Shopping 101.

4:24 PM

   I really wish someone would have taken me aside earlier on in my life and taught me how to shop.  Now I know most of you (especially if you are male) are scoffing at the idea that one would need to be taught how to shop, but I do believe that some of it is an acquired skill set that no one seems to deem worthy enough to devote time to teaching.  And I think it should be.  Because we all know that shopping can be done poorly, and it can be done well.

   Being raised Mennonite, I was taught to be frugal and thrifty, and spending money on "new" clothes (as in, not clearance or second-hand) was a RARE and special occasion.  I would enter a store and walk straight for the clearance racks hardly even stopping to bother to look at the newer displays toward the front of the store, as I knew I wouldn't be shopping there anyway.  I frequented garage sales and Goodwill, always hoping to find that J. Crew men's shirt or a pair of Nikes or that Banana Republic sweater that would make all the hunting worth my time.

   Fast forward a few years and a few kids, and shopping like that just isn't hardly feasible for me anymore.  For a while, I was in denial.  I would wait until Grandma day or when someone could babysit, and then I would make my rounds hitting all the thrift stores, scouring the racks in my hours of child-free time and considering it a success if I left with a few items.  But now?  Those hours of child-free time are worth infinitely more, and I would have to be coming home with a couch from West Elm to justify spending all my babysitting hours on thrifting.

    I also happened upon this novel concept (way too late in life, if you ask me) of how to go about clothes shopping for my children.  I could spend all of my time searching clearance racks and the stinky aisles of Goodwill for clothes that would last them a short time and never be quite what I really wanted but at least they were cheap....OR.....I could spend a little more money for NEW clothes, that would last for both of my girls, look nicer, be the right size and style, AND maybe be in nice enough shape to re-sell after they were done with them.  Brilliant.  And the difference didn't have to be hundreds of dollars.  In fact, it could almost be done just as cheap, if you did it right.

   Empowered with this new theology, I set off to test it out on Old Navy.  I needed to get some new fall clothes for my girls so badly, but I just didn't know when that was going to happen.  Child-free shopping is getting harder and harder to come by these days, and I was in no way desperate enough to brave it with all 3.  I think they'd pretty much have to be wearing nothing but bath towels to make me that desperate.

   Enter online shopping.  *harp music plays*  Why haven't I utilized this more??!  My mom never really did any online shopping and so I just never even really considered it as a part of my regular shopping until recently.  WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE.  I found pretty much exactly what I was needing for Jocelyn, and I never even had to leave my house.  A cardigan in a pop of color, a pair of black jeans, shoes that will go with anything and of course, the perfect fall weather dress.  And all for $36.02!!!  Here's how:

   Old Navy was having a 30% off everything (and I had just missed the 35% from the day before. Bah.)  and added to that was 20% off for signing up for the email subscription, and my total before discounts was over $50, so that awarded me free shipping.  So when it was all said and done, I paid $36.02 which comes to about $9 per item, and if you shop at Goodwill you would pay probably at least $3-5 per item, and in my humble opinion, the extra money is so worth it because both of my girls will wear all of those things, and they will wear nicer and longer this way being new.

   Oh and neither of my girls are going to school yet, but "Back to School Basics" just sounded cooler than Stay at Home Basics.  So there you have it.

What are some of your tips on shopping for kids?  I'd love to hear!

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