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Are Hand Me Downs Out of Fashion?

Guest Article
by Elizabeth Palmer

Back in the good old days, hand-me-downs were just part of life, saving time and money for families year after year. And though some consider this out of fashion, many parents have found ways to make it work and are saving a fortune on their children's clothing.

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Although my two oldest sons are only 13 months apart, the oldest is almost a foot taller. I guess I should be thankful for that. At least Tyler, the younger and smaller of the two, has an opportunity to benefit from his older brother’s clothes.

The Bargain Hunter

I started shopping for bargains when they were still babies. I had little choice. If I wanted to remain at home with my sons, I had to make a dollar stretch.

There was a Salvation Army store not far from us, though I’m the first one to admit that some second hand stores are disgusting. There’s a smell as soon as you walk through the door. But this SA outlet was relatively new. They had so much stock that they color blocked the clothes like a department store. Items were inexpensive, but not all of it was up to my standards. You have to really check things out carefully before buying them.

Pass Them On

If you can pass clothes along from one child to the next, you are ahead of the game. I’m not suggesting your son wear his sister's pink sweatshirt. But kids clothing can go a long way if you plan properly.

Buying quality brand names will last longer. You can find this quality at the second hand stores.

Consignment Shops

I don’t shop much at the SA store anymore, but I have found a small consignment shop that I really like. She has regular clients and I am one of them. She only sells clothes that are in good condition and keeps half of the revenue as profit for her business. That suits me fine, because I’m not making any money keeping them in the closet.

Give Them Away

If you have clothes that the consignment shop won’t sell, why not give it to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Someone will surely benefit from your generosity, just as I once did.

What Will Your Kids Say?

I can just hear some of you saying, "My kids won’t wear used clothes!" Do they need to know that it is used? Do you have to tell them where it came from? Just wash it and put it in their drawer. They may not even ask. But if they do, just say "I thought you would like it, so I got it for you."

Start When The Kids Are Young

My sons are familiar with thrift stores and consignment shops. I will occasionally give them $20 each and say, "Have fun shopping." They really enjoy the feeling of independence.

Now that you are armed with some valuable money saving techniques, you might want to start saving for that family vacation.

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