Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

We have four children and have to watch our money closely. Three of them are girls and like to dress fashionably but it gets quite expensive. My solution to is shop at the Goodwill or Salvation Army centers near us. My sister-in-law says we should not tell the children where we buy their clothing due to the potential ridicule that could happen if the other kids at school should find out. Should we explain to our kids about our budget and where we buy their clothes or let them continue to think they're new?

We have five kids and three of them are also girls. They're all under nine, but kids can still be mean about clothes, shoes and much more as early as four or five. It's mandatory that we shop at thrift stores to save money on clothes, purses and shoes, if possible. They know we are on a budget because it spills over into groceries and other things as well. I'm not sure if they understand about it but so far, they don't care where their clothing comes from. - A. C. in Cincinnati, OH

FROM JODIE:

I'm not sure how old your daughters are, but sometimes the older girls get the more they become aware of clothing labels, accessories and style. They also seem not to want to wear the same top, pants, jeans, shorts, etc. as often as they used to when they were younger. So, depending on their age, they may or may not understand the idea of a budget or care where the clothes are bought. If they're older, you can share as much as you would like about things. Also, there are tons of resale shops that have awesome collections of all kinds of popular brands, if they care about it. The nice thing about these is that you can return to the shop after you're done with the items and get credit at the store for additional purchases or cash right on the spot. There are some that put the clothes on a consignment basis and once they reach a certain dollar amount in sales, they'll offer credit or cash. All you have to do is ask what their policy is ahead of time so you know what to expect. For example, Plato's is a very popular place for tweens and teens to shop and they're in almost every city nationwide. If you're not afraid of the internet, you can buy and sell things off of eBay. Just so you know, it's become quite popular for people to shop at thrift stores for vintage clothing and this would include those that you mentioned above. As parents, we have a tendency to forget that as long as we do not make a big issue out of things, usually the kids won't. If your daughters are happy with what's taking place now, then just keep up the good work.

CAN YOU HELP?

My wife's brother is always smacking our two daughters on the rear end. He thinks it's funny. I don't. My wife says he's just joking around and being a funny uncle. I disagree. I don't want to start trouble in our family or scare our girls, but shouldn't I bring this up to him now before they become teenagers?

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