Back when I lived in the States, I enjoyed snapping up deals at discount designer store TJ Maxx. I’ve only shopped at its UK equivalent, TK Maxx, once or twice but Babe Daddy is forever coming back with snazzy finds from TK Maxx for himself and the boys. So I was excited to take part in a shopping challenge** set by Brit Mums and TK Maxx to hunt for bargains for myself and my 6-year-old.
Our challenge was to find an item, an outfit or something complementary to our wardrobes for an individual budget of £30.
First stop, TK Maxx on Charing Cross Road where after 35 minutes of browsing/telling the boys off for playing chase around the clothing rails, I decided to hit the children’s section. One small problem – there is no longer any kids’ section at TK Maxx on Charing Cross Road. I REPEAT: THERE IS NO LONGER ANY KIDS’ SECTION AT TK MAXX ON CHARING CROSS ROAD.
Cue one fed up mama and 2 grumpy babes high-tailing it to Hammersmith where I was assured the children’s floor was still intact.
Luckily the Hammersmith branch of TK Maxx was an easier, breezier experience. The aisles seemed wider and the boys were in more of a ‘shopping state of mind’.
I spoke with Ezra about what to look for: not just to grab the first flashy (or in his case, sporty) threads he liked, but to think about cost per wear. Is it a quality fabric, does it feel good as well as look good (Ezra’s got super sensitive skin), will it last more than 50 washes?
I learned a bit about my own tastes and habits while bargain hunting. I’d planned to shop outside my comfort zone but found myself constantly drawn to the same styles e.g. neutral hues mixed with colours that pop, bold/ethnic prints, comfort over tailoring.
I missed out on a 100% cashmere jumper I’d dropped last minute at the Charing Cross branch, a steal at £29.99. I almost went over budget for an angora wrap cardigan (£39.99) but remembered that angora feels itchy against my skin.
In the end I found a lovely 100% cotton Rip Curl top in teaberry and dynamic stripes, slashed from its original £60 to just £16.99! I love the colour and the fact that it’s cool enough to wear in late summer but I can easily layer it over other pieces for autumn/winter.
With £13 to spare, I hit the accessories area and picked up some uber cool Steve Madden sunnies for £12.99. Job done.
As I expected, finding entire outfits for Ezra at that budget was an easier proposition and his basket was soon crammed with skater boy style t-shirts, electric hoodies and skinny jeans. But everything ground to a halt when Ezra spotted these Puma trainers, half their original retail price at £16.99.
While Ezra sat on the ground, trying them on, I
tortured engaged him with some mental arithmetic to figure out what else he could afford, and what was a better deal – 2 tops or 1 hoodie. Finally Ezra opted for the former, a really lovely Hadleigh London zip cardie (£9.99) and cotton T-shirt (£5.99).
Even though we went £3 over budget (blame the kid!), I think we both got excellent value for money.
Of course I couldn’t leave without getting something for little Jed, our shopping companion.
I bought his funky Marc Ecko hoodie for only £12.99. Jed chose the sunglasses (£4.99) himself!
**We were provided with £60 in shopping vouchers from TK Maxx to give our honest opinion about our shopping experience as an opportunity to discuss spending according to a budget with our kids.