Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Clothing Allowance vs Back to School Shopping

When I was a teenager I moved from my mom's house in Virginia Beach, VA to my dad's house in Pensacola, FL. My stepfather was in the military and scheduled to transfer again and I was tired of moving. I had already changed schools 8 times and I was about to begin high school. I wanted to stay in one school my entire four years of high school so my two younger brothers and I moved in with my dad and stepmother the summer before my 9th grade year.

My mom and dad are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to finances. My mom is not wise with money - she gets what she wants when she wants it no matter what the cost - therefore she struggles all the time. My dad is what you would call a "cheapskate" but he has a lot to show for himself.

When we went to live with my dad many years ago we all had to get used to a new way of life. He and my stepmom now had three children in their home full-time instead of just during the summer months. They were self-employed and had to do a major overhaul of their finances I am sure. All I know is we never did without. All of our needs were provided for - and we learned some valuable financial lessons along the way.
During this time of year, when back-to-school shopping sales are rampant, I am always reminded of what my dad did for me during high school. They never took me "Back-to-School" clothes shopping like a lot of families do. He gave me a monthly clothes allowance of $25.00 all year long. That was it - $300.00 - that was my clothes allowance for the year. I received extra clothes as gifts for my birthday and Christmas but other than that I had to make that $300.00 stretch the best way I knew how. It didn't take me long to find out what great bargains could be found at yard sales and the flea market! I also never found the urge to splurge on designer duds - I would have had to save for months for that!

I passed this lesson on to my own daughters and I'm still working on Dakota. The girls never got into the pricey name brand designer clothes - preferring to purchase more outfits by paying less for each piece. Even now the first rack they head for in a store is the clearance or sales rack.

Unfortunately, Dakota is a little more influenced by my mom's "buy whatever you want, whenever you want" mentality so he is more on the spoiled side...I'm the cheapskate in his eyes - but that's okay. I tell him "you'll appreciate these lessons one day, just like I appreciate them now." Thanks dad!


Rebekah said...

We grew up learning to be responsible with money too.

I dont like to buy my kids cheap clothes because they dont last- I don't buy them the best of the best name brands either- they are just over priced.

Some where in the middle I always find some good buys and sales.

Hunny Bee May said...

I have the same philosphy I think. My mom wasn't good with money, and I didn't have a dad around to teach me either. I have learned by trial and error. But I feel I'm finally to a place of having control of our finances rather than be controlled and while we aren't able to be big spenders (over-rated anyways) we have the ability to get what we need when we need it within reason. Actually the more I have learned discipline and saying no to little splurges that I thought would make me feel better, the more I have learned that I can be content and then enjoy the times I do get to go shop for something or other.
I love sale racks, but I'll buy full price on occasion if the situation calls for it. If you look around enough though there's usually a deal to be found. You just have to look.