Pride is pleasure arising from a man’s thinking too highly of himself — Baruch Spinoza

Are you too proud to shop at Goodwill?

If so, you’re missing out on great finds. My friend, Brianna Lamberson, is a fashion expert and finds bargains at Goodwill. See her style on her Instagram page.

As my kiddos approach back to school and all the things they’d like to have I start thinking capsule wardrobe and how not to go broke in the process.

You can’t show up naked.

By the time the kids get new shoes, new backpacks, and lunch boxes, clothing, and, school supplies, parents can spend a pretty penny. I don’t mind paying for good quality items that will be used over and over. I never mind a good sale to stock up on things that are needed.

I do mind wasting money on items in overfilled drawers and things that will be outgrown before the kids ever wear them.

I learned a long time ago that just because mom thinks it’s cute or they should like it doesn’t matter. If they say I don’t like it the discussion is over. We’re not buying it. Whatever it is gets hung back on the rack and we move on.

Feelings don’t enter the picture. They’ve learned that, as parents, we don’t like them wasting our money. And, we’ve learned that if they don’t like it they won’t wear it, regardless of how much of a great find it is.

Well-intentioned family members shouldn’t buy clothes. They don’t know the correct sizes or preferences. Please don’t send items to make you feel better that will never be worn.

Be sensible and skip the hassle.

The kiddos have to like what they wear or it will be stuffed in the bottom of a drawer or in the back of the closet never to see the light of day.

The first thing we do is take inventory of what they already have.

Take inventory

Before we go shopping we go through dressers and closets to remove items they have outgrown or have worn out. It doesn’t make sense to keep clothing they can’t, or won’t wear.

The process doesn’t take long because my kids are shaped differently. Gone are the days of hand-me-downs. We’ve pulled down the last box of those as we approach this school year.

My youngest won’t be caught dead wearing most of the things my oldest wore. They’re different people with different likenesses. There are a few things the youngest latched onto with glee, but most don’t fit this kid.

She’s proportionally different.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Assess needs

Wants are different than needs. We assess needs. What does each kid need this year? Socks and underwear always go on the list. A good pair of athletic shoes is a must.

The oldest wears jeans a lot. She needs several pairs and we don’t mind buying quality jeans that she’ll wear over and over.

At age 13, she’s also quite the fashionista these days and went shopping at the mall with her friends (with her own money). They spent all day trying on various clothes, colors, and styles of things they like. It was a good girl’s day out.

She came home with bags of clothes that she bought for just $34 because she shopped the clearance racks (again, because it was her own money).

I’m one proud Momma.

The youngest hates anything that squeezes her. There’s no way she’s going to wear jeans. She likes t-shirt material, so leggings and t-shirts keep her clothed in comfort.

Buy wisely

We picked up some Gap gift cards on Amazon during Prime Day and spent $40 for $50. We made a killing at Gap and were able to shop for both kids in one place.

When we got to the register the clerk asked if we wanted to make a donation to the Boys and Girls Club for an additional discount. I made a $3 donation and received an additional 15% off my purchase. (This means that I saved $30 on a $200 purchase!!)

Famous Footwear had a BOGO deal: Buy one, get one 50% off, for shoes and socks. My youngest got Nikes, my oldest got Converse and each got socks of their choosing. We dropped just under $100 at check out — because we forfeited an email address to join their “club”. (Pro Tip: have a disposable email address for things like this — you can save BIG if you’re willing to give up info like an email.)

If you have young kids be sure to check the clearance rack for the next half shoe size. More than once, I’ve tried to get a kid to put a foot in a shoe that grew a half size overnight. Grab a clearance pair and put them in the top of the closet for just such an occasion. (Pro Tip: Use this if you’ve only got one kid and you want to capitalize on the BOGO.)

Photo by Burst from Pexels

Shop thrift stores

Don’t be too proud to shop thrift stores. My oldest wouldn’t be caught dead in a local Goodwill but was itching to go to one while we vacationed out of town.

Nurturing my pocketbook is nurturing my soul.

I want vintage clothes, but I don’t want to be caught by friends in the local Goodwill.

— The 13-year-old


We made a stop at a Goodwill store, an adventure to hunt for the most fashionable great finds.

Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, Banana Republic and Eddie Bauer are among the name brands we found. Great clothes at great prices for both kids and a treasure-hunt experience also revealed great accessories. (We spent less than $20 for two dresses, three t-shirts, a belt and two pairs of leggings — all brand names.)

Make sure to check clothes for rips and tears. My oldest found a t-shirt dress and one of the seams was missing. Since I spent a former life as a professional seamstress, minor repairs are not a problem.

Check clothes carefully if you can’t or don’t want to mend them.


The results are what every parent hopes for. The kids are ready to go back to school in style with things they want to wear and we are happy to wear. We shop this way year-round. has a list of what’s on sale every month of the year.

A little creativity will keep the whole family looking great year-round.

Shop smart. Use a little creativity and save a lot.


If you’re enjoying this site, thank Nicole. She’s the creative mind behind She’s also the community-building guru who can help you build your own thriving communities online; check out her resources at If you’re more into health and wellness, Nicole can help there too! Find a wealth of health at
If you’re enjoying this site, thank Nicole. She’s the creative mind behind She’s also the community-building guru who can help you build your own thriving communities online; check out her resources at If you’re more into health and wellness, Nicole can help there too! Find a wealth of health at

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