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I bought something that wasn’t on clearance.

Zoe wearing a striped pink dress, facing away.

I did this a few weeks ago, actually, but didn’t get around to posting about it.

It’s fairly rare for me to buy clothes for my kids (we get a lot of clothes from Freecycle, and we are the fortunate recipients of lots of hand-me-downs) and it’s ever rarer for me to buy clothes for Zoe.

She’s the youngest, and she’s the third girl, so she’s got hand-me-downs from both of her older sisters.

Zoe in a pink dress, facing the camera.

But, I was in Kohl’s a few weeks ago, buying a birthday present for a niece of mine, and I spied this dress. It’s a Chaps by Ralph Lauren dress, and I totally fell in love with it.

I’m normally not such a sucker for new children’s clothes, but my goodness, I think this is the most adorable dress e v e r!

It’s hard to tell from the pictures but it’s made from a light pink and white striped fabric. I just love how simple and clean the lines are, and I love the back. It reminds me a bit of dresses from Jane Austen movies.

Zoe wearing a pink Ralph Lauren dress.

It was on sale, naturally (is anything ever not on “sale” at Kohl’s???), but it was $23, which is far, far more than I will usually pay for an item of children’s clothing.

And Zoe didn’t technically NEED a new dress (although, her summer dress supply is a bit low because her older sister hasn’t grown out of enough of the bigger dresses. She’s kind of on the small side.)

Little brown haired girl in a pink dress.

However, since I really, really loved it, and we had money in the clothing budget for it, I decided to splurge a bit.

Why am I posting about this, given that my blog is about frugality?

Well, I think it’s important to point out that a frugal life isn’t always about deprivation. In fact, frugality and budgeting made the $23 dress possible.

If we weren’t frugal, we’d probably be living paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet and we’d probably have a fair amount of debt.

Preschool girl in pink Ralph Lauren dress.

Instead, we’re debt-free (aside from our mortgage) and so we are actually able to live a bit beneath our means. Because of that, we can set aside some money each month for clothing expenses.

I also think that keeping purchases to a minimum makes me appreciate those purchases way more.

If I routinely dropped a couple hundred dollars each spring and fall on new clothes for my kids, a new dress like this wouldn’t be nearly as thrilling to me as it is now.

As it is, though, since I rarely get to go pick out new clothes for my kids, this dress is making me really happy.

P.S. Amy Dacyzyn calls this strategic deprivation; you appreciate things more when you don’t get them all the time!


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Wednesday 19th of May 2021

Adorbable!!! And those tulip-shaped sleeves!

I really appreciate your blog, Kristen! The thrift store donation tips you posted today (May 19, 2021) are really helpful!


Wednesday 19th of May 2021

I know, right? Everything about that dress was so cute.

The Frugal Girl » I love it when this happens.

Thursday 7th of May 2009

[...] course, I do sometime succumb to the temptation of a new clothing item, but for the most part, my kids manage better than fine with (mostly)free [...]


Thursday 26th of March 2009

I love the style of the dress. Totally something I'd pick out too.

Tammy Brackett

Thursday 26th of March 2009

My goodness. Zoe is a doll! I think it's wonderful you splurged on this gorgeous dress for this beautiful little girl. Indeed, being frugal is about balance and not about deprivation. Congrats on a lovely purchase!

Jen C

Wednesday 25th of March 2009

Love the dress!!! I agree 100% that is why we try to be frugal on most things, so we can enjoy the occassional splurge.

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