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Hand-me-downs are wonderful for saving money. Children can outgrow clothes almost before you get them in a closet. The problem comes when the children complain they don't want to wear the hand-me-downs because they aren’t new, or because their older sibling wore them last year. Avoiding this is not hard, and will save a lot of money and grief.

Look at the clothes you are passing down. If the colors are faded nothing you add or take away is going to make them look new, they may not be a good hand me down. Solids can be dyed to improve the looks, but frequently will not completely correct the hand-me-down look. In this case it might be better if you don't pass them down, or use them for play clothes. Stains will have the same effect. Determining if the clothing that you will be passing down is worth the time and effort should eliminate quite a few of the headaches.

Clothing that doesn't fit is another problem area. Granted Joe might grow into Bobby's pants this year, but if he doesn't he will have to wear pants that don't fit and look used, a dead give away that they are hand-me-downs. Put them away and try them in a couple of months. Joe is going to be growing like a weed.

Cindy may look absolutely wonderful in pink lace and frills, but if Georgina is more of a tomboy she will be uncomfortable, and the clothes will not suit her. Remove the lace if the dress can stand as a nice dress without the frills, otherwise hand it down to someone else. The color can be changed with a good dye. Hemming is never much of a problem, but do keep an eye on hemlines when deciding where to hem a skirt or dress to. Just because you think little girls look nice in very short dresses doesn't mean they are fashionable, and a hand-me-down dress that is too short will look more like a hand-me-down dress than one that was purchased too short.

Unless a T-shirt was not worn more than a couple of times, don't hand them down. They look old and the material, while comfortable, will not stand up to much abuse after 20 or 30 washings. It is much better to match a used pair of pants to a new T-shirt than to try and hand down T-shirts. Good cotton shirts are very different; they will withstand many washings and still look good.

When you do purchase clothing, make sure it is a good quality that will wear well. Your clothing budget will go further in the long run. When purchasing jeans make sure that girls and boys can wear them. Avoid the cutesy appliques that will limit their ability to be passed down. When practical purchase clothing that is uni-sex. If you need to differentiate then consider different colors, rather than the expensive printed T-shirts.

When passing down clothes, take a little time and care. Your children won't mind wearing clothes that their older siblings wore because no one except the family will know. The time you save with arguments about the clothing will more than be repaid.