Thrifty Kids: Outfitting 2 Kids for Fall/Winter for $160

Did you know the average American family will spend over $600 on back-to-school shopping?  That includes clothing, shoes, supplies, and electronics.  The National Retail Federation estimates about $220 of that spending is made up of clothing purchases and just over $100 is shoes.  But what was really interesting to me was this chart:

Chart: BTS update 2011

BTS update 2011
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Really?!  Less than 12% of parents and college-age shoppers plan to hit up the thrift stores for back-to-school?  This is sort of baffling to me.  I love thrift stores.  I've documented some of my favorite finds on this blog before.  Frequent thrifting has meant we can wear quality clothing items at a fraction of their original price tags.  So while I happily admit these statistics mean well, more for me, I am sort of wondering why the thrift store snub?  It's certainly not the place to get electronics or pencils, but for clothes, thrift stores are hard to beat.

With the exception of a few items that have been given to us, or that I've purchased new for the kiddos during good sales or with significant discounts--bigger onesies, snowsuits, pajamas, shoes, stockings, etc.--almost all the Fall/Winter clothing in my kids' wardrobes this year has been purchased at one of 4 area Goodwill locations in the last 2 weeks.  With this coupon in hand each time I went, take a look at what I found for $160.

This is the haul for my son.  6 sweaters, 7 button-down shirts (1 not pictured), 2 waffle knit henleys, 3 one-piece outfits, 1 sweatsuit, 1 pair of overalls, 7 pairs of pants, and a Fall jacket (not pictured).  In an assortment of 18 & 24 month sizes to hopefully get us through the next 6 months when combined with the items already in his closet.  Also pictured are 2 polos for next Spring, one from Gap with its $19.50 price tag still on it (I couldn't pass it up).

For my daughter: 9 long sleeve shirts, 5 sweaters (4 long, 1 short sleeved), 1 pair of rib-knit Old Navy stockings that were still new, 1 adorable Gap Kids scarf...

...2 dresses, 2 pairs of pants, 1 pair of leggings and a skort...

...and 1 faux-fur lined Gap hoodie, 1 Old Navy cable knit sweater, 1 dressy black and white dress & black turtleneck, and velour hoodie & skort set from Gap.

Hopefully you get the idea despite the lousy pictures.  Fashion photographer, I am not. :)   Besides Gap and Old Navy, Children's Place, Organically Grown Kids, Levi's, and Carter's are represented here, as well as a fair amount of store brands like Cherokee and Okie-Dokie.  Can you imagine what I would have paid for the equivalent of this much clothing new?  As it is I averaged about $3 per item, obviously paying more for some and less for others.

$160 is still a lot of money, but even when you add in our homeschool books, clearance purchases throughout the year, and those extra items I mentioned that I purchased new, we're still saving several hundred dollars compared to the average family, and my calculations include clothing and outerwear enough to get us through our ridiculous winter.   Our costs will increase as we have more kids, but I think I could have spent even less this year if I had gone to more garage sales this summer, or if I had been more ruthless in my determination of what we needed.  My daughter probably didn't need all 9 long sleeve shirts, for instance.  But at a few bucks a piece, it's nice to have a number around in case of holes and stains.

My point is, in a effort to steward the resources our gracious God has given us, a little thrifting goes a long way for us.  How about you?  Are you surprised at any of the NRF statistics? What ways have you found to make your dollars stretch, especially for your kids?

Linking up with:

Thrifty Thursday #126 @ Bloggeritaville


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