3 Tips on Saving Money: Princess on a Budget

Do you struggle to teach your kids the value of money?  Do your kids want All The Things All The Time?  Do they have a hard time paying for that $70 Hatchimal on their $3 weekly allowance?   Do you hit resale shops and garage sales to ease the cost of outfitting children who change sizes ever four minutes?  I'm lucky to have two daughters who can share hand me downs from their cousin and other friends, and they stair step even those clothes.  I still buy some shiny things from Target or similar, but I do work to teach my kids the value of money and to my family clothing costs low.  

Here are three simple tips to help teach your kids the value of money:

1)I cut costs with holiday dresses: I never buy the sparkly chiffon tulle extravaganzas.  I buy lovely dresses they can wear in regular rotation. They get something new for the holiday and I stretch the budget.  I have bought fancier dresses second hand, being mindful that they could be worn again.  We sometimes get fancy dresses handed down or as gifts and they love that.

2) I only keep about two weeks worth of clothes for each girl.  You know, a Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe! I figure the clothes we hold on to "just in case" could be someone else's mainstay.  I know for me, holding on to excess needed to stop for many reasons.  One perk of limiting the sheer quantity of clothing my little ones own is LESS LAUNDRY!  It becomes much more motivating to get the laundry cycle finished when the drawers are empty or they have to be painfully creative when putting their outfits together.  (Sports t-shirt with tulle skirt, anyone?)This also helps teach your kids the value of money because they have to take better care of their clothes so they last longer.

3) My BEST stroke of genius in clothing has been sheer Bribery.  We were at Kohl's for winter coats and snow pants when I made Libby an offer she couldn't refuse: If she agreed to take Portia's coat from last year, I would buy her a toy under $20 right then and there.  Sure she didn't get the shiny new coat and snow pants($50!), but we both won and she got something after all. It helped me teach both kids the value of money through choices.

This month the school has a Fairytale Character Ball for the 2nd grade and families are invited to attend in costume! SQUEEEE!  After much tossing through our old outgrown and torn costumes from the past seven years, Portia wanted to be Belle and Libby wanted to be Briar Rose.  Both wanted sparkly new dresses.  As we looked at stores and I searched online, my pursestrings loosened and I actually went to the Disney Store.  I spent $60 on the Belle Dress and at Penney's I spend $36 on the Sleeping Beauty Dress.  It hurt, but I'm just practicing for prom right?  I was anxious about spending so much money on play dresses, but the look on their faces trying them on...well I want girls to feel like that always.

But then.

Then I tried the bribe.  I told them I would pay them each $20 to let me return the dresses and wear a costume we already had.  We assessed the repairs needed, length, sparkle, and both girls took me up on the offer.  I get about $60 back and my daughters have a chunk of money they rarely see all at once.  We all learned the value of making do with what we have.  

This lesson is more tangible because they HAD the dresses.  They put them on.  The dresses hung in their rooms overnight.  They tasted the glory of a new dress and decided they would rather spend the money elsewhere!  I consider this a huge win for all of us, one that we can harken back to in the future.  Living simply is a journey and this was a wonderful moment for all of us.  Even a Princess can budget!

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