New and seasoned moms alike find themselves in search for the answer-- just how much clothing will my little rascal need? As if there is some magical formula: 8 onsies + 5 sleepers + 10 pairs of socks = perfect baby wardrobe bliss.
I'm only recently learning that, while it's true that kids get messy, as long as you are doing laundry at least one a week (more like once a day for many of us) your family can probably get by with a lot less clothing than you had once thought.
Not only does this realization equate to less laundry overall, it also means you can cut back your family clothing budget. Here are some tips when buying clothes for your family:
-Resist the urge to buy more than you need. Realistically, this could be as little as 4 outfits, 4 pajamas and 4 pairs of socks & underwear (as long as you're doing wash at least twice a week). Don't forget that, if the kids didn't get the clothing dirty, it's perfectly fine for them to wear it again.
-Buy clothes during the end-of-season clearance sales. You can expect to buy these items for under $4 a piece for your infant or toddler and should resist the temptation to pay much more than that ever. Kohl's and Target are two stores notorious for super discounts especially after using coupons. Remember, though, only buy as much as you think you will need. If you have trouble with this, just picture the mounds of dirty laundry piled up in multiple corners of your house and this should put you in check.
-Consider purchasing gender-neutral clothing for your child. This is especially essential if you anticipate having more than one child. One year we purchased lightweight fleece jackets from Lands End in light blue and yellow. My daughter and son have both gotten use of them and, in a few years, so will my baby! That's also why I love Crocs for my kids-- sturdy, functional , easy to put on and gender-neutral!
-Look into purchasing clothes secondhand. While I encourage visits to consignment stores, I do put up a flag of caution. Before visiting, know what what new items on deep discounts or clearance racks cost. Sometimes you are better off buying new.
-Swap with a friend. I think the world would be quite a different place if we all put into practice what we preach to our children: sharing! Do we really need to buy our son a new winter jacket if he's outgrowing his at the end of winter when our neighbor has one you can borrow until her youngest actually needs it? Sharing works best for those items that get used on rare occasions (and sometimes never). Think snowsuits, boots, raincoats, Halloween costumes and all holiday-wear ("my first St. Patrick's Day").
There are so many more ways that you can save money when you have children or are expecting. We'd love to hear what works for you and your family! And, if you haven't already, check out the Expecting series in it's entirety maybe there's something you can glean from it that will help you in making ends meet.