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I’m taking some time this summer just to rejuvenate, so I’m running this guest post by Patty DeLoach from Patty’s Pen.

When our kids were small dressing them was a breeze. They didn’t have opinions on clothing. They were too busy walking the creek or playing street hockey with the neighborhood pickup team. But when they reached about 6th grade all that changed. Allie became very conscious of labels. She needed certain name brand things, or so she said. I had a real hard time with this as, to me, it indicated an unhealthy desire to project an image.

Then there was the day she broke down in tears and told me that she had to have a designer backpack or the other kids at school would make fun of her. *Lightbulb Moment* My sweet little girl wasn’t trying to make a fashion statement, she was just trying to survive the rigors of Middle School. So, did I run out and buy her that outrageously overpriced nylon backpack with the ridiculous sewed on icon? Nope, I didn’t.

Did I want her to fit in with the other kids? Sort of, kind of. I talked to her about friends being the folks who liked you for who you are not what you have. I reminded her that the reason she wasn’t in private school or being home schooled was that the world is a place of all kinds of people and Hutch and I wanted to help her learn to deal them while she was under our roof and authority. She nodded, but I knew she didn’t get it.

So Hutch and I came up with a compromise that worked for us all. We started giving her a small clothing allowance monthly, $25. With this allowance she was to save up to buy her clothing and accessories [read book bag here].

All of the sudden she was the mistress of her own clothing decisions. At first she squandered her small pittance on lots of little things. Hello Kitty’s stock must have risen several points just on her expenditures alone. Then after a month or two she buckled down and got serious about saving. Did she ever get that pricey backpack? Yes, she finally did. And maybe it wasn’t such a bad purchase after all. She carried the thing for many years until it literally burst at the seams. I estimate the final cost analysis was in the range of $8 dollars a year. Not too shabby.

By giving our kids that clothing allowance we taught them many different life lessons. They learned to identify what they really wanted based on a thorough examination of needs, value, & durability. They learned how to save for those things, taking responsiblity for their own decisions. But most of all they finally learned that designer labels don’t count for much.

In the end our kids both turned into responsible adults who buy for value. Most of the time they purchase second-hand.

Just a couple of weeks ago our son Jon, who teaches high school, visited us and made a trip to his favorite thrift store for three almost new dress shirts. Allie called me from Colorado last night where she lives with her sweet hubby. She related how they bought the baby crib they wanted for a 75% discount just by watching the sales, using a coupon, & having it shipped from a Ga. store to a Denver store. A $400 crib for $99 is a pretty great savings.

Anyhoo- It just goes to show that you can teach your kids life is all about being rich in the intangibles [love, respect, passion] and not about spending a whole lot of money.

Hope Summer is great for you and yours! Love Never Fails.

Want to learn more about how to implement clothing allowances? Read this post.
patty - Clothing Allowance for Kids
Patty DeLoach writes for newspapers, magazines, and film production companies. Currently she’s blogging about her passions for faith, family, food, frugality, and fun at Patty’s Pen. She has been married 35 years, has two grown children, and works everyday to live by the Biblical axiom – ‘Love Never Fails’.