My inaugral post is about something I've always struggled with. Just how much is enough clothing for a child in one season?
Even before I fell pregnant I had savvy family members passing on baby clothing to me. They, more experienced than I, realised the phenomenal rate at which babies grow and how quickly that can chew up any clothing allowance you have set. I went mad with Darling Girl and shopped new for cute little outfits which she outgrew at a strapping rate. My baby wasn't going to wear second hand stuff! But reality bit her well dressed behind - clothing children can be a huge ongoing cost.
I switched to more frugal alternatives. Op shops provided sporadic finds once they grew out of baby clothes. Ebay prooved intermitantly successful, but postage often turned a bargain price into something I wouldn't pay at retail. Garage sales provided a richer harvest and if I lucked onto the right venue, I might easily walk away with bags and bags of good-as-new outfits for one or two dollara a-piece.
So from hand-me-downs and frugal purchases I gradually accumulate quite a bit of clothing for each season. I store them in labelled suitcases and when seasons begin to change I sort through them looking for gaps I need to fill.
You don't even want to know how much Darling Girl has! We have a neice not too many sizes bigger so we have tonnes of stuff from there, and girls clothes just seem to crop up more often at secondhand sources. I think maybe they are not as tough on them so they come through untorn, unstained and unmarked.
This season Little Man needed T shirts to fill out the shorts, singlets and pants we had aquired. I went on a day trip last Sunday with Dad to another nearby town popular for its Sunday Markets. Here I found a great second hand clothes store where I bought 9 T shirts and 2 pairs of shorts for a total of $30. If I had shopped retail at the low end of the market, I might typically have paid $9 for shorts and $11 for shorts. So my near new looking finds at retail would have cost $103. The brands I did buy were mainly Pumpkin Patch and licensed Ts like Bob the Builder and Spiderman.
That leaves Little Man with 15 Ts for summer and 7 pairs of shorts. I will still need to source one pair of good pants to go with two hand-me-down collared shirts and he has all but grown out of his runners.
But here is the question - did I buy too many clothes simply because of the price? Would I have still bought 9 T-shirs if I had been buying retail, or would I have rationalised a four year old boys clothing needs down to a lesser number. I can justify the quantity by the low purchase price.
I wonder if I over buy to satisfy some deeper urge to "have". Do I feel richer when I open the drawers and they are bursting with clothes? Maybe.
This need to aquire must be dampened lest I create a rod for my own back. There may come a time when Darling Girl and Little Man are no longer satisfied with my frugal finds. Perhaps, accustomed to the bulging drawers they will plead for an equal quantity of new "Brand X" or whatever the raging teen trend is at the time.
My new strategy will be based on numbers rather than dollars. While I will maintain my frugal shopping, I will tame it with a budget set on quantity.