Making the commitment to shop ethically can be a challenge just for yourself. Shopping ethically for your kids is a lot harder!
Buying locally made, or sweatshop free clothing alone can be a big challenge and also very pricey. When you buy a product that wasn’t made by human beings who work for barely anything in awful environments and instead buy items made by free people who are adults making a proper wage as well as work in a safe environment, you pay a lot more. Because you are paying for the worker’s fair wages, the materials, and also creating profit for the owner to continue to operate a safe environment for their workers, the price adds up. It makes sense.
You do have to be careful though because there are businesses out there who supply locally made or sweatshop free clothing items tagged at absolutely ridiculously uneccessary prices. They will use your conviction to make a very large amount of money. Avoid those greedy suppliers.
However there are countless brands that aren’t “in it” to become rich. They merely want to help change the world and their prices are reasonable and realistic.
Every mom knows that kids go through clothes in the blink of an eye. They either get ruined, or your kids grow out of them, especially when they are babies or toddlers. So why buy a $50 onesie for your newborn when they won’t fit into it a couple weeks down the line? Or why spend your hard earned money on a pair of pants that are going to be tracked through mud the next time your child goes out to play?
Toys can cost a lot as well! Most of the time your child will get bored of those toys after a few months and you’ll be out buying more to add to the already large collection in the toy box.
Being able to afford and buy ethically sourced clothing and toys for your children can be tricky. For example, since being off work due to medical reasons involving pregnancy, my husband and I are down to one income. I am a saver, and not a spender. With a baby on the way, he/she needs clothes and other necessities that I can’t ignore! Of course we have to spend more in order to prepare for our little mini! So to stick to my convictions I had to be creative and come up with some guidelines for myself, as well as other tricks to stay on budget, or even under it!
There is a simple fact to shopping ethically for your kids while on a budget:
Its not necessary to spend the big bucks. You love your kids, and want them to have the best! But the truth is, they aren’t going to notice if their shirt costed $50 or $1. I’m positive your kids would rather have food to eat than cool clothes that you spent a small fortune on.
So here are some tips and tricks that I’ve been following thus far and loving!
1. Thrifting/gently used stores
Find an awesome thrift store, or gently used second hand store for your clothes and toys purchases! This is how I have and will be saving money like crazy! Unfortunately, the thrift stores where I live are really lacking in good quality baby clothes. However we do have a Once Upon a Child store near here that has amazing cheap deals for clothing and toys! I haven’t bought any toys yet because our baby won’t need them for the first bit since all he/she will be doing is sleeping, eating, and dirtying diapers. This store has deals like “10 onesies for $10”. These are things that your kids are going to grow out of in a flash, so why spend the big bucks when you can buy gently used clothing that has already been washed and inspected?
I bought these baby clothes + more from gently used stores! The swaddle blankets are muslin, and were still in the box when I bought them!
2. Buy long lasting items locally
There are items that you can buy a bit more on the pricey side which will last you longer. Second hand stores are my go to for clothes since they will be worn out or grown out of quickly. However for things like baby carriers, swaddle blankets, diaper bags, et cetera, you can be a little less strict on. The carrier, blankets and bag that I have bought for myself and baby are all such high quality that they will last for years and can be re-used for all of my future kids. Sometimes it’s worth spending a little more if it means you get more use out of it. Just make sure you draw a line between what you can use for years, and what you will get 6 months out of.
My baby wrap, universal cover, newborn hats (green if baby is a boy, and pink if a girl!), and muslin swaddle blanket are made ethically and locally! Prices range from $14 – $80. All these items can be used for all my kiddos for a long time, and even passed along after I’m done having babies because the quality is just that awesome! These were items worthy of a little splurge here and there because in the long run, it will save money!
3. Buy in larger sizes
Obviously this trick can’t be used for everything. I wouldn’t recommend buying shoes that are too large for your child. However things like shirts can be made to last much longer when bought in larger sizes. For girls, they can use a shirt as a dress and slowly grow into it being the proper size shirt for them. Boys will have a baggy fit shirt, but they won’t care and honestly how cute would that look?! Using this trick in as many areas as you can will help clothes to last longer, preventing you from spending extra money down the road!
4. Separate toys into bins for different days/months
Go buy a bunch of smaller bins and separate all the kids toys into each one. You can find a switching schedule that works best for your child, but the idea is to trade the bins of toys every day or two so that they always have “new” toys to play with. Maybe you have enough toys to switch out for each month! This may be a hard self-discipline for your older kids to get used to, but it will save you space and money.
5. Live minimally
Lots of people dont like this idea until I tell them that the less they have, the less there is to clean! Haha! Again, this may be a difficult change to bring about if your kids are older. However if you can just start bit by bit to live more minimally the benefits you find are so worth it! Your kids don’t need the whole world to be happy. One of my favourite “toys” growing up was the backyard. And that didn’t cost my parents anything extra (since whether or not the backyard was my “toy” they would still be paying a mortgage). We can all relate to the fact that there is an insane amount of toys for kids nowadays then when we were kids. Obviously we survived just fine.
Hopefully these are some good tricks to help you get started in ethical shopping/living for your kids!
Do you have any other tips you’d like to share?! Leave a comment for someone else to learn from!