With summer fast approaching, a holiday abroad coming up and the weather across the UK finally reaching temperatures hot enough to remove layers, I needed new summer clothes for the children. The problem is, with a wedding to pay for, and us currently living on one income, money has been more than a little tight. With three kids to buy for, I knew I needed to be smart with my shopping. Here are my top tips for anyone else struggling, or those who just like making their pennies go further…
Before even going shopping, I decided to have a good look through the children’s wardrobes to see what they already had that still fit, and what they were desperately missing and needed more of. From this it was evident that Cameron had a fair few things that still fit him, whereas Carly was severely lacking as she’s grown so much since last summer. Although I do try to be fair to them, in this situation it was important to divide the budget accordingly so I could get the things I needed for Carly. Meanwhile Benjamin is growing so fast now that he needs staple items such as vests, shorts, and socks.
Make a List (and Stick to It)
Once I knew what the kids were missing I wrote a comprehensive list (I do love a list) for each child. I was realistic about the budget I had to stick to, and I prioritised the items I knew they needed the most as opposed to the things I would have loved to buy if we had more money. I wrote the note on my phone which meant it was easy to refer to whilst out and about shopping.
Before heading out to the shops, it’s always a good idea to look online for offers that might be available to make that all important budget stretch further. Money saving websites are great places to look, as are voucher sites such as Vouchercodes. I’m often signed up to newsletters for shops as well and sometimes codes are emailed over on there so it’s worth a quick mailbox search as well in case there’s anything you might have missed. Some offers might not seem that good but if you are planning on spending a large amount of money in one shop, £10 off a £50 spend can make all the difference.
Destination is Key, Timing is Everything
Have a think about which shops you want to visit. Next might be your favourite shop but it’s definitely not the most budget friendly. You don’t have to discount it entirely, but perhaps just head there for one key item. For example, I love the quality of their hoodies, and I think it’s worth the extra cost as they tend to last a lot longer than others. The shops I tend to have gotten the children clothes from most are Matalan, Sainsbury’s and Asda, and I’m not ashamed about it, they have some brilliant budget items that look lovely and wash well, so why not?
Try and ensure you have plenty of time for the trip so that you can really shop around and get everything in one go. A good time is when the kids are either at school or nursery or able to stay with their other parent or another relative or friend so you can concentrate.
This one doesn’t always apply, as there’s no point getting clothes that totally swamp your child and won’t suit them at all right now, but if your child is in between sizes it’s always worth sizing up. It means that next summer some of the clothes might still fit, and you won’t have to fork out all over again. As a general rule it’s easier to size up for tops and jumpers rather than trousers and skirts, and with sandals and shoes the rule doesn’t really work as wearing footwear that is too big can be hugely uncomfortable and even cause damage to children’s feet.