Finding Nice Family Clothes While Staying True to a Budget
I have this problem of being obsessed with high-quality family clothes. At first I was pretty ashamed at that but I have decided that there is nothing wrong with preferring nicer things as long as I shop smart and stay true to my budget.
As you probably already know, currently my husband and I don’t make a lot of money. My husband has been working temporary jobs while he earns his Firefighter certificates and goes to school. However– despite our lack of huge funds– I see a huge value in high-quality family clothes. The Proverbs 31 women went through great lengths to make sure her family was clothed appropriately using fine linens and purple gowns. Except for a husband’s work clothes, there really is no reason to walk around with battered clothing when there are plenty of options to find high-quality family clothes while staying true to a budget.
I want to teach my children that dressing nicely has more to it than just the way you look. Dressing nicely gives the impression that you respect yourself enough to take care of your needs. Dressing nicely improves a person’s self-confidence. Dressing nicely also inspires confidence in yourself!
I am more likely to achieve a goal while dressed nicely. Sounds weird, right? But it’s the truth! I like to dress nicely when I have a desire to clean the house that day because when I’m dressed for the day I always find myself less lethargic and more energetic. I feel like I can conquer the world (or my home) when I am wearing makeup and dressed for the day.
However I’m sure we can all agree that nothing feels better than getting into lounge pants after a long day!
Here’s how I dress my family in high-quality clothes while on a budget.
1. Shop for Family Clothes That are out of Season.
In my opinion, shopping out of season is the best way to shop while trying to save money. In June I bought a really nice name-brand winter coat for $15 that was originally in the $180 range! From my understanding the thing with name-brand clothes is that they do not recirculate the racks. Meaning: once those name-brand items go out of season that means it is the end of it’s life. It will not return to the rack because the designers are working on something different for next year. This is where TJ Max comes in. They purchase those out of season or bulk items and sell them to us at a discount; recirculating the racks until they are all gone.
Sales are great and all but but nothing beats purchasing the $88 cute sweater I’ve been eyeing all winter for $4! I may have bought it in July but at least now I have it for fall. Right now the retail stores in my town are currently switching all their display clothes to back to school and fall styles. This means that now is the time for me to keep an eye on the clearance and final sales racks because those summer clothes will be accumulating soon.
I do this shopping technique a lot for my daughter. I guess what size she will be in about half a year or more and purchase those out of season clothes. I saw that some Herburgers toddler 3T jeans were on sale for $3 last year when my daughter was only a couple months old and purchased them. Now (in July) my daughter is just about fitting into these jeans which will be perfect for the fall and winter season.
2. Never Buy Family Clothes That Are Not on Sale (Unless it’s TJ Maxx)
This is a no brainer but for obvious reasons most stores want to sell to you! They also know that they will see better shopping traffic if they promote sales. Therefore, they often mark UP their prices so that when the sale weekends roll around it looks like you’re getting a fabulous deal when in reality you’re paying normal price. So needless to say, don’t buy something unless it’s not on sale.
Of course this does not apply to every store but it does apply to many. If I find something I like I will either wait until a sale comes up (which there are many) or I use a good coupon.
3. Give TJ Maxx a try
I love TJ Maxx! I find way too many goodies there that are at an astounding price. TJ Maxx is a great place to shop for shoes, socks, and underwear at a discount. I have been wanting to buy my husband the Polo Red Cologne by Ralph Laurn but $60+ is just way too much. Lucky for me, I found the exact bottle at TJ Maxx for $20 so that’s a present for this Christmas.
I often purchase Yankee candles there too because they are like 1/3 the price of a newer Yankee candle– but that has nothing to do with clothing!
Keep in mind that TJ Maxx isn’t perfect (nobody is). I think some of their children’s clothing is higher than I’d pay. I often find Carter’s clothing that costs more than the clothes on the actual Carters website even though it’s supposed to be a discount store!
4. Buy Family Clothes From the Source
When I am asked about how I dress my family so nicely, this is the tip that most people are surprised about. There are times when I find that the best deals are by purchasing from the clothing source.
AKA: Carters. We all see children’s clothes from Carters EVERYWHERE! There are even knock-off Cater’s clothing at Walmart and Target that sometimes add up to be more expensive than buying specifically from Carters.
Carters is very good to their customers. They always have coupons out and they always have deals. You can easily sign up to receive emails from Carters and right away you’ll start receiving coupons. If you’re smart (which I know you are) and combine these coupons with exceptional clothing deals, you’ll find yourself with a shopping cart that’s over half the retail value because of your discounts applied.
I always, always, always purchase straight from Carters. If I find Carters clothing at Kohl’s that I think would look adorable on my daughter, I head straight to Carter’s and usually get it about $5 cheaper. This isn’t always true but many times it is.
5. Shop Thrift Stores and Garage Sales for Family Clothes
This one seems obvious but I want to mention my strategy for shopping these places.
I don’t buy everything that seems like it is a good deal! Sure, that cute toddler shirt is only $2 but it also has a chocolate milk stain on the chest. Yes buying a winter coat for $6 seems like a great deal but not when half of the lining is beginning to fall out– I’m not much of a sewer.
So, what do I do? I set aside a couple hours a month completely dedicated to finding the best thrifted clothes. I don’t purchase clothes that look like they have been dragged in mud for months! When I search for garage sales I try to find ones that are moving sales or multi-family sales. The reason is because these sales are more likely there to just get rid of their stuff in a timely fashion rather than trying to make as much money as possible by selling all their junk.
I check the local ads for children’s cosignments and thrifting festivals. Where I live there are two HUGE cosignments held each year– once in the spring and once in the fall. These cosignments are great because I can trade in old clothes of my daughters for spending money on new clothes for her. Not everything is perfect but it’s easy to sift through the racks and find clothes that are from the Baby Gap and other baby clothing stores.
6. Attend a Family Clothes Swap
Many times I will see mothers advertising clothing swap events. This is where you bring your children’s clothes as payment and you’ll receive a certain number of clothes that you can take depending on what you gave. I’ve never done this because I am still holding on my daughter’s clothes in the hopes of one day having another little girl. However, I have heard that it is a fun, super cheap way to get the sizes your child needs.
Sometimes mother’s also post an ad! In these ads they mention having a huge bag of clothes with a certain size and ask to swap with someone else who has a different size.
7. Make a List and Check it Twice
Too many times I have gone shopping for my daughter and forgot what she needs! I’d buy an excessive amount of socks only to find out that I already had a stash of socks for her. So, I have learned to always make a list of exactly what my family needs for clothing.
I try to make sure that my daughter always has a week’s worth of pants, two pairs of shorts, and about 14 shirts. If a couple get ruined beyond salvaging or she grows out of some, I add it onto my lookout list.
I don’t like spending money on something that I don’t need. Therefore, I really try to utilize this list as much as possible.
How do you save while shopping for your family’s clothes?