Are you a frugal mom or dad? Even if you answered no, I can show how to be frugal with at least one thing. Kids go through clothing just as fast as they go through water. But by being smart, as well as creative, you can make kids clothing last longer. I regularly practice what I preach on this because clothes are expensive. Who wants to buy new ones before the existing ones have been used more than a couple times? From laundering habits to crafts, there are several methods my kids and I use to get full use of their clothes.
Use fabric and accessories to extend the life of clothes they grow out of. Kids grow so fast, sometimes so much so that it seems they barely get any wearing time from their clothes. What I like to do with my kids is have a fun craft session where we add fabric and other accessories to clothing to increase the size. For instance, if jeans still fit the waist but are a little short in the legs, add some length with fabric, lace, and other embellishments. If the waist has gotten a bit too small, open up each side seam and add some fun fabric to let the waist out a little. Add matching fabric in other areas (such as the knees) that might be worn out.
Use gentle laundry products. Frequent cleaning with products that are too harsh on clothing can reduce its lifespan. Try using gentler, non-abrasive cleansers that are free of chemicals, perfumes, and dyes. This can help increase the number of wears your child gets out of the clothing. It's also better for the environment and the health of your child. Look for products made from natural ingredients. But also check to make sure those ingredients are not too harsh on your child's clothing or to the skin.
Wash on gentle cycle or by hand. Kids are already rough on their clothes as it is. Ease up on the wear and tear by hand washing their clothing or washing it on gentle cycle. Washing clothing by hand can be much gentler than other methods if done right. Try not to scrub too hard as this will certainly not help the clothes last longer. Lukewarm water is best when it comes to being gentle with clothing. Extreme temperatures can cause colors to fade. Also, if you are washing by hand, lukewarm will be gentler on your skin.
Line dry the clothing. Rather than exposing clothing to the intense heat in a dryer, try line-drying the clothing instead. If you must use the dryer, use a low heat or air dry setting. Over time, exposure to high heat can cause fading in your child's clothing. Line drying can help make the clothing last longer. But be careful of how you do that as well. If you leave the clothing in high temperatures outside or right in the direct sunlight too long, fading also may occur.
Cut it up to make new clothing. Another thing the kids and I like to do, especially my oldest daughter, is to cut things up for making new outfits. Skirt too short? Chop a piece off of another in the same condition and sew the two together for a funky look. Have a dress that's grown too short? Chop it up to make a shirt from the top half. A bottom seam will be easy to sew. Use the leftovers to add to a skirt or chop it up to make patches, headbands, and more. The kids and I always have fun doing this. It helps us extend the life of their clothing and also gives us a great family activity. Be careful when deciding who can use scissors and other sewing materials that may pose a danger.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Angie Mohr, author of "Piggy Banks to Paychecks" is doing a blog tour this month and we're happy to host a guest post from her that all parents can benefit from. Her book is all about teaching kids to be financially savvy. We're number 3 on her guest post tour. Enjoy!
A Name for Every Dollar
Piggy Banks to Paychecks, Angie Mohr (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012)
Life Successfully has graciously asked me to guest post today as part of my March Piggy Banks to Paychecks blog tour. Thanks, Lyn!
A Name for Every Dollar
A frequent complaint I’ve heard from clients is that they simply don’t know where their money goes. They may start off the week with two twenty dollar bills in their wallet and, by the end of the week, it has transformed into a two quarters, a few nickels, and a rumpled dollar bill. When you don’t have a plan for your cash, it has a habit of draining away without you being fully aware of it.
One of the most basic money traits your children will see is how you treat cash. If your child wants a treat in the store, do you rummage around in your purse to see if you have enough spare change? Is how much money you have on hand the deciding factor for you as to whether you will make a purchase or not? If the answer is yes, it means that you don’t name each dollar, i.e., you don’t have a specific purpose for all of your income.
The most important financial skill your child will learn from you is planning. Before money comes in the house, you should already know where it’s going, either to budgeted spending, savings, or debt repayment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t buy treats for the kids in the grocery store. It just means that those treats should already be part of the budget.
Your children watch you more frequently than you are aware of. Regardless of what you tell them about money, they will put more stock into how they see you handle it in real life. Make sure you’re not giving them the message “Do as I say, not as I do”. If you want them to be financially responsible, you must be their main role model.
© Angie Mohr 2012
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
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