The tween age. The age when your child’s character starts to show and develop–their personality starts to show in many things, including their clothing style. During that age, their body changes quickly and so does their style.
As fun, as it is watching your child go through different phases with different styles, it’s not so fun spending that much money on clothes. Especially during that age, because you want your child to grow into someone who is financially responsible, and starting to teach them the important life skill of budgeting is important for their self-development, which typically starts at this age.
You can either hand them the clothing budget over and watch them take over and learn how to budget, or you can let them know that there’s a specific budget, and together, both of you can use some styling (and budgeting) skills to dress stylishly while sticking to a budget.
Here are some tips on how to dress your tween on a budget.
- Test things first
If you have decided to hand over the budget to your tween, it is good not to take it too far in the beginning, especially if this is their first time handling a budget. Instead of getting all excited over the idea of teaching them this life skill and giving them the year’s clothing budget, start with something small like a budget for a summer outfit.
After, you can expand bit by bit like giving them a budget for a whole summer vacation. After a while, and after making some mistakes (which they will do), you can have them work their way up to handling a year’s clothing budget.
- Have some basic rules put in place
When you hand over a budget to a tween, there are no expectations. Maybe they have seen a specific outfit on the internet that isn’t something you would accept them to wear or spend money on, and they went and bought it on a shopping spree.
Setting some ground rules on what they can and cannot buy doesn’t take away from their freedom or style, but it ensures that they don’t waste money on something they won’t wear. It doesn’t have to be about a specific type of clothing that you won’t allow them to wear, it could be teaching them not to buy materials that create an odor when worn during hot times or buying winter coats in materials that will keep them warm.
- Make a list of needs and wants
A tween probably doesn’t know what they need and what they want. For them, everything they want is a need–including that sequin tutu skirt. So, before they head solo, make sure to make a list of wants and needs so that they buy the needs first, and then if there’s money left in the budget (and that’s something that will encourage them to make smarter choices), they can buy the wants.
- Find the best places and times to shop
Typically, two major sales are held annually; winter and summer sales in all stores. There are also many sales going on throughout the entire year like Black Friday and Cyber Monday and many different things. If there isn’t something they need or a piece they want that is overpriced, they can keep track of when there are deals, and then go shop.
There are also places to shop from that are cheaper than regular retail stores like online discount outlets, yard sales, thrift shops, and consignment shops, and you can even shop off-season; which means that you shop for winter clothes during summer time and for summer clothes during winter time.
- Think outside of the box
Let your kids do some problem-solving. They can learn to raise more money on their own if they want things out of the budget by maybe helping the neighbors by walking the dogs, pulling weeds, picking up mail, or even selling their old clothes online so that they can buy new ones. Give them the chance to solve their problems, and learn that if they want something extra, they need to work for it or to give up something they have.
Not only this, but they can start to think of different ways to style the clothes they already have or the clothes you have. Your tween can pick up an oversized shirt that you have and turn it into a dress and maybe wear a belt at the waist. They can learn to buy accessories that add a bit of style to a regular basic like a colorful scarf on a basic t-shirt.
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