Single Mom Money - Part 3 / "Ain't No Shame"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

When you're running your home on 1 income, with two little ones that grow like weeds, you're bound to need to dish out some dough to keep clothes on their back and toys in their hands. And if I'm being 100% honest here (safe space, okay), I can't always afford the newest, greatest things *and* keep the lights on. And, if I want to get us to the location/school district that I want us to be in - I have to make some sacrifices to pay off my debt and get us there. Let me be clear, though: my children do not want for anything. I'm not touting that we're underprivileged or go without basic necessities. They have good food on their table, they have brand named clothing, they have tons of toys, and even sometimes wear Honest brand diapers. (so don't feel sorry for my kids :))

What I'm referring to in "ain't no shame" and providing on 1 budget is this - I don't buy everything brand new. One of the best things I've come across are virtual Facebook garage sales. It saves the time and effort of in-person haggling - and allows you to get steals on stuff you need! I try to mix my kids clothing with brand new and gently used. When I can throw $20-$50 towards brand new outfits from Carter's or if Target is having a really good sale on Circo, I'll stock up. But I also keep my eye peeled for clothes and especially shoes for a good deal, online! I've purchased 1 pair of shoes for the girls brand new. It was a gray and purple pair of gym shoes that they're currently wearing and I got it for $4.98 (with an extra 25% clearance shoes) from Target, so it's Champion brand. It was an awesome bargain and brand new, just not a fancy brand like Nike or Stride Rite.

Recently, I've been on the prowl for gently used shoes. The girls' feet are growing at a rapid pace - Harper's feet went from a 4 to 4.5 overnight, I'm pretty sure. So I've been able to get a few pair of (basically) new Nikes for anywhere from $5 - $10 each. I picked up a pair of size 5 Saucony gym shoes for $5 for when their feet get a tad bigger. And have snagged two pairs of Stride Rite mary janes for $8 each. Sure, another child has gotten some use out of them - but who cares? As long as they aren't totally ragged and cover my kids' feet - I personally don't care. I can't dish out $30+ for kids shoes every few months.

I've scored adorable clothes, and even a Pottery Barn table and chair set (for $15!!) that I refinished and will share soon! From cribs, to clothes, to bottles to toys - you can find some great stuff if you're okay with it having a previous owner!

Another thing I ventured into was resale shops (the real kind), where you can buy gently used items but where you can also sign up to be a consignor and sell your own goods! Recently, I signed up to be a consignor through a mom group called Posh Tots. They resell gently used name-brand clothes, baby items, toys, baby gear, maternity wear, etc. I signed up all of the clothes I could scrounge up that met their requirements, plus all of my old maternity wear and our leftover baby gear. You determine the price of your items and make 70% off of items that are sold. If you sign up for a 3 hour shift as a volunteer (which I did!) you get an extra 10% added to your take-home proceeds! It was a great way to make some money on things the girls had outgrown - and also a great place to score some really cute stuff at big discounted prices!! I picked up a few things at the end of my shift like some $2 Carter's brand fleece pjs that the girls would need this winter!

So - although I'd love for my girls to sport the cutest, newest brand name items ... I just can't afford to splurge all of the time. And, that's ok. After awhile, new clothes get dirty, or stained or whatever else a toddler can throw at them. New shoes get scuff marks and sand all of them. Being able to provide new stuff when I can is a gift, and is something that I love to do. But there's no shame in looking for bargains and deals when you simply can't afford to buy an entire wardrobe every few months or so.

What are some ways that you save money shopping for your kids? Have you ever felt bad for saving on items or buying off-brands?

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