Summer Shopping Lists

What are you doing this summer?

Yes, I’m pretty sure I just heard all of your needles screech across the record.  What the  ??  White Girl, we JUST got into the new year!

Living the way that we do, so far away from family and typical summer destinations, we have to finalize our plans far in advance.  Our families understand this, and give us plenty of warning when a big event is on the horizon.  We haven’t been able to be at all the gatherings, but this year, all the stars have magically aligned just right in order to make it (insha’Allah!) possible that we will be physically present at the big family reunion on The Mister’s side.  Plus, my little sister is going to be having her very first baby, my first blood-related niece or nephew. Lola is hoping for a girl cousin, obvs. This is going to be one very exciting summer with significant family events; I’m so excited that we are going to be able to be more a part of the events than through the Skype screen.

Our plans have just recently been finalized, and of course, as soon as flights are booked, Word Document shopping lists are opened.  I’m surprised how much I don’t want for my kitchen.  Well, I should rephrase that.  There is plenty I WANT like:

1) Le Creuset cast iron casserole dish:

I'm loving the teal; also happy with the classic orange

or 2) the impossible dream

My lists so far are dominated by spices (ie. tarragon and nutmeg) and molasses, along with children’s pain medication (which Lola desperately needs since she has stubbed her toe no less than 5 times today) and t-pins for keeping the strips snug around the cake pans (makes for flatter topped cakes. Less dome = less waste = less cake top for me to eat and add to my cake top).

The big issue is always clothing. I generally don’t buy clothing for Charlie and Lola here because I find the quality/price ratio is way off. Plus, there is the whole “you are my big strawberry love” poorly-guided-English translation graphics that I just don’t want to honour with my money. So, I often load up on clothes when we are back in the west, and then it is back to desert-parched-no-shopping when we return to the desert. The problem is that a year’s worth of clothes for Charlie and Lola seems like a lot to take on all at once. The dollars add up quickly, and so we set a budget.  Currently, on my list-of-things-to-do is to go through Charlie and Lola’s clothes to see what they actually need, so that I can buy wisely.

I always feel a bit out of touch when it comes to prices of things in the west. Researching on the internet is fairly helpful, but I’m still missing the touch&feel aspect of comparison shopping that really makes the quality/cost ratio really clear. When The Mister and I were first married and wrote up a budget, I remember writing down $100/month for clothes. I also remember busting through that budget a lot of the times because I worked in a clothing store, and temptation was way to difficult to fight in those circumstances. Present day, I’ve dog-eared $50/month for each of the children for a year’s worth of clothes. Being that I’ll be spending it all in one chunk rather than bit by bit over 12 months, it seems like a choke-worthy amount. But, then I think, that if I was living in the west, and buying bit-by-bit through the year, with sales and all those temptations, I would probably end up spending way more than that if I tallied it all together (and was honest about it).

So now, I ask you all:
Do you budget per month for your kids’ clothes, putting it aside and then buy it all in one go? Or do you buy bit-by-bit? Is $50/month reasonable?