Would it surprise you to know that the average family spends a staggering £13,000 on clothing for their children and that the cost of raising a child now stands at around £9,000 a year!
With sums like these, no wonder parents countrywide are beginning to be inventive with money saving ideas. The ‘Make do and Mend’ ethos seems to have been reinvented, after a lengthy absence, primarily because we now find ourselves in the grips of a recession.
There is some disparity in the way our minds work when it comes to our children and what they wear, but it’s great to see that more and more parents are making a concerted effort to discover alternative, cheaper, more environmentally friendly ways to keep their little ones fashionable.
Borrowing clothes from friends and relatives is the most obvious solution, especially when a new baby arrives, as they are guaranteed to only be worn a few times. Washed and bagged up after use, they are then ready and waiting for the next little one’s arrival, whether it be your own, a friends or a relative’s baby. All my children were lucky enough to be able to sleep under the same beautiful cotton sheets that my own Mother made for me when I was a baby and both girls wore, amongst other things, a lovely pinafore style bib, of mine, that felt fabulously retro. It certainly felts very special re-using something that has played a part in your own upbringing. Being creative and making things for your children could also leave possible air looms, to be handed down through future generations
Supplementing new with old clothing is always a good compromise as it has to be said that only those of us with an extremely strong willpower would be able to resist all the lovely children’s items available in the shops. Shopping online for second hand children’s clothes is becoming increasingly popular and several websites are now offering retro style clothing for children, many of which have been re-cycled from unwanted adult clothing. These websites are also a great source of clothes for our label conscious children in the eight to ten year old bracket, as they are the ones greatly influenced by peer pressure and are also the most capable of exerting a strong influence on their parents in the decision making process.
We need to instil this ’Make do and mend’ ethos into our children as it’s a valuable tool to go through life with. Being frugal and creative with the family budget is both sensible and liberating for all, and perfectly feasible considering the options available.
Visit www.swop2shop.co.uk and go to ‘Visit Kids’ to browse affordable, second hand children’s clothes, sized from baby to young teens.