7. Save Clothes until the First Day of School – This is what my parents did for me, and there was such a sense of excitement building up. My sister-in-law talked about that also. She used to be a bit jealous of friends that could wear them before, but now she just remembers the building excitement and is so glad that’s how her parents did it. It also keeps them nice and new for a longer duration of the school year.
Sending off a kid to school…a new experience for us. It’s an exciting time around here, and I thought I would give my advice for back to school shopping now that we have experienced it. Abby is so ready to go off to kindergarten. As a child, I remember loving the back to school clothes shopping experience. However, my parents taught me some valuable lessons in the experience that I want to pass along to my kids too.
1. Make a Budget…and stick to it. My parents always gave me a certain amount I could spend. I could buy 2 expensive items at Nordstrom with it, or I could budget and buy more items. It was up to me, but the budget was the budget. What that number is will be different for every family. However, I would encourage you to try and keep the number more conservative. The less you spend, the more generous you can be with others, and you’re teaching your kids a valuable lesson. You may be in a spot where you can afford a lot. Great! Still make a budget. It doesn’t benefit your kids at all to give them everything they ever wanted. Having excess will never make their lives better. Teaching them to navigate a budget is an important life skill. Everything my daughter tried on she said, “I love it.” We could have bought it all. We didn’t. I had her make some choices. Learning to say “no” to your child and teaching them to be conservative in spending will help them later on in life. Trust me.
2. Choose the Stores Wisely – Have a budget or want to keep your kids in a certain style or overall look? Then choose your stores wisely. You don’t need to spend a pretty penny to get your kids looking cute. I scouted out Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Max, Target, Ross, Goodwill, and Marshall’s before I took Abby with us. In my opinion, Target had the better prices and the cuter options. I also wanted to check out H & M with her. We started at H & M and went no place else. The prices were better than I expected ($5-$10 for a basic shirt or leggings and up to $17 for the non-basics). I loved the style as well. She, as I said, fell in love with everything. However, because I personally didn’t love what I found in the other places, we just didn’t hit those places. It kept the battles at bay. We hit our budget at the first store, so there was no need to go look at the others on our itinerary.
3. Take Someone with You Who Your Child Looks Up To – We took Abby’s aunt and grandma. They were fun to have around, and it makes the trip all that more special. They have great fashion sense, so you know they’re going to help choose things that are cute. They are a second voice helping direct kids as they navigate shopping. They are surrounded by people who love them, care for them and are willing to take time to invest in them.
4. Do Not Go into Debt to Buy New Clothes – I would encourage you to try not to go into debt to buy anything. Back in the olden days, if you ran out of money you couldn’t buy more stuff. Having a credit card around has changed that and gotten our country and their families in a lot of trouble. Teach your children a new way. I paid with a credit card because that’s how we do things, paying it off completely at the end of each month. If we can’t afford it, we don’t buy it. However, I wish I had gone and taken out cash so there was more of a sense of budget and actually seeing the money disappear.
5. Buy Basics that Can Mix and Match to Make a Number of Items – Every outfit doesn’t need to be an entire outfit with every element. You’ll cut down on your cost a lot if you can find things to mix in and out with everything. An inexpensive headband or scarf can give the outfit a whole look for a lot less. We bought a few basic tees as well as leggings that could be paired with other special items.
6. Have a Fashion Show for Daddy – Get your husband in on the process by having a fashion show once you get home. Encourage him to let your daughter, especially, know how beautiful he thinks she is – with or without those new clothes. If she has that kind of encouragement from her dad, she is less likely to cave at the first boy who tells her she is beautiful. We reserved our fashion show for after Kenzie went to bed so she didn’t feel bad about all the new things Abby is experiencing as she goes to school for the first time. Dad had a special time with her while we were away too.