Okay - silly me forgot to download the photo of everything that I was able to get through the uniform swap. So, the photo is at home on my camera and I'm not at home right now. Sooo....I will post that when I get home today. :) Oppps.
School uniforms are something new to us this year. The kids start kindergarten (Where, oh, where has that time gone?) and they will be attending a private school that requires uniforms.
Part of me is sad - my Mom loves to sew and has so enjoyed making clothes for my children the last 5 years. Uniforms mean my Mom will be making far fewer clothes than she has. My daughter also loves really bright, unique clothing and she is very disappointed with her school uniforms ("They're too boring, Mom!" - complete with eye roll and shaking head) as well. I have an idea to remedy that part, but that's for another post! :) I love that my children can express their very different personalities with their clothes.
Part of me is elated - even though the uniform pieces are more expensive than anything I would ever currently buy for our kids, the kids' clothing budget isn't changing this year! Why? Fewer clothes. Uniforms to last 5 days (jumper, skirt, pants, a cardigan and 5 polo shirts for Missy; 3 pair pants, a cardigan and 5 polo shirts for Buddy), one or two "nice" outfits for church, etc. and 2-3 outfits of play clothes for after school and days when they're home. We'll probably have more than that, but I don't have to hurry out and buy something if something falls apart or wears out when we have that level of clothing for them. (And yes, I realize that if I wanted to do laundry more often, we could get by with even less!).
Even though we're not buying as many clothes in general, how do we save money on those uniforms? Especially since I'm not that excited about spending $16 for a polo shirt they're going to outgrow in 4 months.
The school we attend has a "Uniform Swap". Bring in 10 items, pick up 10 items. They run it at the end of every quarter.
Since we're entering Kindergarten, we don't have anything to bring. But it never hurts to ask, so I did. It turns out, after a certain point, anyone can come in - new students, students who need more than they brought in, etc.
Here's the tally:
* 2 jumpers
* 2 skirts
* 1 pair of slacks
* 1 polo shirt
* 1 pair pants
* 1 pair shorts (only wear on days over 85F)
* 4 polo shirts
* 1 long-sleeve polo shirt
* 1 monogrammed sweatshirt
Not bad, if I do say so myself!
Even better - many of these things weren't even on the 'bare bones' list I was intending to purchase! I would not have bought the sweatshirt, long-sleeve polo or the shorts for Buddy and Missy wouldn't have gotten 2 jumpers or skirts, she would have only gotten one.
What do I still need?
Buddy needs 2 more pair of pants and I'd still like to get him a cardigan, though the sweatshirt will suffice. And Missy needs a few more shirts and gym shorts (the boys can just play in their regular pants in kindergarten).
And we'll need the usual shoes, socks and undies, but we'd need to buy those anyway.
Best thing? I got all those clothes for free!
If you need uniforms, and your school currently doesn't have a uniform swap, I heartily suggest you start one! I wasn't going to be sure it would be worth my time, but it certainly was. And I'm sure it is for almost everyone else who participates too!
How do you save money on school uniforms? I'd love to know!
And check out Frugal Friday over at Life As Mom for more frugal inspiration.