Our going local journey of buying more local clothing started very slowly after Nixon was born. We had been following a few local kids clothing companies on Instagram and we had bought a few things shortly after he was born, but we also had a ton of clothing from the big corporate brands in his closet like Old Navy, Carter’s, Osh Kosh, etc. And we had a ton. You know how it is, you have a baby and all of a sudden you have kids clothes coming out of every drawer and your closet is full after one week because all of your family and friends decided to buy your kid clothes. That’s what happened to us. After the first several months of Nixon’s life we had so much clothing for him that he hadn’t even worn all of it!
We slowly decided we would start to accumulate more local kids clothing and hopefully get to the point where that’s all we owned for him. So, we slowly started to buy stuff; we knew it had to go slowly because going local is expensive, naturally. The local businesses are hiring local people to work for them and we live in a country with minimum wages, labour laws, and a high cost of living so right off the bat the local companies have a higher cost. Not only that, but they are buying higher quality materials which comes at a higher cost as well. And then on top of all that they have to make a profit. So while the local clothing is much more expensive we justify it in a few ways that we will share in the next post. This post is about how we got to where we are.
Once we got our first few pieces of local clothing for Nixon, we soon realized how good the quality was and that it wasn’t going to wear out anytime soon. This was encouraging to us because it meant if we had another boy, which we did, he would be able to wear a lot of it as well. Local clothing soon became the only thing we asked for at birthdays and Christmas because we don’t need more stuff. Our kids have enough toys and they don’t need anymore, but they will need clothes that fit as they grow. One thing we stress to family and friends and anyone else who buys our kids gifts is that we don’t expect you to buy the local stuff that we are okay buying. It’s expensive and for some people it is hard to justify and we would never put that on someone else to spend the way we spend. We just ask that they don’t buy clothes at all but rather buy experiences for our boys. For example, Sam’s sister bought the boys a day at Science World during the PIXAR Experience. We thought that the boys would be too young for it but they had a blast. That’s what we mean by buying experiences over stuff. We don’t want to sound ungrateful for the things our boys have been given, but we find that both the kids & us can easily get overwhelmed by stuff resulting in less playtime and more time spent cleaning up.
Our Going Local Journey And Staying Organized
Most of the time we know exactly what the kids have and don’t have, but as we get more and more and the kids get bigger it becomes harder to keep track of everything. In order to keep track of everything, we have a spreadsheet we use to monitor exactly what the boys have so it’s easy to know exactly what the boys need. Here is a page of our spreadsheet so you know what we’re talking about:
As you can see, this is a pretty organized spreadsheet that has all the information we need to know about when going shopping for new stuff or asking for other stuff from family and friends.
These are our totals which we have calculated by putting in custom spreadsheet formulas so that as you update the formula with what you have, the totals will also update itself automatically.
As the photo shows, we always do our best to never pay full price and from the above photos you can see that we’ve never once paid full price for an item.
Sign Up To Get Our Kids Clothing Spreadsheet For Free
If you leave us your email address above, we will send you our entire spreadsheet blank so you can fill it in on your own and keep track of your kids’ clothes as well. The hardest part is making sure that you keep it updated, otherwise you can easily find yourself buying things you already have. Staying organized is also super important so that when there is a big sale or you’re going shopping, you know what you have. If you’re like us and only shop a few times per year, it can be even more important to make sure you get exactly what you need.
Our Going Local Journey And Saving Money
A few things you should know about us, we’re frugal, we love a good deal, and we’re not even close to rich. That is not a good combination for a family of soon to be 5, that wants to shop local where things are more expensive and often the sales don’t even bring the cost down that much. That being said, there are a few times per year when we shop and we shop hard.
Warehouse sales are our best friend. They happen anywhere from 1-4 times per year and are almost always at the end of a season. Companies need to move product at the end of a season to make space for the next season’s product. This means we get the previous 1 or 2 season’s product at a minimum of 30% discount but usually 50% or more. This is the time we when spend. A lot. Since we purposely don’t shop much during the year a lot our hauls at warehouse sales are usually in the hundreds of dollars. Planning is involved before you go to these sales though and that is where the spreadsheet above is so handy. A quick look at the spreadsheet before we go tells us exactly what we need. We then put a quick note in our phone (or on paper if you’re old school like that) and now we go to the sale knowing exactly what we need. We don’t worry too much about what season it is because a lot of stuff, like sweaters and t-shirts, can we worn year round. Keep in mind this also means that our kids are not usually in the newest colours or even newest styles these companies have released because we are waiting until the end of season to by items our kids need, it’s a sacrifice we’re willing & need to make.
As a general rule of thumb, we don’t buy something unless we’re getting it at at least a 30% discount. There are times when we make an exception but that is rare. Our favourite times shop, and when there is usually a sale worth spending at, are:
- Summer warehouse sale
- Winter warehouse sale
- Boxing Week
- Black Friday
If you look at those sales, most of them are in the last half of the year which is why being organized is so important because for the first half of the year, if you want to get winter clothing for your kids, you have one shot to do so, at the winter warehouse sale.
The other way we buy at a discount is by buying second hand. Almost every local brand we know of has a B/S/T Facebook page or group. What does B/S/T mean? It stands for “Buy/Sell/Trade” and it is where customers can, well, buy, sell, or trade that brand’s items to someone else. It usually works by posting the item you have with a few pictures and the price you want. Then the first person to comment on the post that they want it, gets it assuming the transaction goes as planned. Often times people will comment after the first comment something like “next if not picked up” so that if the original commenter doesn’t end up buying it, that second commenter is next in line if something happens. These groups are highly competitive because everyone wants to get product at a discount and often times these discounts are over 50% but we’ve gotten stuff at 90% discount before. The downside, obviously, is that it had been worn before, but for us that is minor because kids rarely wear through their clothes. If you want to know if your favourite brand has a group like that just hop on Facebook and search “YOUR FAVOURITE BRAND B/S/T”.
Lastly, if you have friends with kids, one thing you can do is share clothing. For example, another couple we’re close with has a son moving into size 6-12 Months. When our new baby comes in January, he will be in 0-6 Months size. Since we won’t be using our 6-12 Months sized clothing anytime soon and they won’t be using their 0-6 Months sized clothing, we just swapped and they can use our 6-12 Month clothing and we use their 0-6 Month clothing when we need it. This is the best way to cut costs because it costs you nothing. It only costs you the risk of someone else potentially ruining your clothing so use caution in deciding who you share with, but if you find someone with the same mentality as you then this is the cheapest way to cut your costs and avoid having to buy new clothing.
Our Going Local Journey Details
So, how much have we actually spent and what do our kids actually have? We are going to share exactly what we’ve spent and compare that to what we would have spent if we bought at full retail price.
Here it is:
Total Retail Price: $3,487
Total Price We Paid: $1,967.50
Total Savings: $1,519.50
Percentage Savings: 45%
As you can see, we have made a significant amount of savings by applying the methods mentioned above, buying used and only buying items on sale/at warehouse sales. Everything we got was in very good or brand new condition to ensure that quality would not be an issue. So we’ve spent almost $2,000 on our kids’ clothes, what did we actually get them?
8 Long Sleeve Shirts
9 Tank Tops
4 Pairs of Shorts
23 Pairs of Pants
2 Long Sleeve Rompers
3 Short Sleeve Rompers
1 Short Romper
2 Pairs of Pajamas
3 Pairs of Underwear
Those are all across the following sizes
- 0-6 Months
- 6-12 Months
- 12-18 Months
- 18-24 Months
The biggest size Nixon is wearing is 2T but when something comes along that is used, in good condition and significantly discounted, we buy it for the future.
Keep in mind this is just our local clothing and it is a slow journey. As a result of that our boys still have some non-local clothing as we continue to transition their wardrobes. We are always looking for new companies to help fill in the gaps of items that we cannot find locally and as we do so, we will phase out the other items. And as always, we will look for the best savings possible!