A few years ago we moved into an apartment while our home was being remodeled. We were not only paying for an apartment and a mortgage but a remodel as well. Our budgets and our closet space shrunk considerably.
I came to the painful decision that I was going to have to buy less clothes. (Something that my husband had been thinking for years.)
Here's the thing, though: When I took a good hard look at our closets, I realized we weren't really wearing most of the clothes anyway.
I had the most brilliant break-through: Even with a smaller budget and the apartment sized closet space, I could buy smarter and still end up with what I wanted.
I realized I was buying things we didn't need: for example, one of my son's had 8 pairs of church pants! Some were hand-me-downs from his big brother, but seriously: what kid needs 8 pairs of church pants! Think of all the money I wasted.
It has been 3+ years since embarking on our remodel. My budget has grown back. Our non-apartment closets are bigger. But I still stick to this way of buying clothes.
Carie's New and Improved Way of Buying Clothes:
Make a master list of what you need. Begin to think in a new way, this was the big change for me: Do not just limit only by budget. Also limit by number of items on your master list.
Start thinking not can only: Can I afford it? But, more importantly -If I am only buying 15 shirts this season, is it one of my top 15 favorite shirts?
So often (old shopping Carie) would find a great deal and like it fine so I would buy it. Now, new shopping Carie will find a great deal and realize it isn’t one of my top 15 favorites and put it back on the rack. (translation: I have saved money by NOT buying clothes I don’t LOVE that my kids will probably not wear.)
1. Don’t buy it unless you love it AND your child loves it AND it fits. Incidentally, I have almost completely stopped buying ahead for next season because so often it doesn’t end up fitting. The only thing I buy in advance for are winter coats.
2. When you make your master list, make sure you don’t have to do laundry more then once a week.
3. Don’t overbuy church clothes. How many dresses can my daughter really wear before she grows out of them?
4. Don’t buy it unless you have something to wear with it. If you don’t have already have something that matches, buy complete outfits. This is more for girls than boys. If you find a great skirt, buy the shirt to match it. Don’t assume you will be able to find that same color somewhere else. You will save money and time and energy by just buying the matching clothes at the store. And your kid will actually wear it because they have something to wear it with.
5. Along with that, buy 2 or 3 tops to match each bottom. For the most part I think patterns should be in the shirts, not the pants.
6. Throw out/ give away anything that is not being worn. It is painful at first when you realize the money you have wasted on clothes that are not being worn. In the end, it really helped me to buy smarter the next time.
7. Less really is more. My kid’s closets and drawers were so full, they couldn’t possibly wear all the clothes. It made their rooms a mess, laundry a nightmare, and I was buying more than they needed because I had no idea what they had! Worse, I was spending money on things I didn’t really love (because it was a good deal) and ended up with no money for the things I really LOVED.
8. Determine a budget. Pay for everything with cash. I like to use actual cash because it helps me keep better track of my spending. Also, something about my physically handing over the money makes it more real and helps me stick to my budget.
9. Find out what you already have by going through your kid’s closet. Every season we have a fashion show where the kids try on EVERYTHING in their closet. (I mean everything.) Anything that doesn’t fit goes into a give away pile or storage bin for next child.
See Next: My Master Clothes Lists