Shopping for Clothing on a Dime

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How I Shop for Clothing On a Very Tight Budget

I try not to pay full price. I can’t say never but I really spend a lot of time looking for the best possible deals.

Working with an Extremely Limited Budget

I have an extremely limited budget to buy the things I need. I set aside 10% of my paycheck every month for clothing, shoes, toys, household items etc and that amount is all I am able to spend. You may be thinking that I have quite a large budget but then again you have no clue how small my paycheck is:) With 2 kids who are constantly needing new things and stuff that keeps breaking (why?!?) its a constant challenge to get the things we need with the money we have.

Take shoes. I always heard and read about mother complaining about “keeping kids in shoes” but I had NO IDEA how many shoes my kids would ACTUALLY go through! Shoes get ruined and kids outgrow them faster than you can blink. And that’s not including any boots or slippers or dress shoes!

I wish I had Hand-me-downs

I also don’t have any friends or relatives with kids who are a year older than mine so hand-me-downs are few and far between!

Sometimes I feel like all I do is shop. But I don’t actually spend any money- I just keep on looking and looking for things that I need at a price point I can afford.

“Stocking-up” on Clothes and Shoes

Since I do have an “envelope” for these items, I always have “some” money to spend on sales and stocking-up. For example, I was recently at Target and they had boy’s sneakers for ridiculously cheap. Since I already have the cash set aside I was able to buy each kid a pair in the next size up. This saves me money and the stress of not being able to find anything affordable when they will need new shoes.

But I don’t just stock-up or buy things for the next season- I have a system that I follow.

My System

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Remember the WHY

The problem of buying things you need is that you can’t buy things that you want.

It seems that I want a lot of things.

That is the dilemma that I am facing as my stove saga drags on. Basically, my stove broke and we thought that we would be able to fix it. However, after a visit from a stove guy and a guy from the gas company, we are facing the realization that it may not be worth it to fix the 10-year old stove and instead we may have to replace it.

Yes, we have a “Life Happens” Fund.

We are lucky enough to have the money to pay for a new stove without having to put it on the credit card but that means that the money will have to come out of another fund- money that is earmarked for something else. It doesn’t really matter what the money is earmarked for; we have money put aside for clothes, maternity leave, baby stuff or our 3-6-month emergency fund. Once we are past the amount set aside for “Life Happens” then tough choices have to be made.

Making the Deep Cuts.

The problem with living on such a tight budget is that there is not much in the budget to cut out. I have been very open before about our low-income and tight budget. Honestly, I am more frugal than I even usually let on here. You know that we have only taken a vacation once in the past 7 years but did you know our entertainment budget is approximately $4 a month? I buy myself books from the 25 cent rack of the local bookstore and my kids occasionally are allowed to puck something out from the dollar store. We also get a drink from the gas station every few months- that is the extent of our “Eating Out” budget. As I once joked on Instagram, my whole life is a no-spend diet. I am saying this not to get pity or sympathy but to explain why “cutting something out” is not really an option and when I have to cut something- it’s a deep cut that hurts. Really hurts.

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We’re going on Vacation! (On a budget, of course!)

Tales from the not-so frugal trenches.

Our Vacation on a Budget

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We still have a few more weeks until school starts after Labor Day, so it’s time to plan our vacation.
I say this as if this is a yearly occurrence which it is most definitely not. This is actually the first time since my oldest was born that we are in the financial position to actually GO SOMEWHERE on vacation. We have visited family throughout the years for holidays and family celebrations like weddings but I don’t count that as vacation!

Even though I am tempted to go all out for this vacation, alas, financially we are a bit constrained. So a budget vacation it is!


The most important thing for me at this point is going somewhere where my kids can run around, go swimming, and just chill outdoors. Living in an apartment building in a urban area there is not much chance for us to do that and we are all feeling a bit cooped up.
The two biggest expenses for us are the lodging and the rental car. We don’t have a car so in order to easily (or at all) get to a destination is to rent one which usually ends up being quite pricey. We have a local place where we rent from that usually ends up being the cheapest and we put the rental car on a credit car that gives CDW coverage so we save on insurance.

Everything else we do as cheap as possible. We go on cheap or free hikes, swim in the pool, and bring our small portable grill to BBQ. No fancy trips or eating out for us! I find that if the place we stay is nice and pretty, we don’t need to spend money on entertainment or food. We do try to factor in a small amount for ice cream or other small treats along the way.

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