We were a navy family but mom was a school teacher - so groceries were bought at most 2x a month. Usually there was a giant restocking trip (a 2 cart trip) and the mid month trip was milk, bread and fresh veg/fruit. Same with back to school clothes - always on layaway with a chunk of moms last school year check in July and payments made from dads check until Labor Day. School shoes were bought at the end if summer in case our feet grew. Other than that Saturday's for a lot kids I knew in the navy community were not spent at the mall (we didn't have one close than an hour away anyhow). New clothes came at birthday, holidays or if you had a freakish growth spurt. Things were bought big and hemmed just in case of the latter. There was Caldor, Bradlees and later on Ames. No Walmart or Target. My mom grew up with parents who raised kids in the depression (big family) - she used to buy some of our clothes she could get away with at Railroad Salvage - similar to today's Ocean Stare Job Lot. Hand me downs were popular with other navy families - the box would come, be sorted thru and refilled then sent to the next home in navy housing neighborhood - we all wore play clothes. Being a bit of a tomboy one of moms friends who was a teacher, had sons and husband who worked not in the navy would send over the Toughskins pants when her boys outgrew them for play pants. By 5th grade I didn't like seeing that box - I wanted girlie stuff then. I don't think I eat a pop tart or Twinkie until 4th grade. Chips & soda were a luxury treat. Cereal was usually Raisin Bran or cornflakes or shredded wheat (never frosted). Once I got a job babysitting - I would be found shopping for more hip clothes than my parents would buy...usually spending everything earned over a weekend in 45 minutes. I learned to love the SALE sticker to me it equalled more! I never hit a thrift store until I hit my punk phase - and even then was kinda pissy about it.
When my kids were first born and little kids I would hit consignment shops & my friends and I would pass clothes along to each other for the kiddos. I knew where every Gymboree and Children's Place or Carters outlet was in all of New England.
I used to grocery shop every few days - now I would be thrilled to do it twice a month.
I regularly check consignment and goodwill for myself first when I need something to wear - unless it's shoes. If I buy new I have a coupon or kohls cash or even better a combo of the two. I prefer t try the outlets before kohls.
It's funny how we grow up shapes how we think of money.