I am cheap. Frugal. Thrifty. Pennywise. Call it whatever you want, I don't mind. Of all the Parenting Without a Parachute ladies, I am undeniably the pennypinchingest. For nearly three years I have been raising three young'ns on my own, and being foolish with money is not an option.
I obsessively turn off lights. My pantry is coated in the blue and white Great Value brand. We go without shiny new toys and costly adventures because I refuse to live outside of my means. But when it comes to my children, there is no way I will let them look poor - because although I am cheap, I am a proud mother.
Even if I outfitted my three children exclusively in Wal-Mart clothing, I would spend a fortune. So I buy them better clothes, cheaper. My 4-year old daughter's Neapolitan ice cream sweater from Gymboree was $4. My son's winter coat was $3. How? Resales.
I missed the sale of all sales last weekend. If you missed it too, you absolutely must plan to go to the spring sale! Held by the Tri-City Mothers of Twins and Triplets Club each March and September, this is hands down the largest and best organized resale of children's items in the western suburbs. The club is for parents of multiples, but their bi-annual sale is for everyone!
For an awesome kids clothing resale shop, check out Good Cents in downtown Geneva. They offer new and gently used top brands in their charming store. They sell on consignment, so consider taking your kids' gently used clothes with you to earn a few bucks!
Nearly every city in the Fox Valley area has a Goodwill store. If you have never been to one, GO! You don't know what you're missing! Goodwill has amazing deals. I have picked up NEW clothes with tags for less than $5. If I buy something and later realize that it doesn't fit right, I just donate it right back.
There's nothing that a little Tide and hot water won't wash away. But if you truly can't handle the idea of buying clothing that belonged to a complete stranger, consider hosting a clothing swap with other parents. Gather everything your kids have outgrown or grown tired of, have your girlfriends do the same, and trade away in your living room!