Guest post by Elise Adams from AdamsOrganizing.com
Without question the Adams Family is on the super-tight end of the financial spectrum these days. As I write on my blog every week, we’re on three different government assistance programs and my husband is very under-employed as we head into the Fall.
So while we wrestle with side-gig ideas and re-educating ourselves, we still have toddlers growing like weeds and one little girl in particular headed to Kindergarten, here are my top five tips for back-to-school clothes shopping on a squeaky budget:
1. Start Early.
I’ve been stocking up on uniforms and other hard-to-find items since last Spring. But it’s not too late to start now.
Whatever you do, don’t wait till the day before school starts. The later you wait, the more you’ll be tempted to just grab whatever you see out of desperation!
2. Make a list and a budget.
These could be two tips, but in my household they are inseparable! When I know I’m only going to have $10 each month for clothes it makes me tighten up list to a short and sweet one.
3. Don’t discount yard sales, Freecycle, and secondhand stores.
I am not buying even one new clothing item for my kids this year. The only items I am purchasing new this year are socks, tights, and underwear. Other than that, I’m finding better quality for better prices at my local Goodwill or consignment shops.
4. Accept hand-me-downs gracefully.
Because we’ve been consciously poor ever since my kids were babies, they are excited by these generous gifts from friends or strangers alike. If you aren’t practiced at being upfront and honest with your neighbors and friends about your financial picture, start today! You’ll be surprised at how many folks from every level of financial security are happy to trade, barter, or just plain give away great stuff. (It’s cool these days to recycle!)
5. Place school clothes in a separate area.
This will help you see your progress over the next few weeks. Don’t panic if you don’t have a full school-year of clothes bought/purchased by the time the school-year begins. All our children need is a few outfits to get going that first week of school and you can continue to add to this over the first few weeks/months of this next school year.
Bonus Guilt-free Tip
Lastly, whether a simple lifestyle is old hat to your family or brand new, try to remember that the purpose of clothing is to keep ourselves warm or cool–and not in the popular sense. Sometimes I wish for the simplicity of my Grandma’s day when one good pair of shoes was all one hoped for every year when school started. Let’s remember that our children are rich in experiences, energy, and enthusiasm no matter what they wear to school this year!
Elise Adams is an author, motivational speaker, and radio personality who is determined to help everyone she meets ‘survive, thrive and get on with their lives’. She blogs over at AdamsOrganizing.com where she openly and candidly attacks the tough topics of addiction, chaos, and homelessness from a personal recovery perspective. Her latest project is a Free Video Class she calls ‘How to survive ANY crisis without Losing your Sanity’. Elise, her husband and three toddlers (three other kids live with their other parents–can you say ‘blended family’?) live in the Pacific Northwest.