This is from Sandra of The Cochran Crew. Sandra, a stay-at-home-mom, and her husband, Matt, a school teacher, are the proud parents of Hannah-Noelle (5) and BBGG 20 month old quadruplets, Cannon, Gunner, Lauren and Avery. Sandra blogs about parenting with fun anecdotes and beautiful photos of her five gorgeous children!
After the initial shock of knowing that we were going to be responsible for four more lives wore off, we started making game plans of how our spending would change. Money was going to be tighter and we had to really think through every purchase. This made me a much better shopper. I get excited when I save money now!
After food, the item in our budget that needed attention was clothes: we now had to plan on clothing seven bodies instead of three. This was something I knew I was going to have to work hard on! Here are a few things that I learned to use as guidelines when shopping for our wardrobes:
- Watch for end of season sales: At the end of the summer most businesses mark their clothes down drastically. This is when I buy for next summer. At the end of last summer, I stockpiled 18-24 months for my girls and 2T's for the boys. Sure, I wasn’t positive what size they would be in, but I knew if it was a little too big, they would grow into it.
- Sales only get better as the next season approaches: Stores tend to put a greater markdown on the summer clothes that weren’t purchased in the first markdown right after the first cold snap hits. Sizes and quantities are normally slim, but even if you buy a 3T in a shirt you really like for your son/daughter at 75-90% off, it’s worth storing it away for a year or so. (I’m getting ready to buy next years’ winter clothes right now!)
- Buy bigger sizes: Always buy a little bigger than you think your kids will be when the next season comes along. You can always take things in or let them grow into it, but letting something out is hard to do and most children don’t fancy going on a diet!
- Smocked Dresses! If you’re in the market for dresses for your girls, smocked dresses are the way to go. I always buy my Easter dresses at Christmas sales and my Christmas dresses at Easter sales. With smocked dresses you just can’t go wrong. I buy them at least two sizes two big (because the neck has so much leeway) and then I have the hem whipstitched up so it’s not too long. As my daughters grow, I let the hem out and the dress grows with her!
- Shoes are tough! Seasonal shoes are normally not something you can buy ahead of time. If you do find them at a very large discount, buy two or three sizes, what doesn’t fit when the season rolls around, sell on Ebay or at your local consignment shop.
- Buy and Sell at Consignment Sales: I love going to my local Consignment Sales! With consignment sales the seller has named the price and normally has priced it to move! I go to these sales ready to stockpile. I trace each of my children’s feet so that I can actually “try shoes on them” without having them there with me. I also make sure I’m close to the front of the line when they mark all these clothes 1/2 off (usually on the last day of the sale). More importantly, make sure you consign the clothes that your child/children have outgrown. As mine outgrow something, I iron it, place it on a hanger and hang my index card as required by the Consignment Sale and just wait to get the postcard of when the next one is. If there is more than one consignment sale in your area have your plan mapped out. I have a list that has the dates for drop off and pick up written out so I know when I pick up from Sale A, I have two days before drop off to Sale B. I don’t let anything go for half price until the last sale of the season for my area. (Marybeth's note: See a previous post on consignment sale shopping tips to learn more than you ever thought possible about scoring the best deals at kids consignment sales!)
Good luck shopping and start shopping now for next winter!
Readers, do you shop a season ahead? Do you have any tips to add to this article? Leave a comment and let us know!