Now that the cold weather season is around the corner, you may find yourself wondering how you’re going to afford to buy new coats, hats, jumpers and wellies to keep your kids warm and dry this winter. You may still be recovering from paying out for school uniforms, P.E. kits and books, not to mention any letters to Santa that will require a remortgage! So, surely there’s a way to keep your kids looking stylish on a budget, right? Well yes, there is, and here’s how:
1. Clothing swaps
If you have friends with children, then why not team up to see what items of clothing you have spare? Pooling your resources can save time and money; most young children won’t mind what you dress them in, and lots of clothes will be in great condition as kids grow out of things so quickly.
If you’re looking for a bigger choice, why not check to see if there’s a clothes swap group in your area? Or even set one up yourself? Organising your own clothing swap party is a great way to meet other parents and make some new friends. Invite your friends, family, work colleagues and members of your local community; the more people who attend, the better selection of clothes there will be.
There are also online sites such as Freegive that link people in your area so that unwanted items can be collected for free. There are a few rules to adhere to, such as placing items for free collection before making a request for anything. The community is a friendly and accessible place to find some great items, and feel good about recycling.
You may find that some of your kids clothing can be re-styled by adding a detail, or getting the scissors out. A pair of jeans that are too short can be made into a pair of shorts, or old t-shirts can be sewn together to make a dress. There’s plenty of tutorials online to help with inspiration, and you don’t necessarily have to be great at sewing.
Upcycling old clothing is a fantastic way of creating new clothing from old. You can even change adult shirts and jumpers into clothing suitable for kids, or convert bandanas into a summer dress, as shown in a tutorial at mommygyan.com.
3. Charity shops
Your local charity shop is a great place to pick up a bargain, whilst supporting a good cause. A lot of shops have a “bargain rail” or a £1 section, which is brilliant for buying clothes for you kids to get messy in. You may also find new items with tags still attached, if you prefer unworn clothing.
Charity shops are also a fantastic place to pick up fancy dress items for parties, and much cheaper than buying a whole outfit, or renting one from a costume hire store.
4. Make your own
The Great British Sewing Bee tv series has ignited a revival in traditional dressmaking in the UK. The concept of getting your sewing machine out and having a go at making something has inspired a new generation to create their own wardrobe. Making some simple items for your kids is a great introduction to learning about dressmaking, and there’s a huge selection of pre-designed sewing patterns available if you’re not sure where to start.
An electric sewing machine will cost you anywhere from £80 upwards, but you can pick up an old hand machine for next to nothing from a second hand shop, or auction. Finding fabrics is easy as you can either buy new, or re-use vintage or second hand fabrics to make something extra unique.
5. Online bargains
Many online retailers have outlet sections to their websites where you can purchase last season’s stock at a hefty discount. There are also other online stores which sell overstocked clothing, or factory seconds, where you can find a bargain.
There’s also a great selection of websites selling second hand children’s clothes, whether you’re looking for a warm winter coat, or the perfect party dress; you’re sure to find something stylish and sustainable.