How to Strike a Bargain with Your Designer Kid

mom_shopBack-to-school shopping is not for the faint of heart. Back-to-school shopping with a kid who knows about designers and name brands is a whole other level of angst- both emotionally and financially.

On top of budgetary and basic needs (i.e. clothing), you are dealing with the social issues that emerge when your child becomes aware of the connection between what they wear, how they feel and how they are perceived.

What to do if your children are all about the name brands and the trendy items, but it’s just not in the budget?


I can’t blame my kids. I completely remember doing the same thing to my parents at their age.  And I remember the urgency (like my entire life depended on it) of having a Ralph Lauren, Benetton or Lacoste shirt (I’m dating myself now).

Tell them you get it. And that you understand the social pressures (in an appropriate way, of course) that go with clothing, but that budget and common sense have to be the guidelines here. This may not remove all of the insecurity or the disappointment, but at least they know that you are on their side.

Get Visual

Be visual. Use a pie chart, with colours to represent different expenses or jars with buttons for marbles. The whole represents the total budget. Have your child fill the jars or colour the area that represents the expense for what they want.

They will quickly see the expense in real terms and in context of other spending.


Maybe you can fit in a single name brand item, but the rest have to be generic. Maybe your child would be willing to split the cost with you, donating birthday or allowance money to fund their side of the cause.

If your child gets personally invested in the item, they might take better care of it as well.

Seek Alternatives

Introduce your child to knockoffs. This will become their greatest fashion ally later in life when they are trying to balance their own budgets.

Hit consignment stores. Some stores specialize only in name brands. Shop early and often, because stock is likely to turn over fast.