24th Mar, 2008

Raising Family (Frugally) in Fayetteville, Arkansas

img_2846.JPGNow, for those who often read my blog in other parts of the world, you may be wondering why I am writing about Fayetteville, Arkansas as we are a missionary family and we’ve lived in four different places around the world in the past 18 months. But, prior to beginning that journey, we were simply the “typical” American family raising three kids in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Another mom in Fayetteville (and a friend of someone I worked with on occasion) realized there was a great need for a website about raising kids and living life in Fayetteville, and, instead of wishing someone would do it, she did it. She began Life Plus Kids, a fantastic collection of information about things to do in Fayetteville, particularly for families with children.

This week her website is focused on how to live a frugal life with kids, something that is quite lovely to my heart because we could all be a bit more frugal with our resources, not so we can be more selfish (as we all have so much in relation to families around the world!) but so we can be more giving. There are millions of needs about the world and life and love is so much more about giving and sacrifice than anything else.

My wife, Tara, loves to save a buck. This is a very good thing for me because I don’t have that desire. Money really isn’t a focus of mine. When you combine Tara’s frugality with her virtue (see Proverbs 31), she often demonstrates great wisdom in the area of finances.

One way she multiplies our resources, even before we left our professional careers as an attorney and an occupational therapist to become non-profit missionaries, is to participate in the Growing Kids Consignment Sale in Fort Smith. Growing Kids Consignment LogoThis is a huge, well-done consignment sale involving 1000s from across Northwest Arkansas, and it is worth the hour drive to participate. In fact, last fall there were over 1200 consignors and 35,000 square feet of shopping space. This year’s spring sale begins on March 31st. All the details about the time and location of the sale can be found here.

Tara participates as a consignor as well as a shopper, and that does take up some time, but it is quite easy just to drop in as a shopper and find some great deals if you don’t have the time to consign your kids’ clothes as well (perhaps you can find a needy family to build a relationship with and give your clothes to if you don’t sell them).

Another great consignment sale in Fayetteville is the Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment Sale, but it has already taken place as the spring sale began on March 6th. It’s in its third year in Fayetteville, and doesn’t involve as many consignors, but it is a fantastic sale as well and it is very organized.

While you may think consignment means worn out and cheap, the reality is that a consignment sale is a fantastic way to spend hundreds less on high-quality kids’ clothes, particularly in an economically prosperous area like NW Arkansas. The sales have rules about quality that ensure you will find “gently” used clothes at the very worst. As all parents know, often a child wears something only a few times before they outgrow it, and this is especially true of things like “church” clothes or dress-up clothes, and these are often the most expensive items in their wardrobe. When you can find a great outfit for dimes on the dollar, it opens up the budget for many other things. We’ve always been very happy to get much of our kids’ wardrobe at the sale each spring and fall!


Wow! Thanks for the endorsement! I didn’t know that you guys knew about Rhea Lana’s! (Did you know that I organize it?)

BTW…I loved your comments on my blog about American Idol. I completely agree.

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