I wanted to do follow up on yesterday’s post with some practical advice on children’s wardrobes. I would like you to keep in mind that my children are 21 & 19 now and it has been a while since I had control over what they wear.
When my children were small, well actually they are still small but we will come to that soon, I was very lucky that I really didn’t need to buy much for them in the way of clothing. Both my mother and mother-in-law are very good at sewing and made most of the clothes they needed. My MIL would buy good second-hand clothing and shoes for them on occasion as well. I don’t recall them being inundated with more clothes than they needed so there was no out of control spending that’s for sure. Also because they were small the fabric required was minimal and were often off-cuts so no waste there much either.
As I mentioned, both my kids aren’t big. When they were little I could never predict what size clothes they would need for the next season because their growth rate was not the average. So I never took advantage of end of season sales. One of the advantages of having small kids is that they tend to wear their clothing out rather than grow out of them so that was my savings advantage. We also lived in the tropics for four years of their young lives so there was no seasons to buy for really.
When my daughter turned twelve I copped the usual teenage girl desire for name brand clothes and going shopping with her became a nightmare. I did what all smart mothers would do and gave her a clothing allowance. It didn’t take long for her to realize that the money I gave her would not buy much unless she settled for sensible brands with reasonable prices. She soon learned how to find a bargain and that she was cute enough without doing free advertising for companies whose clothes were not that well made anyway.
My son however has always been hard to fit because he has always been a skinny little thing so he tends to find something that he likes that fits and wears it to death. He still wears his little league t-shirts from when he was twelve he is now nineteen. Says a lot for how well they catered for sizes at his little league club but that is another story. He mostly lives in skinny jeans, t-shirts and button up flannel shirts these days because that is the skateboarder fashion. His one weakness is skate shoes but now that he is responsible for paying for them himself I am sure he will be more careful with them. Oh and he will not part with any band t-shirts or hoodies that he has ever owned and they are stored in a box in the garage. I am not happy about that.
Sure there were times where they had more than they needed. Sometime an item was bought that they didn’t like so much and didn’t wear to its full potential. Every now and again there had to be the “only for good” outfit that they grew out of before they wore out but for the most part we didn’t do too badly.
The moral of this story is we all know our kids well enough to know the style of clothing that best suits their everyday needs. We pretty much have a handle on their growth rate and their personalities. We know if they are the rough and tumble type or the gentle variety. We know how often we have time to do the laundry and the type of climate we live in. We know the kind of social lives we lead separately and together as a family.
All our kids need is enough clothing of the variety that best suits the needs of the categories above and no more. If something wears out it is easy enough to replace it so there is no need for multiple back ups. If you are lucky like I was and someone else is catering well to their needs in this area just be grateful of one less financial pressure. If that leaves you with extra funds maybe you could funnel the savings into a college fund or something else that suits their immediate needs. It is best to teach them now that excess is not necessary for a happy life, they will thank you for it in the end.
I am not going to be a hypocrite and pretend that I taught my kids all the right lessons when it comes to being frugal. Hindsight is a great thing but often too late. Suddenly having an independent income can go to their heads when it happens no matter how well you think you taught them. I just hope the fundamentals are locked in their somewhere and they will settle into it.
ITEM 22OF 365 LESS THINGS
This Thomas the Tank Engine train set was a Christmas gift to my son many years ago. He kindly allowed me to give it to his young cousins who are Thomas fans.