Saving Money ~ Buy Kids Clothing And Toys At Thrift Stores
Such cute and very gently used outfits I found at a thrift store!
There Were Times When I Was Dressing Our Boys For FREE!
We had no idea when I was expecting "a baby," that we were having twins. Back in those days, they only did one sonogram, and it was done at the 20 week point of a pregnancy. The ultrasound technician did it, looked at the screen, kept running that wand over my belly, and said "I'll be right back." I didn't worry...not right away. Then she came back with a doctor and said "one head, two heads... any history of TWINS in your family?" I about passed out, and my husband just had a stunned GRIN on his face that stayed there for a while!
I replied "no, not that I know of" and she told me "There is now!" So, with those words, we went home in stunned disbelief. My husband's parents had very generously offered to buy "a crib" for "the baby." So, we called them and asked how they might feel about buying TWO cribs? We were kidding of course, we would have bought the second one... but they were over the moon excited and beyond thrilled! And they DID buy two cribs!
And so began the adventure of "two of everything but ME!" This is a common lament of mother's of twins, heard even these days. It pretty much doubles all of your expenses from the very beginning, since when one child is born at a time, the old clothes and toys that they used can be handed down and used again by the second child and so forth.
That's not the case with twins. Everything is used by just one child (I'm mostly referring to clothing here) Toys were a different matter... everything was clubbed over brother's head... I mean SHARED by both of them! (On a good day!) On a bad day, it was tug of war and may the best li'l man win! (winking!)
But seriously, the expense is beyond what you would ever expect with one baby at a time. When our boys were very small, we simply bought two of everything, or received two of each item or outfit from fantastic friends and relatives. Cute little outfits, very similar, but in different colors (I had a tendency to put one boy in blue a lot, and the other in red).
We had to have two car seats, just to bring them home from the hospital, then two little bouncy chairs, two of pretty much everything. For a short time, we put them both in one crib, just because they were both so tiny. When they were alone in one crib, it looked as if the crib might swallow them up!
I honestly think that a lot of people get a big KICK out of shopping for clothing for twins, because we received the CUTEST outfits for them when they were babies, just precious! Almost matching most of the time, and if not matching, then very similar. I always made a point of putting the boys in every single outfit, taking pictures of them wearing them, so I could share pictures with who ever had sent the outfits. This was back in the days before Facebook! It was a lot of work to do that, but I'm so glad that I did. The people who gave the outfits as gifts really appreciated the gesture.
As the boys grew, we found we were increasingly "on our own" when it came to providing them with clothing and toys to play with. And while at Christmas time they got new things, during other times of the year, we found that we saved BUNDLES of money just by shopping at the local thrift shop for clothing and toys for them!
If one of your New Years resolutions is to save money this year and to live in a more thrifty way, seriously give thrift shops a chance! When it comes to very gently used children's clothing and even toys, you can find some amazing bargains there!
We lived on a military base at the time, so the clothing and toys were used mostly by military kids. A surprising quantity of things were so gently used, they almost looked brand new! When shopping for clothing, make sure to look it over carefully, to be sure there are no visible rips or tears, buttons missing, things of that nature. With jeans, always check to be sure the zipper works.
If there are small, barely visible rips, (as in an underarm rip or on a seam) those can be easily and invisibly repaired so the outfit will look brand new again with a minimum of effort. Baby clothes you have to be careful with, as some of the things can have formula stains on them. No matter what I would try, I usually wasn't able to get those out. But, if the clothing is tear and stain free, go for it!
Buying clothing for kids used from a thrift store is a great way to save money! In our case, I'd buy things that looked practically brand new to begin with, then once our boys used them, it was as if they were only used by one child, (because our boys both seemed to wear the same sizes even as they grew, pretty much throughout their childhood).
When buying two of everything, thrift shop bargains saved us quite a bit. Then, I was able to turn around and sell the clothing items again in the thrift shop once the boys had outgrown them! A lot of times, I was able to earn back what we had paid for the outfit, especially when it came to very dressy clothing for Christmas and other holidays, so in effect I was dressing our boys for "free."
When you buy clothing from a thrift store, if your children are rough on their clothes (play clothes) the way ours were, if they rip something or wear holes in knees, you tend to not be nearly as concerned. If you only paid $2 for a pair of jeans, instead of $15 or $20, a rip is no big deal.
Every year, I always loved dressing the boys up in special outfits for Christmas and Easter, and could always count on the thrift shop to find wonderful bargains in very gently used little three piece suits. For Easter, I was even able to find little suits that had shorts with them, making the boys look just adorable, for a fraction of what those outfits would have cost if I'd paid full retail!
Once our boys got older, I would bring them shopping at the thrift shop with me and let them pick out their own clothing, but the heck with clothes, WE WANT TO LOOK AT TOYS, MOM! (In stereo!) So, off to the toy department, where Mom could be perceived as the next best thing to Santa, for under $10! What a deal!! The boys had trouble pronouncing the word "thrift" (a tough word even for adults to say!) So, they called it the "Froo" shop! Off to the "Froo" shop it was, to buy toys!
We found the best deals there, in pretty gently used kids toys. Stuffed animals were found for huge bargains. Even the latest and greatest trendy toys that some child out there had simply grown tired of before they wore the toy out would be sent to the thrift shop when the parents decided that toy had to go! It was a huge gain for us, since we pretty much needed twice the toys as parents of a single child. The boys loved shopping there and picking out their own stuff! And even as they grew up, they knew what bargains could be found there.
Now you have to be careful shopping in some stores, such as Goodwill. Look over items carefully to be sure they work properly, and that they are not broken or missing anything. Often times, after Christmas is a good time to find kids toy bargains, because of the "haul" that kids have just gotten from Santa, parents decide it's time to be "out with the old." Funny how post Christmas brings out the organizational guru in many parents and they decide it's time to clean things out!
So, happy bargain hunting, (just carefully inspect everything before buying), and enjoy the tremendous savings to be found at thrift stores. It will make you feel good to have gotten such outstanding bargains, and your kids can have things that you never would have dreamed of buying for them at "new" prices.
For Advice On Raising Twins...
- Raising Twins - Not That Different From Raising Other Children
Challenges that are presented when raising twins. Includes telling them apart, "twin language," whether to dress them alike and encouraging their individuality.