My kids are now 12, 10, and 8 years old. Every once in while I will make the excursion to the indoor or outdoor shopping mall where I see parents do things that I simply cannot understand if the goal is to achieve financial independence.
It seems like every mall or suburb strip outlet you go into today has virtually all the same stores. What would a mall be without a GAP or an Abercrombie & Fitch? What amazes me the most is how we as parents can get caught up in making sure that our children have the very best in brand names without thinking about the price or whether it is affordable in our monthly budget.
If your kid needs a pair of jeans, is there really a difference between the non-brand jeans at $20 vs. the designer jeans that cost $120. Some parents will argue yes, but I haven’t heard a case yet that makes me think there is really a $100 difference. More importantly I haven’t been to a bowling party or a Gymboree party when my kids were younger where I heard one kid say to another, “Wow, where did you get that really cool Ralph Lauren shirt?”
As a 40 year old Gen X’er, I was caught up for a few years with my kids and the brand names until I decided to get smart and make some good financial choices. One thing you can consider that has worked well for me is to find another family to essentially “trade” clothes. If you have boys or girls at different ages with a friend that has similar taste, this can be a great way to get value out of some of those pricey clothes you bought already. Another thing you can do is look for discounts through outlets that carry brand names. Recently, I got a great deal on two pairs of Nike sneakers by getting a low price on the first with a 50% discount on the second. Will anyone really know they weren’t from the “Nike” store?
Last, is to realize that brand names at the end of the day aren’t go to pay for what really counts, which is your children’s college education. If you spent $1,000 less per year on brand name clothes and put it toward a college account (read about creating a college saving plan here), what will really count at the end of the day?
By making good money choices about clothes, you will have more money in the bank for the future. As a side note, I can’t remember seeing a kids list by Mr. Blackwell any time in recent history.
oXYGen Financial, Inc. co-CEO Ted Jenkin is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.
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