A large cost in a big family is the cost of clothes and the more children you have, obviously, the more it costs to clothe them. Kids move through their clothes so quickly it’s hard to keep up. Sharing clothes and accepting hand-me-downs is the best way of cutting down your costs on your children’s clothing.
My brother and his wife have four sons, my four handsome nephews. My sister-in-law consistently gave me her kids’ clothing after she was done with them. Since each of her four kids were a little bit older than mine, it worked out perfectly that they in turn fit my four kids. And yes, even my daughter used some of the clothing. We never made a big deal of her wearing a dark shirt or a baseball jersey or a T-shirt with a truck on it. Other relatives may have commented on it, but she was in and out of that piece of clothing so quickly its best to let the comments of others go. Remember it saves you money in the long run and your daughter doesn’t remember that she wore a truck on her T-shirt when she was three. The point is to save money on an item that is used so quickly and then doesn’t fit the child anymore. Another friend of mine, who has four girls, also passed her clothes along to me. Some of the T-shirts that looked unisex were worn by my boys too. My daughter, of course, got the most use of these clothes. She was a very stylish little girl.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, based on their 2013 statistics, show that the average cost to raise one child is over $245,000.00 from birth to age 18. According to this source, only 6% of that is spent on clothing. These numbers are based on an average middle-class income family. An article by Lam Thuy Vo, writing for The Wall Street Journal, gives you an idea of all the costs involved in raising a child. When you’re knee deep in diapers, clothes, shoes, winter clothing, boots it can seem like much more than that. If you don’t have the benefit of a relative, friend or neighbour that is willing to hand their kids’ clothing down to you, there are so many thrift stores that will have gently used children’s clothing that are a fraction of the price of new clothing. Salvation Army, Value Village and Once Upon a Child (http://www.onceuponachild.com/) are all great stores that offer children’s clothing at discounted prices. I used Once Upon a Child several times while the kids were growing up because I could also take my used clothing back to them and receive cash for my clothing. Not only does Once Upon a Child sell clothing, including shoes and boots, but they also sell nursery items such as cribs and change tables along with strollers and toys at much less than a department store. There are many other stores that sell second hand or “gently used” children’s clothing. All you have to do is Google “second-hand children’s clothing” or “gently used children’s clothing” and you would be able to find one in your area.
Keep clothing simple and remember that your kids will outgrow them so quickly it’s not worth the name brand price for name brand clothing. On a special occasion, sure you might want to purchase something really nice, but on a day-to-day basis, accept the clothing someone passes to you.