I know I'm not the only mom who has to forcefully drag herself away when Target releases their new clothing line as the seasons change. I also know I'm not the only mom that will hurry home to intercept Etsy packages and cut tags off before my husband comes home...because who wants to hear about that? Am I right?
Although I'm not one to play the "keeping up with the Jones'" game in life, I absolutely like to keep up with all of the adorable fashion trends for my kids, which has totally turned me in to a small shop fiend and notorious shopaholic! Who doesn't love supporting their fellow mamas...team work makes the dream work, ladies.
As a mom of four, my back-to-school and seasonal clothing updates can get pretty pricey, real quick. Especially with my lack of ability to learn and execute the elusive concept known as a "budget" (I keep hearing about this from my Dad, pretty sure it's from the same land as the snipe he and my uncle had us hunting as children). This last pregnancy and maternity leave I've learned a few tips and tricks to keep my four hell raisers trendy without breaking the bank. Here's how I did it!
If you aren't familiar with it already, it's totally worth a download in the app store. Kidizen can actually save you money in two ways. First, you can find name brand and small shop items for your little one in awesome condition, at a much lower cost. Listen, in theory buying brand new everything for your kids all the time is great, but in real life...they don't need it, and you probably don't have the money for it. This isn't like the pair of jeans you bought ten years ago that still work, they're going to be growing out of this, probably before the next holiday hits (babies don't keep). Their loss, your gain! You will get barely worn, trendy clothes or wardrobe staples for much less than you would pay in the store, and you can choose the condition you're willing to buy. I typically only look at items that are new (NWT - new with tags, NWOT - new without tags) or excellent used condition (EUC). Using this I also found that some items and brands that may not typically be in our budget, suddenly have become options (which I can later turn around and re-sell). I have snagged so many awesome finds for my youngest two on here!
Second, you can sell all of the stuff your kids have outgrown (or not even worn) on here, and make some decent money doing it. Even if you don't want to purchase items from others on here, you can still sell your items and transfer the money to your PayPal or checking account, and use it on that shopping cart full of goodies you have sitting, waiting for your card info. This is precisely how I funded our youngest son's entire wardrobe. Not even kidding. We knew we were done having kids after him, since our other youngest was a girl, we didn't need all of the stuff we had saved from her, so, why not at least see what we could get for it? I didn't list everything, just the trendy stuff that we got lots of compliments on, and it became an addiction to me. Over the span of my pregnancy, I made upwards of $1,000 from her items, and was then able to roll that money over and fund all the new baby purchases we needed to make for him. Makes the whole welcoming a fourth child a lot less financially stressful, right?
Ok, I know you're thinking "Whoa, getting a little ahead of yourself, aren't ya?" No, not really, I follow A LOT of small shops on Instagram, as seasons change, a lot of them put up ads for "brand reps" to get their new line out there to the masses through word of mouth, and that little life in squares you're already showing off to the world.
Obviously, I've been jonesing to spend all the money I'm not making on this adorable fall attire that I see all over IG, buuuuut I couldn't...we needed to scale back for a few months of unpaid maternity leave. So, I finally bit the bullet, and started to apply. I asked my muse of a younger sister, Jo (who is an amazing photographer in Arkansas - check her out, Jo Johnson Photography) if she could give me a quick crash course on how to use that pricey camera we bought before Kinny was born. I know we're not the only parents who invested in a nice camera before the baby came, have you used it? LEARN! Take all those adorable pics of your kids that you were going to anyway, and then APPLY for the shops you LIKE. It's super easy. It usually just consists of a simple repost and tagging them in your best photos so they can see your style. We literally JUST got into this over the span of my maternity leave, and already rep for three different shops that we absolutely adore.
If a shop chooses you, you'll typically get a discount code as a "team member" and then another discount code to give out on your social media feeds. Some even send you free items that they need modeled in some lifestyle-like photos. Now, you're getting all these adorable items you swoon over, but for less than what you would normally..so, with my logic, that means you can actually buy even more! Plus, you meet some other really cool mom's and shop owners, with really neat background stories. Mom's helping mom's...I like it!!
Okay, I can talk the talk, but maybe not walk the walk on this one. I am a serial over-buyer. Maybe writing about this will help me practice it, but lets not hold our breath. Capsule wardrobes don't just have to be for mama, it can work for your little ones too! Sometimes less is more, especially if you're in to minimalism (bless your heart, I wish I could learn). We all know some items never go out of style, it's the same for kids. You can build them a small, cost effective wardrobe of items that are always "in" (think jeans, boots, leggings, solid colored tops, a jacket). Setting them up with this, you're able to limit the amount of "trendy" items you purchase to just a few. Some to give a pop of color, or a simple accessory to style it for the season, without feeling like you won't be able to use any of it once we move on to the next.
With my daughters, I am really in to hair accessories (see our favorite shops here), we have all the bows, tie headbands, and turbans you could ever imagine. For my sons, I'm into hats! They have beanies for all the seasons, slouchy knit beanies (year round for the win!), baseball caps, anything you can think of. Making their wardrobe more "classic," you'll only need a few fun items to spice up their style and keep up with new trends, without having to go overboard to get the look you want.
I will probably forever be the crazy mom who buys her kids too many clothes, to later find they only wore them handful of times before we outgrew them...but at least I'm finally learning how to lessen the financial blow! You are welcome, Danny Boy.