We’ve all heard the reports of how much it costs to raise kids. And, if you have kids you know all too well.
One of the primary expenses relates to clothing.
When the kids are young we (the parents) have undisputed control over what they will wear and the associated cost. As they get older, however, there is a strong desire for brand name items which cost far more than the basic utility (and often more durable) version of a particular article of clothing.
There are a number of ways to manage this process. One of the most obvious is to set a budget (i.e., we shall only spend $150 for your clothing to start the new school year). They can then make the decision regarding how many articles of clothing that they would actually like to purchase with that budgeted amount. And, if they want more they can contribute their own funds…
But, there are ways to get so much more for your money!
Recently, on one of our vacations, my wife and our 4 sons (ages 17-24) passed by a Salvation Army store. One of the boys asked my wife: “What is in there, anyway?” She said something to the effect of, “Used clothing and other stuff.” Being that it was a rainy vacation day, they had time to burn and decided to stop in for a visit. The boys went nuts. For less than $50 they all had numerous articles of clothing (shirts, shorts, sunglasses, etc.) that they were extremely excited about! The same stuff new would have cost hundreds of dollars!
Since that experience the boys have frequently visited, on their own, other Salvation Army and Goodwill stores consistently coming home excited about their bounty of clothing. The reality: when spending their own money they get the most for it!
My wife and I acknowledge that if we had taken this route early on we would have saved thousands of dollars over the course of the last 20+ years.
So, if you have (or are thinking about having) kids, don’t look down your nose at the Salvation Army or Goodwill. You would be surprised at what is available for ridiculously low pricing. Shopping for clothing this way is a great lesson to teach the kids the value of money. And, the (HUGE) savings can be invested towards that debt eradication plan and/or towards a college education.
Of special note: When purchasing clothing from the Salvation Army the proceeds are used to fund their Adult Rehabilitation Centers. So, in addition to benefiting your family’s finances, you are supporting a GREAT cause!
Give it a try. You can do so by starting simple: t-shirts for the kids. Watch where it goes from there.