Monday, January 20, 2014

Clothing costs for the year

There seems to be a general misconception that in order to have a large family they must either be wealthy or on welfare.  People think that children are expensive, but they don't have to be.  Last year I tracked our clothing costs for our family of 7 children (the 8th showed up in October).  I didn't include my husband and I, though I will make some notes about our clothing as well.

I don't spend much time at garage sales, thrift stores, retail store sales, e-bay or sewing (though I used to).  I just don't have time for that.  Over the years I've noticed that God really provides for us when a need comes up, and I've been trying to be patient and wait on him, and use the resources available at the time of the need.  The biggest sources of our clothing these days are the swap with our church, a children's resale store (I have trade credits there), and goodwill (oh, and my mom.  She loves to shop for kids' clothes).  The purpose of this post is to encourage those who are desiring a large family, but don't think they can afford it (or already have one and are needing encouragement).  You may not have the same resources available but with some thought and creativity, you too can do it (through God)!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.   Proverbs 3:5-6

You may find some of these posts helpful in understanding how we do clothes and what our expectations/standards are.
Managing Laundry and clothing
Links to some great posts on large family finances, contentment and worldliness

January- $13 at goodwill for two skirts for my oldest daughter.  These were not NEEDED at the time, but modest skirts (with pockets) can be hard to find (used or new) so I picked them up since we didn't have any right now.  She was thrilled!

February- $11 at goodwill for two pairs of shorts for my 10 year old and a pair of cammo pants for him as well; and a pair of shortalls for my little guy.

*This month I also acquired several needed things at the swap; these included PJ's for my little guy, a nightgown for one of my little girls and some shirts for my big guys.  I also used some trade credit at a local children's resale shop for a set of PJ's for my little guy and a maternity dress for myself.  I spent $0 on all of this!

March-  I was down with morning sickness all month and didn't go out much, but I think I may have purchased a pair of shorts at the resale shop for $5; this month is all a fog.

April- This was a big spending month.  Along with a $7 pair of shorts I purchased....

Two pairs of "Sunday" shoes for the little girls. $30

6 pairs of Nike shoes (my brother works for Nike, the employee discount is generously extended to his parents and siblings!) Most of the kids needed shoes at the same time.  Yikes!  $153 (though not bad at all for 6 pairs of high quality brand new shoes).

*We've tried going for bargain brands of shoes, but they wear out before the kids grow out of them.  What kind of bargain is that?  We were impressed with how well the Nike shoes lasted for all three of our boys who are quite hard on their shoes (my girls all grew out of them before they could be worn out too, but that was not such a surprise).  We will see if this round holds up as well.  Updated to add: all of the shoes are still going strong as of January 1st!

May- This month showed a great influx in clothing, however I didn't purchase any of it.  My mom has always been very generous when it comes to clothes for the kids.  She likes kids clothes and enjoys treating the kids to special outfits.  She also happens to live near a Hannah Andersson outlet; $5 dresses or t-shirts there are hard to pass up!  Thanks mom for blessing our family!  God provides for families in many different ways, this is one way he provides for us.  We are very thankful for this blessing, but never expect it of her.

June- $33 on shoes for my 12 yo and a baby outfit (baby outfit was $3)

July- $62 on 5 pairs of shorts for my boys.  I could should have done better by shopping thrift stores in the area, but honestly, I was tired and didn't want to drag the kids in and out of stores that may or may not have what was needed.  Two pairs of the shorts were on sale.

$3.25 on 10 items of baby girl clothing all in GREAT condition and name brand (some were actually needed, some I just got because the sweet 5yo was having such a good time helping me pick out clothes for her new baby sister.  At 25 cents each how could I say "no" to a couple of extras?)  $1 for jeans for my 5yo.

My mom once again sent a box of clothes.  A full set of "Sunday" clothes (dresses for the girls, polo shirts for the boys) all co-ordinating, all Hanna Andersson.  What a fun surprise and blessing!

August-  We went to Goodwill to get jeans for my oldest daughter that were needed for camp (marked $9.99).  While there we found some jeans that were perfect for daughter #2 (marked $4.99, but 50% off).  We also found a sweet dress for the baby (marked $2.99).  It was military Monday which means an extra 20% off!  So our total was about $12!

I also picked up a button down flannel shirt and two piece outfit and headband for baby at a resale shop that I had credits at (free!).

September- No spending this month.

We pulled out our fall clothes this month and found that while we had quite a bit, much was still needed.  Fortunately I had credits at a local resale store and was able to get most of what we needed at no cost.  My mom did pick up some shirts and pants for my boys.

I purchased socks and tights for several kids; I forgot to make note when I made the purchases.  I think it was about $30

I purchased a polo shirt, polo dress (to have embroidered with our family crest) and "iron knee jeans" from Lands End I had a coupon and free shipping so this all cost about $50.

November-  Having just had a baby I wasn't really feeling like getting out and about to search for the last few things we were needing.  I went ahead and started ordering what we needed as I found them online and on sale.

I purchased "Sunday" shirt and pants for one of my older boys through old navy (and one of my girls purchased a Christmas gift for a brother).  They were offering 30% off of all purchases and free shipping for orders over $50.  Our total came to $64, but $14 is not technically part of my cost since it is coming out of a child's Christmas shopping $$$ so....$50

We went a little crazy at the end of the month.  My teen was in need of jeans and a couple of long sleeve shirts.  She saw the black Friday Old Navy add; the whole store was 50% off!  Could we go on Thanksgiving evening?  I took her, my 5 year old, and the baby.  We had a great time and got some good deals, but spent $128.

December- Nothing, everyone had all they needed.  I did purchase a few things for myself though.


  1. Impressive!

    I got tired of everyone finding the good thrift deals before I did, so I have sewn everything we needed (with the exception of one pair of tights) since last August. Obviously, though, I will eventually have to round up some jeans and sweaters as those are projects I'm not up for tackling at the moment!

    I love your family closet idea and wish I had a good place to put one in our home. I've often joked of giving the girls our room (and closet).

    Hope all is well with you. :)

    1. I think it is quite impressive that you've been sewing all of the clothes! That takes quite a bit of time and effort, good for you! Trying to find the good thrift deals can be a pain. I've had the best luck at a local re-sale shop (little traders) where I have trade credits. I'm not sure what I'll do when we move, but God will provide.