For my first back-to-school shopping experience, I decided to start with a local thrift store to see how much I could get. Both of my children went through huge growth spurts over the summer, so I was faced with having to buy a new wardrobe for each (a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point). I was working with a budget and wanted to avoid the shopping mall crowds. Not to mention, I waited until the last minute, so I was up against the clock (school was starting in less than 48 hours).
When children are so young, it seems pointless to me to spend hundreds of dollars on designer brand clothing and shoes when they will last for one season at most. I know a lot of mothers who are label hungry, spending ridiculous amounts of money on a single item because it’s made by Ed Hardy, Juicy Couture, True Religion, Stella and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I like designer merchandise too, but again, when your children are so young and not as fashion conscious, I highly encourage you to shop smart and save money. You’ll have plenty of time to make up for it when your kids get older. (You can get some great stuff for yourself too!)
If you’re wondering if you are “thrift store capable”, just think about this. When you shop at a Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Ross where you have to dig and dig to find some great buys, you can definitely go into a thrift store and do the same. Yes, they generally have their own unique fragrance, but if you can get beyond that, the rewards are plentiful! I have found countless items with tags still attached and pay a fraction of what they would cost new.
My children are always very well dressed (with the exception of when I let them pick out their own clothes occasionally) and accessorized. I cannot count the times when they have been wearing thrift store merchandise and someone compliments them or asks, “Where did you get that? It’s so cute.” Of course the person is shocked when I tell them a thrift store. I’m not too proud to boast about it believe you me. From there, I usually go on and on about the great deals and the money I save on a regular basis.
As I said before, I do like buying new, but when your children are young, why not cut corners where and when you can.
For all the people out there who have never shopped at a thrift store or purchased second hand merchandise, I encourage you to step outside the box and try it once. Sometimes it takes going to several before you find that perfect one with a good balance of new and gently used merchandise and oh, let me not forget to mention the additional discounts that so many stores offer (e.g. fifty percent on certain shopping days). Try not to get discouraged. As soon as you have that one positive experience, I know you’ll go back for more. I bought both of my children almost a whole season’s wardrobe (with some shoes) for $300! If I bought new, I’d be lucky to get three outfits for each of them.
So, again, for anyone looking to save some money when the new school year comes around, find your local thrift/consignment/second hand store! Give it a try – who doesn’t want to get a lot for a little. Open your mind, you will find that thrill in thrifting — I DO!