Do your kids know every fashion rend for each new school year? What about that hot item they must have for every new holiday season? What fad can’t your teens live without?
Regardless of whether you have a school-age child or young adult heading off to college, designers and trendsetters bring new fashions and styles every season to adorn your kids head-to-toe.
This may not be a concern for some families, but for many parents and students the thought of new clothes, shoes and accessories can become overwhelming as costs skyrocket. Especially when a trendy polo shirt costs upwards of $50. Buying brand-name clothing and paying retail prices can drain your fashion budget quickly.
Talk to Your Kids
Before you start shopping — especially for older children — have a realistic conversation about shopping on a budget. Set a dollar limit and let your kids help prioritize what they want to focus on within the available budget. You may find that they are willing to forego some designer clothes to get that must-have pair of shoes.
Look for Deals
The best way to deliver what your kids want at a price you can afford is to shop end-of-season sales, outlet stores and online clearance sites. Children can usually wear end-of-season, marked-down styles for several more weeks before temperatures change. Also, retailers are marking down earlier each season.
Young, active children can wear out clothing in a hurry. If you find yourself in this situation, shop your local discount retailer for inexpensive — yet durable — clothing that will wash well and withstand lots of playground and sports activity. You can also find look-alike, trendy styles at discount stores for a fraction of the name-brand price. Off-price department stores offer designer clothing — much of which is still in season — for up to 70 percent off.
When it comes to seasonal clothing, the trick to saving money is shopping at the end of the season, when stores and online retailers are trying to clear their overhead for new items. You can find a beautiful coat for a bargain price in April or a great, inexpensive swimsuit in October. Remember to buy a larger size to accommodate your growing child.
Turn kids who insist upon brand-name apparel loose at the neighborhood charity thrift store. Not only can you find designer items — sometimes there is new clothing with original tags in place. Now is also the time to discuss with your children the charity store and what it mean to support community agencies with donations and sales. Maybe your kids will be inspired to purge their closet of the clothes they no longer wear, and donate them to charity.
Don’t forget the local consignment stores and resale shops. Both offer an opportunity for kids to recycle their clothing and earn cash or credit, which they can use to buy something new.
Other ideas for refreshing your children’s wardrobes include having a clothing swap with friends and family. Get together and trade clothes your children have outgrown for items your friends’ kids can no longer wear. Note that you can also shop mom-to-mom and garage sales.
Remember to include your children in the shopping process. Even those as young as elementary-school age will enjoy a sense of empowerment with having a voice in the selection of clothing and accessories. You’ll also be teaching your children to develop decision-making skills and better understand the value of money. And you get to enjoy good bonding time with your kids, especially if you are able to shop one-on-one!
Peggy Ann Ursuy, PhD, MA, RN, PNP-PC, is a mom to six children, ages 7 to 27. She believes in advancing the nursing profession and ensuring nursing excellence, and uses her 26 years of experience as a RN to teach nursing at a top university.