on a budget.
Watching the pennies doesn’t mean settling for less. Clothing children on a budget can easily be done by following a few simple rules. In fact, these rules can be used for the family in general – not just the kids!
Set a budget
Always set a budget whatever purchase you are planning, and try to stick to it as closely as you can. I also like to challenge myself and see if I can beat the budget I have set.
Plan a staple wardrobe
Not only does planning a basic wardrobe help keep costs down, it also saves on the storage space needed to keep the clothes in. You may decide that your children’s basic requirements would be something along the lines of 5 t-shirts, 2 jumpers, 2 sets of pyjamas, 4 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of smart trousers, 2 smart shirts, plus socks and underwear. If this is all they need, stick to it and avoid buying anything else unless it is in order to replace something worn or damaged.
Never pay full price
I try to make this a general rule no matter what I buy and clothes are no exception. Sales are no longer limited to once or twice a year, and bargains can be found at any time. Even if a store doesn’t have a sale on during your visit you can normally find a dedicated clearance rack to sift through. The beauty for us in having six boys in a row means that I can hunt through the bargain racks and anything fitting anyone between the ages of 12 and 4 will fit someone! You can also find some fabulous deals online, but if you are wary of buying before trying, look out for stores such as Zalando which offer free delivery and returns. This is perfect if you don’t fancy dragging the kids out around the stores.
Use cashback sites or vouchers
Save any store vouchers or coupons which you can use in-store for discounts. Likewise, if purchasing online, don’t forget to check out the cashback sites first to see if they click through to retailers you want to buy from. Small savings here and there will soon add up to bigger amounts for very little extra hassle for you.
If they don’t need it or won’t wear it, it’s not a bargain
Don’t be tempted by a heavily discounted item if it’s not something your child would wear. Even if you only spend £5 on a skirt for your daughter, but she prefers to wear jeans and won’t wear it, you won’t have saved a fiver but you’ll have wasted it instead.
So you’re not thinking about winter coats and mittens when the sun is shining, and you’re not thinking about swimming costumes when it’s cold, but many items like these can be found hugely discounted in sales in the opposite seasons. Think ahead and buy a size larger in order to put aside for next summer or winter, and save a normally significant amount in the meantime.
Find clothes which can mix and match well
Using your staple wardrobe doesn’t mean being limited. By buying separates in co-ordinating colours you can mix and match to create several different looks through just a few basic pieces.
Your child might hanker after the latest character shirt, or want a logo they like the look of. Unfortunately, these tend to be more expensive than plain shirts. Why not get some fabric paints or pens and encourage them to personalise their own shirt or two? You can also get creative when it comes to patching up worn knees, or sprucing up a tired old t-shirt. Let them add some embellishments or patches to create something that is truly one of a kind!
These are just a few ways of keeping down the costs of clothing your family. What tips do you have for dressing well on a budget?