After reading enough books on frugality, I've decided that when I take hand-me-downs from others, I'm not being cheap and it surely doesn't make me poor. It makes me smart. At some point, we have to start equating frugality with being smart. It's smart to change out your light bulbs to CFLs. It's smart to drive a car that gets 50 mpgs on the highway (we do). And it's smart to get rid of things that are disposable. I consider baby clothes to be disposable. If it's only going to be used a few times (often just weeks or months during early infancy), it's disposable, so why pay $20 for it? Or more!
Have we purchased clothes for our child? You bet. In my family, the coming home outfit for a baby has always been a very big deal, so we bought a very special dress for Isabelle to wear home from the hospital. She also wore it on the day of her baby dedication at church, when she was 7 weeks old. We have purchased a few other items for her that were either special or very much needed. But overall, we've chosen to allow God to provide clothes for her through hand-me-downs from others. And we have been blessed by this provision, and it frees us to do other things with our money (not spend frivolously, but reduce our debt or make repairs on our home and cars).
Christmas in October
I often let people know that we enjoy hand-me-downs. I do this because I think it gives hand-me-downs a good name. When someone sees my daughter, beautifully dressed in a smocked Laura Ashley dress, and they compliment it, I let them know that it belonged to Isabelle's cousins, Jolie & Jordan. I want people to know that there's nothing wrong with accepting things second hand. And often, various friends will offer clothes to us, and it's a blessing every time.
We recently had Christmas in October. It's always fun to get "new to me" stuff, and it feels like Christmas. Here's what the entry way to my home looked like for several days last week:
Everything but the pink diaper bag and toy phone were hand-me-downs. Damian's aunt and grandmother were in town, and they brought several bags of clothes and shoes from my sister-in-law. Want to see what's in one of the bags?