5 Ways to Raise a Thrift Store-Loving Kid!

Follow these 5 easy steps to help your children appreciate the value and eco-friendliness of thrift store shopping.
Mar 4, 2010 10:45 PM ET

5 Ways to Raise a Thrift Store-Loving Kid!

Follow these 5 easy steps to help your children appreciate the value and eco-friendliness of thrift store shopping.

I recently read an article that discussed the expensive, high-end clothing that celebrity children are wearing today. For the cost of a single designer outfit worn by Madonna’s daughter or Brad and Angelina’s son I could pay my mortgage, buy groceries for a week and buy 100 outfits…at a thrift store! I guess if you make millions of dollars you have to keep up a certain image, but I’m an average gal, I care about the environment and I don’t have a lot of money to spend. So to me there’s no better way to express my unique sense of style through the process of “recycling” clothes than to go thrift store shopping.

My mother taught me to appreciate thrift store shopping at a young age, and I’ve carried that passion of searching for “buried treasures” with me today. I was lucky to talk to two avid thrift store-shopping moms, Levanah and Beth, who shared with me some wonderful tips on how they raised their daughter to appreciate the economic, social and stylish value of shopping for used clothing and other items in 5 simple steps.

1. Start with pointing
We were taught not to point at people, but according to Levanah and Beth it’s okay to point at prices. The first step in the thrift-store appreciation process is to point out just how expensive clothes, shoes and accessories are in retail stores. Take them shopping with you in non thrift store environments and let them see firsthand the expensive cost of brand new products. Then take them to a thrift store and point out how they can buy triple the number of used items at less than half the cost of a new one.

2. Give them an allowance
Give your children a small weekly allowance so that they can learn the value of a dollar. That way, if they still want to buy those expensive pair of Nike shoes or Calvin Klein jeans, they can save up their hard earned money for months and buy it on their own. They’ll soon realize that they could have bought a couple of pair of shoes or 20 pairs of jeans at a thrift store for the price of what they paid for brand new stuff!

3. Show them the importance of quality and elegance in their purchase.
Some people think that there’s nothing but junk at thrift stores, but that’s definitely not the case! When you take your children to thrift stores you should point out the awesome quality of products that you can find just by doing a bit of digging. You can point out designer brands, the value of hand-sewed seams and superior material, and show them just how elegant “vintage” can be. Teach them to choose items that are in good shape and don’t look like they’ve been purchased at a thrift store, so when people ask them about it they can say, “I bought it for $2 at a thrift store!”

4. Get others involved
Invite other parents and their children along with you when you go thrift store shopping to make it a social event. The children and adults can help each other pick and choose items, and if two people like the same thing they can split the cost, save some extra money and swap it with each other later.

5. Be nice!
One of the most importance aspects of raising a child to love thrift store shopping is teaching them to be nice. This means not shouting out loud, “Gross! Who would ever wear this?” or “Three of me could fit into this outfit!” in the middle of the store. Everyone has different taste, and children should learn to respect individual styles and opinions. Remind them about how they would feel if someone said those things about what they were wearing.

Raising thrift-store loving kids can be a fun, easy and bonding experience for families. Levanah and Beth say that you can teach your children to be “smart and savvy” about thrift stores, while embedding in their values that they’re not “selling out” their life.

I concur! Thanks ladies!

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