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Clothing 4 Or More - by Louise Prior

"How do you cope? I struggle with one!" If I hear that phrase again, I think Iíll scream! The thing is, if you have more than four children, you cope perfectly well - you have to. In fact, in many ways we probably cope better than people with fewer kids.

Take clothes for example - the classic way of saving a bit of cash is with "hand-me-downs" which is just so much easier with a large family. Got a doddery old relative who sends clothes every Birthday and Christmas that never fit? In our house, itís a case of "Never mind weíll have a child somewhere in the house that fits it!". Try doing that with 1 or 2 children!

With a bit of thought, itís possible to do even more to dress your children beautifully for next to nothing - and itís easier than you first imagine.

Out And About

Charity Shops
When was the last time you were in a charity shop? The bargains to be had there are incredible - the vast majority of items have hardly been worn, some even still have their tags on. Youíll easily get 2 carrier bags full of top brand, nearly new clothes for less than £25. Your kids benefit, your purse benefits and so does the charity; itís a win-win situation!

Car Boot Sales
Much the same situation as charity shops - not hard to find completely unworn items for a pound or two if youíre prepared to rummage. OK, so theyíll need a good wash when you get them home, but they would do after a days wear anyway. One golden rule to remember at car boots though - always, always haggle! This neednít be a half hour argument, just a friendly "Youíll take £1.50 for this instead of £2 wonít you?". The answer is nearly always "Oh, go on then!"

Online

If that all sounds like a bit too much legwork, then why not shop online?
There are many bargains to be found - you donít have the hassles of fighting your way through town with 5 kids in tow, and you donít have to pay for a parking space. Again, there are several ways to find clothes online...

Auction Sites
Sites like eBay.co.uk are the online equivalent of the car-boot sale - but often youíll find new items for very little - especially if no-one else bids on the item. Just watch out for the postal costs (which should be listed in each advert) - thereís no point buying something for £1.40 only to find out that itís going to be £5 to post!

Second Hand Clothing Sites
Type "second hand childrenswear" or "gently worn childrenswear" into a search engine and youíll be met with a plethora of sites all eager to sell you clothes that are in "new" condition. They are normally great value, especially for designer wear which would normally retail at silly prices. Again, just watch out for p&p charges etc.

Discount New Clothing Sites
Hmmm Ö let me think of a good one to recommend Ö actually I run one, so that would be a bit cheeky, but there are several good sites on the web that sell kids clothing at greatly reduced prices. We sell clothes for kids aged 0-10 from all the leading High Street stores. They might be part of the stores range from last year or they might be "overmakes" where the store just hasnít wanted as many as the factory produced. Either way, they are the same quality as those that you would buy in the High Street except for the fact that the store label inside the garment might have been removed or blacked out.Whilst trying not to make this sound too "sales like" we often send out orders to customers who have spend £20, but have got goods worth £80-£90 in the High Street.

My site is at Freelollies.co.uk if anyone wants to take a look, however there are plenty of others that are well worth a visit as well. We have a directory section on our site which lists many of them.

Makes you think, doesnít it? How much have we spent over the years that we didnít need to - next time you walk past that charity shop door, stop, turn back and go save some cash!

Louise Prior

Lou is a mother of 5 and owner of Freelollies.co.uk

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© Copyright: Angela Corbet, 2001.