Tag Archives: saving money

Clothing Swap

anagold12_100_1648When my children were small and we regularly attended a playgroup, we developed a clothing swap with other families in the group. Once every couple of months, the moms would go through their children’s clothing and sort out those pieces that the children didn’t wear anymore or that no longer fit. We’d bring our bags of clothes to playgroup and sort them out by size. Then, we’d take turns looking through them and picking out what our individual families needed. Any extra clothes that weren’t taken were donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

Although it was a lot of work collecting the clothing and sorting through them, the result was that we had plenty of clothes for the next season without having to purchase any of them. We were also able to help someone we knew just by giving away the clothes we no longer needed.

As the children have grown older, our playgroup has changed into more of a field trip group, so we don’t do the clothing swap anymore. However, a church in our area has taken on the same idea, offering a clothing closet to anyone in need. They receive donations of clothing, opening the swap once a week for anyone in the community to come in and take what they can use. It’s like our playgroup clothing swap, but on a much bigger scale.

It’s a big job for those at the church who work at it — they sort the clothes by size, then hang them up or fold them and put them away on the shelves. More clothes are constantly coming in, so the work never ends — there are boxes and boxes of clothes to sort through.

But what a service it is! We donate our clothes to this swap, and we’ve found many nice things there as well. Our family of six has probably spent less than $100 on clothes this year.

If there’s not a clothing swap in your area, you might consider starting one, even if it’s just among other homeschooling families you know. It’s a great way to bless others — and a great way to be blessed!

Guitars, Cameras, iPods, and Laptops

w_045aMy oldest son John will be thirteen this summer, and he’s already been telling me for months about the things he “needs.” His sister dropped his digital camera; he needs a new one. The guitar that he plays in church has nylon strings instead of steel ones; it’s too quiet, so he needs a new one. Some of his friends have purchased an iPod touch; he needs one too. Another friend has a used laptop his dad fixed up for him; John enjoys creating images on Photoshop, and a laptop would come in handy. 

I miss the days when a one dollar Hot Wheels car was enough to make him smile. Of course, as he grows older, the “toys” he’ll want will cost more. I just didn’t expect him to want these items so soon. 

I’m still trying to figure out what to do about it. I understand the peer pressure – when his friends have these items and talk about them, he wants to have them too. But I also know these are big ticket items, and though I can find a deal on a guitar or camera for his birthday, we won’t be giving him both. And the iPod and laptop are just going to have to wait. 

He can work and save the money he earns to buy the items, but finding a steady income when you’re twelve can be difficult. Many of his friends receive allowances, something John also earns when we have extra money, but lately we’ve had to cut back on that as finances become tight. 

So what’s a boy to do? Well, he can save up any birthday money he receives. He could do yard work for his grandma or help her wash her car. He can sell some of the toys he’s outgrown at the flea market, a yard sale, or on eBay. 

What else can he do? He can learn to wait. He can understand the value of his time, his energy, and his money. He can find the satisfaction in delayed gratification – in working diligently and, over time, reaching his goal. While these are hard lessons when it seems he’s the only one learning them, they’ll last a lot longer than the latest innovation in technology.