View Full Version : School clothes budget question

8-4-11, 5:23pm
I am thinking of creating a school clothes budget for my 6th grader (DD1) and letting her buy her clothes and shoes out of it. I would like her to have enough to do laundry only once a week, max. twice, because this will be her responsibility this year. Keeping in mind that the clothes will be mostly from the thrift store (she is on board with that)/Target-type places and the shoes will be new, does this budget sound reasonable? This comes to about $240 max. I would take her to half-price day, help her watch flyers, etc. so that she can get the best deals. Any other tips?

3-4 t-shirts > $10-12
3-4 long sleeves > $15
3-4 camis, if needs new > $15
Underwear > $10 (obviously new!)
5-7 socks, if needs new > $10-12
1-2 hoodies > $10
3-4 pants/jeans > $30
2 pr. shoes > $80

Later on in the fall:
Winter boots > $30-40
Gloves/mittens > $5
I think her coat from last year will fit & we have plenty of scarves, hats.

Plus $5-10 "blow money" for new earrings, locker bling, etc. to kick off middle school.

8-4-11, 5:25pm
Forgot to add - I would reduce the numbers of stuff if any of her existing clothes fit her still (kind of doubtful, the way she has been growing). Also, we will need to buy some gym stuff, which I think comes to $75 total or so for gym clothes plus lock.

8-4-11, 5:46pm
I always used the clothing budget as a training tool for my kids. I let them keep the money they didn't spend, as long as they got everything they needed. This taught them (without me nagging) to look for the lowest prices. One of my boys would spend the least possible and use the money on his music and the other bought better quality clothes and spent every penny. But eventually they grew up to be careful with their money. I also put a certain amount aside for another pair of shoes as their feet grew like weeds.

8-4-11, 5:54pm
Here in the UK, most schools have uniforms. That makes it SO much simpler!

8-4-11, 6:21pm
Here in the UK, most schools have uniforms. That makes it SO much simpler!

My 16-yr.-old self would hate my 40-yr.-old self for saying it, but now that I'm a mom, I think uniforms would be nice!

8-4-11, 9:49pm
I despised uniforms and the idea of them when I was younger, and now, because mom hates uniforms, my kids hate the idea of uniforms, too! Just my two cents, but uniforms don't afford a young and growing person an opportunity to expand and branch out and express themselves with something individual or unique. I honestly believe imposed dress takes away a persons freedom and expression. To me it erases the ability for a younger person to feel good about themselves, the way they look (dress wise). That's the part about uniforms that doesn't sit well with me.

I think your budget system is perfect Bastel! Great job! The return to school in the fall is a really special time in our home (for the kids), so I try and meet their needs and get for them whatever it is they are after/want. Due to most everything fluctuating in price from year to year, not to mention all the new things that come out, I try and set a silent (imaginary figure) related to what I would like to spend, and a more realistic figure as to what I'm probably going to spend. So far it's been a happy balance of sorts and because my kids don't receive a lot over the course of the year, I'm OK with spending a little extra for back to school things (clothing) knowing it makes them feel happy and good about themselves.

Of course I'm all for sales and things to help ease the expense, but I try and not tie myself to the stringent idealism that some or most everything has to be purchased through sale reductions. If we luck out and come across something or another that works, we get it, otherwise, we just shop accordingly and softly pad our way through it until everyone has been taken care of.

8-5-11, 6:09am
I think it sounds like a reasonable budget, considering her sources. DS's school is uniform free until he chooses where to go for "college" (which is Hogwarts, ok? starts at 11 and goes to 17). He can choose between the "free school" and "wellington high school" which are more liberal, no uniforms; wellington boys college, very sporty, uniforms; or the waldorf school, no uniforms, bunch of crazy anthroposophists! :D

i'm planning on keeping his wardrobe minimal no matter what -- just like mine and my husband's. he has two draws in a high boy. so does my husband. i have one. lets do this thing. LOL

granted, he's 3, and by the time he is 15, he'll probably have his own dresser.

Float On
8-5-11, 9:03am
granted, he's 3, and by the time he is 15, he'll probably have his own dresser.

Oh.My.Word. Just the space needed for a 15 year olds shoes is immense. I have a 14 and 15 year olds who wear size 13 and 14. I'm constantly tripping over shoes even though they place them right by the doors where I tell them too. Those huge shoes just take up so much space.

We just hit the buy one get one half off at shoe carnival and came home with 2 pair for each boy to get the new school year started. That alone was $200 (but we got nike and asics). Then I spent $100 on 5 new pair of jeans at the Lee outlet. They are good on shirts for a while but we're keeping eye open for some sweaters.

Washing these guys clothes is another matter entirely. They take up so much space. My washer is small and I feel like there is constantly two laundry bins full of guys clothes.

I think your budget sounds great. Clothing allowences are a great first tool in teaching kids how to handle money.

8-5-11, 9:31am
Mrs-M - I actually completely agree with you re: uniforms and self-expression. We're lucky to be in a low-income school where brands are not a big issue & DD has a cute, funky style that lends itself well to thrift shopping (thank goodness!) It's my sometime laziness and dislike of never-ending piles of laundry that get me dreaming about uniforms. I am working on a "uniform" of sorts for myself - limiting myself to 7 jeans/t-shirt combos with a few nicer outfits for special occasions to simplify my dresser and laundry routine. We have very little space for clothes in our apt.

Float on - Oh, the shoes!! And I don't feel like we even have an excessive number, but they spill out all over the house.

Thanks everyone! I talked to DH last night, and we are going to go with this plan. Plus increasing DD's allowance for handling her own lunches and laundry.

8-5-11, 11:22am
I think it sounds reasonable.

Ugh! I hear you on the shoes. Between us we have six pairs of everyday shoes, six pairs of sandals, six pairs of dress shoes and six pairs of winter boots plus Zach's workboots. That's 25 pairs of shoes and the baby doesn't even wear shoes yet.

Float On
8-5-11, 1:32pm
And I seem to be the only person in the house capable of picking up their shoes and carrying them to my closet to store them.

8-6-11, 9:46pm
I think you budget is pretty good. For comparison sake, here is my DD's clothes budget for past year:

T-shirts: 5 plain, no logo, no print, etc new from Target $4-6 each (plus 2 that I gifted to her from my stock) $30
She doesn't wear long-sleeved shirts, claims they make her hot, even when temp is < 0 F.
Hoodie jacket: TJ Maxx: $12
Insulated LL Bean coat, bought 3 years ago: $35 new
Jeans: approx. $25/pair--she is wearing same ones for 2-3 years now, say we replace 3/year $75
Snow boots: again same pair for 3 years, she only wears when 12" + of snow
Everyday shoes: these are All Star tennis shoes from Target, styled like Converse, she prefers the Target brand. About $12. She wears a pair for a year. I bought her the exact same style shoe for past three summers. She waits till school starts to get out the new pair. God love her. I spend more $$ on the boy that wears a uniform for school and grows 6"/year.
Homecoming/Prom: last year the homecoming dress was also worn to her older brother's wedding. $60 new. This year, she is not going to homecoming as the film that her film club made, that stars her and brother has made the showing of local film festival (same time at homecoming). BUT we are planning a Duct-tape prom dress. She has designed it, I will assist in construction. You can see other Duct-taped dresses here:

I don't know yet what it will cost.