Monday, September 24, 2012

On Budgets and Buying Kid's Clothes

The BabbyFamily is officially back on a budget. Not that we've been doing too badly financially, but when we finally caved and started using Mint.com, it became crushingly obvious how much my pregnancy cravings were costing us. A lot, let me tell you. Hitting up the taqueria once in a while? Not a big deal. But turns out pregnancy-level taqueria patronage really adds up. Oops!

Plus my maternity leave is coming at us like a rocket and that is the standard unpaid maternity leave that we have here in the US - when a mama even gets maternity leave. To prepare, I've been stashing every freelance writing and editing dime in savings, where that money has just been sitting awaiting the three too, too short months during which freelance money will be the only money I'll be bringing in.

I look at it as a fun test of where we would be if I wasn't working. How fast would the balance in our checking account disappear? How often would we dip into savings? We know for a fact that both of these things would happen because we've lived through them... right before, during, and after my miscarriage, no less.

(Before that time, we had a few additional income streams that gave us the cushion we needed to break even. Thanks, recession!)

So seeing as we have this temporary change in income speeding toward us, it's extremely important to us know where the money is going every month. I am especially curious to see where we're wasting money and where, if anywhere, we can make cuts moving forward. It would be nice to get as close as possible to the goal of living on only the BabbyDaddy's salary, even if I am working. If I'm still working, that just means more saving.

One area where we're not spending money is kid's clothes. Oh, sure, I'm like any other mother and I'll very occasionally grab a new dress for P. or something special for FutureBabby - usually at TJ Maxx or the clearance rack at Target - but P.s wardrobe has always been 99% handmedowns and gifts and her brother's wardrobe is shaping up the same way. I mean, buy kid's clothes? It's been nearly four years and other than having to make the odd onesie run, we've never done any serious kiddie clothes shopping.

buying kid's clothes - family budget

But today, as I looked at the bare shelf in P.'s closet that used to hold the clothes she had yet to grow into, it suddenly occurred to me that we're nearing the end of our epic four year handmedown run. We may actually have to budget for some new duds for P. in the next year or two since Freecycle has been utter poo for anything about 2T. And I thought How odd! and How will I bribe or trick her into actually consenting to try things on? and I can't even stand shopping for me!

For the mamas and papas of older kids out there: How long was it before you had to do any real clothes shopping for your kids? What are your budget kid's clothes shopping tips?

10 comments:

  1. Jess is getting some "new" clothes soon, which probably means you'll see some, too.
    Serious clothes shopping for us started this year, with Kindergarten happening.

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    1. Ooh, hope so! I think the majority of our baby stuff came from you!

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  2. All I can say, aside from resale, is the Hanna Andersson outlet is a mom's best friend. $5 leggings and $10 dresses? Yes, please. Especially since that meant -- with my picky child -- I could just buy larger versions of the clothes she already loves.

    (I think we started buying most of Pea's clothes around 18 months -- the peril of being the first of our friends/family to have a child. But man, I score at resale like nobody's business.)

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    1. I shall look into this outlet for all future needs that aren't satisfied by handmedowns!

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  3. savers, yo. savers is the bomb, and the turnover is super fast. my entire wardrobe is either secondhand or very inexpensive or my mom gave me for christmas. same with the kids. i maaaybe spend $10 every couple months on their clothes, and i've got two kids in pretty much the same size. i "splurged" on a $4 rain coat for nathan today. and $0.99 for a shirt.

    also, they wear the same stuff a lot. i don't have a ton of variety, and i don't care, because this bitch is cheap.

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    1. Well, now I don't have to go to Savers for ages because you did!

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  4. If you were having another girl, you'd be set with a combination of P's handmedowns and the outfits as J grows out of them. But by and large, her outfits are getting girlier as she's getting older. It will be any day now that she's officially out of her 3-6 month and into 6-12.

    I've bought some cute outfits for her 7 year old step-sister, and I've been requesting that as she grows out of them, that I can have them back to stash them away for J.

    I have to keep reminding myself that she only needs a couple really "cute" outfits, and that onesies and footie pajamas serve the rest of her day-to-day needs. Besides, I can often steer myself away from a purchase at BabyGAP when I realize that they often favor (fancier, but) tricky buttons instead of easier snaps or zippers. Their DVF line famously had rompers for babies/toddlers with NO OPENING AT THE BOTTOM FOR DIAPER CHANGES. Insanity.

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    1. We've definitely seen the trend of there being fewer handmedowns as kids get older - I think it has a lot to do with kids being tougher on their clothes. More playclothes exchanges versus the stuff you get when they're little that looks new but has been through 4 kids first! Let me know if you ever find yourself in the running out of handmedowns sitch and we'll send you a box!!

      The whole badly designed clothes thing cracks me up. You know what was in for the 2/3 set this year? One piece rompers. Because nothing says potty training like a piece of clothing you have to TAKE ENTIRELY OFF when you go to the bathroom!

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  5. Well, baby boy #2 has lived with 80% hand me downs since he was born 4.5 months ago. I've only just recently started getting him a few onesies because he's at the size now where no hand me downs fit :)

    Good luck with getting new clothes for your girl! Have you tried/ considered sewing your own clothes?

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    1. Sewing, at least for me, ends up being more expensive with the fabric prices. Drives me crazy! Especially because I like sewing.

      But maybe I can land some bargains since it looks like we'll be mostly set for clothes for at least another two seasons :)

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