My Journey out of Debt

Featured customers currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Relief Plan, share journey to become debt-free; hear how they juggle family, finances, and more.

Change of Season, Change of Clothes

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Spring has sprung. In the Midwest, that means some wild variation in the weather from week to week, and sometimes even day to day.  It's a time where the grass and trees turn green, and the familiar sounds of children playing outside after dinner return.  It also means that daily wardrobe choices are gradually moving, from jeans and sweatshirts, to shorts and t-shirts.  As spring and summer clothing were dug out from the corners of the kids' closets, my wife and I quickly realized that our children have dared to outgrow their summer clothes from last year. 

Embarking on a full-fledged, wardrobe-replacing shopping whirlwind just isn't in the budget; so how do we get the kids ready for the warmer seasons? 

  • Clean out the Closet.  You have to know exactly what you have to work with.  Go through closets and dressers, removing everything that doesn't fit your child anymore.  Put the outgrown clothes into a bin or a box.   
  • Analyze Need.   While you were cleaning out the closet, did you pull out any items and notice the tag was still on and it had never been worn?  Did you pull out any items and think, "My child didn't wear this very often!" That's an indication that the amount of clothes you buy for your child exceeds the need. Commit to not doing that this season!  Now that you have removed the outgrown clothes, look at what is left.  How many shirts are there?  How many pairs of shorts and pants are there?  How many of each does your child need?  Decide exactly how many clothes items of each type the child needs, and determine what needs to be purchased.   
  • Second hand stores.  Do you have a children's second hand store in your town that buys used clothes?  If so, that bin of outgrown clothes could be like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  Bring in the clothes and see what they'll buy from you.  This is an easy way to generate some funds to help restock your child's wardrobe.  While you're there, take a look around and see if there's anything that your child would like.  Older kids and teenagers will most likely frown at getting used clothes, but younger kids typically don't care.  My daughter's favorite pair of pajamas right now are a pink set with monkeys on them that we bought for $2 at a second hand store. You don't have to buy everything here, but it's a great way to inexpensively fill out your child's closet. 
  • Buy a little at a time.  If you buy everything at once, you might exceed, or come close to exceeding, your budget.  Once you have decided what needs to be bought, decide the rate at which you will purchase the items.  For example, buy one outfit each week.  That way, it takes a smaller hit on your weekly budget.   
  • Start early.  If you buy a little at a time, you want to start early.  Stores commonly start putting out spring clothes long before they're actually needed.  If you start early, that gives you more time to spread out the financial need to buy items.  This also works well since, in early spring, warm-weather clothes are needed sporadically.  By the time summer hits, you'll have completed the process, and your child's closet will be fully stocked! 
  • Don't buy everything at one store.  If you buy everything at one store, you'll probably end up with a wardrobe of very similar looking clothes.  Plus, eventually you'll be somewhere else and think "Wow, this is cute...why didn't I come here?"  You'll buy it anyway, and end up with more clothes, and less money than you had planned for. 

By following the steps above, you can get your kids' closets cleaned out, organized, and restocked for the coming summer season.  The great thing is that you can also apply many of these techniques to updating your own wardrobe, as well!

 Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis very candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also follow along with Travis on his personal blog, Our Journey to Zero. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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