I remember when I was pregnant with my oldest I would walk into Mothercare at every chance I got and look at all the beautiful things that would surround our baby when she was born. Only when my beautiful baby came we had absolutely nothing to give her but our love and devotion.
And when our second baby came the dreaming continued. I dreamed of dressing my little girls in matching dresses and pyjamas and how cute and adorable they would look. But again, that never happened. They were clothed in hand-me-downs, cast off’s and birthday gifts.
We now have four kids being dressed with hand-me-downs, cast offs and birthday gifts – and we have clothes coming out of our ears! When I do the laundry I am overwhelmed by how many clothes they have, where did it all come from?!?
Having a small (minute, miniature, minuscule, microscopic) budget has made me have faith that God is our source and not Baby Gap – seriously, that store is like heroine for mothers.
Every pair of shoes, socks, pyjamas and onesie is a testament of my Father’s love. My children are truly in my Saviour’s care. Here’s what I’ve learned from having to dress my kids with faith and not money.
1. Don’t buy anything
I remember my mum calling me while I was in Mothercare one day (yeah, I was there all the time) and telling her about all the gorgeous and absolutely necessary baby items they had. She got very serious with me one the phone and said -Don’t. Buy. Anything!!! I walked out empty handed and never had a need to go back to Mothercare.
2. Pray for your needs
Don’t be anxious (distressed, uptight or fearful) about what you don’t have. Take it to God in prayer and trust in His faithfulness to provide for all your needs. And don’t go running to Next every time your child gets a stained t-shirt. Remember rule number 1 and put your faith into action.
3. Accept every free gift
In our world of choice we don’t like not getting what we want. But if you say yes to a bag of baby clothes, shoes, bedding, toys etc. then the next time that person is getting rid of something they’ll think of you first! One bag of baby vests could turn into years of hand-me-down kids clothes. It all starts with saying yes.
4. Receive gifts with a grateful heart
When I get offered anything I always say a massive thank you and get all excited about what treasures could be waiting inside. My kids get super excited too and can’t wait to take the bags home and see what’s inside. This may sound really simple but you’d be surprised how easy we can get defensive about accepting a free gift. Be thankful that you are getting stuff completely free!!
5. You don’t have to keep every single item
When we get home we pull out every item from the bag. I check the size to see who it will go to, then I check for any stains or tears and weigh up how badly we need it. You will be amazed the treasures we’ve been handed down. Nearly new Clark’s and Start Right shoes, Monsoon dresses that have never been worn and even the very pyjamas my girls have been praying for.
6. Ask for what you need
I’ve only had to do this a couple of times, but when I’ve been needing something particular, like a certain shoe size or school uniform, I’ve simply put a little one-liner on Facebook asking if anyone has something they don’t need any more. I don’t ask for “Clark’s shoes only please” or “must be like new”, I ask for whatever they have spare or need to get rid of and I take it. People are usually so happy to get rid of unneeded stuff in their homes and know it’s going to be put to good use.
I have a reputation for taking whatever I’ll get, so guess what – I get offered stuff all the time. And I’m so thankful for it! Without the generosity of others we would be living proper Amish style. If you’re trying to figure out how to manage a family on a tight budget this is a great place to start. If you don’t have to buy so many clothes, shoes, toys, books and every other item in Next and BabyGap think of how much money you’ll save!!
We’ve been given beds, sofa’s and even cars! Two to be exact. Believe that God really does take care of your needs, even the most basic one of clothing your kids.
I tell you this: Do not worry about your life…Do not worry about what you are going to wear…Is not the body more important than clothes?…Why Should you worry about clothes?…God clothes the grass of the field…How much will He give you clothes? Matthew 6:25-30