It's super easy to dress your children in the latest fashions - that is, if you have an unlimited budget. You just drive to the mall, pick up one of everything in your kids size, and go home. It's considerably more difficult to dress fashionably when you have less money, and doubly more difficult if you have more than one child. Add in 2, 3 or 4 more children, and you've got a tough mountain to climb.
Never fear! Here are a few tried and true tips that I've used myself to dress my children fashionably and still have money left over for the grocery budget.
1 - Never discount hand me downs - Just about any family inherits their fair share of hand me downs. Some people don't want them, but if you are given some, look through before you discard. Even if there's only one piece in that batch that's worth saving, it's one less piece you have to purchase. Don't overlook items that may need some love - maybe you can add trim or new buttons or shorten sleeves and make an entire new item.
2 - At the same time, don't make hand me downs the entire wardrobe - Everyone wants to feel as if they have something new and special, and an entire wardrobe of clothes that aren't new and fresh can be a drag. Pick up a couple of new, fresh items each season and use them to spruce up your child's wardrobe.
3 - Buy a few key classic staples - Your child may not be a fashion model, and in fact may not even care about the latest fashions. But if you add a few key classic staples - a pair of black dress pants, a white button front shirt, a nice belt, maybe a dark blazer - the most quirky and least fashion forward preteen will be able to create some great fashions.
4 - Fill in with cheaper, more "one time" pieces - Everyone remembers, from their own teenage years, those "one hit wonders". Those super peg legged jeans, the washed out jeans jacket. The clothing items that everyone simply must have that the next year no one will be caught dead in. Like it or not, your teen wants to fit in, and buying just a few of those inexpensive articles of clothing - knowing full well that they won't be passed on or worn the next time the calendar flips to fall - will make you a hero.
5 - Don't forget your box stores -Box stores can provide wonderful, fashion forward pieces that will fit into your budget with room to spare. Pick up a few of those "must haves" to make your kid happy and leave room in your budget for new shoes - for you. It's a win for all!
6 - Thrift stores are a wonderful resource - We've had super luck looking for some of the wardrobe staples - a good blazer, dark dress pants - at thrift stores. Sure, there's some unwanted items, and it's always a good idea to thoroughly wash the clothes when you bring them home - but it's a fantastic, inexpensive way to stretch a wardrobe - and can help your fashion forward teen remain at the front of the line!
What are some ways that you dress your family and stay within the limits of your budget?