I have five children to clothe and feed....life can be expensive for our family. I am always on the look out for ways to save our family money. I am becoming thrifty. I wasn't always a thrifty person. I recall a time in my life when there was no way I would put used clothing on any of my precious babies. I didn't have time to wait for a library book to become available. I would just buy it. I ate out with abandon. I searched Carmax for the perfect car that had fancy features and I would plan out when I would be buying it. A lot has changed!
I am now a huge fan of buying my kids used clothing! Why spend the money for new stuff that they will simply ruin or outgrow? I scour Ebay like a fiend in search of the perfect things to round out my childrens' wardrobes. I rummage around at consignment sales looking for gems and I dig through clearance racks in hopes of a great deal. Yes, I have four girls so you would think that I would just buy new and plan to pass it down. In some cases that does work, however, most times it doesn't. I am not quite sure what Annie does to her clothing but it is always on it's last legs by the time she finishes with it. I wash her clothing carefully and make sure she isn't playing in mud with nice clothes on, but her stuff always looks like it's ready to head to the trash long before it will be used by the next in line. I also have to deal with the fact that Annie is a tom boy and Megan (next in line) is a total girly girl. So, Annie prefers jeans and yoga pants while Megan begs for dresses. See my problem? I also have to deal with the fact that Lily and Megan can wear the same size in some things. So, I need twice the amount of clothing for the two of them to share. Claire, you ask? Well, I long ago got rid of my baby girl clothing so we are starting from scratch with her. We are also starting with nothing when it comes to Noah's wardrobe as well. So, you see, I often find myself in need of clothing for five children and that can break the bank if you buy it all new.
I have been fortunate to have good friends who have passed on items their children have outgrown. Thank goodness! That has saved me bundles! I try to return the favor and pass along items that my children have outgrown, however, most times they are not fit to pass on since so many have worn the items. I do try though.
There are some items that I do invest money in. I like to buy one new and good pair of shoes for each kid each season. I find that used shoes will often be too worn out to be very comfy or supportive when we are talking about shoes my kids wear often. I will buy used dress shoes though because they don't get much wear. I also tend to buy good winter coats if I can find them on sale and I refuse to buy used underwear for any of my kids. :)
I have become a huge fan of the library in recent years. Buying books is just not a smart money choice for me anymore. The kids and myself devour books like starving wild animals so it's not worth paying money for a book that we will be done with in a couple of days. Plus, we always have a large variety at our fingertips, which I love. Trips to the library are a family favorite! In fact, Claire has been to the library more times than I can count but has yet to venture to the mall.
I am also more aware when it comes to money we spend on food. It is a rare treat for our family to eat out. We may dine in a restuarant once every two or three months. It's not just the cost but the hassle of dealing with all of our children in a public place. I do fine with it, however, it drives Carlos to the brink of insanity. So, we tend to eat at home as often as possible. If we are going to be out and about at meal time then I usually pack a cooler with food and drinks and drag it along. It's not as fun as eating out but it sure does keep the pocketbook fuller.
So, I have become a more thrifty person over the years. It's not so much by choice but by necessity. I find that I enjoy it though. It's kind of a challenge to see how far I can stretch the budget each month. I know that I have a long way to go though. I am toying with the idea of revamping the food budget and making some of my own cleaning supplies in the future. I will let you know how that works out.