The purple puffy down coat that was supposed to last Genevieve for two winters: $4 at the thrift store. It had a few splits in the fabric, was showing its age, but working just fine for hogging in the snow. But then the zipper broke and, having been warned by Rebecca, I knew I would need to have it professionally replaced: $25. This is the same weighing I have had to do several times regarding repairs on the ancient car, versus expensive new car. Out the coat went.
And here is the replacement, $17 at the kids' consignment shop, so I came out ahead! It has a special interior pocket labeled "valuables" - for, you know, cherry chapstick. A beautifully sturdy down coat that should last through next winter, but oh dear, the light color means it constantly looks grubby and the down takes special laundering. Lesson learned.
I suit up the children in snow pants, coats, mittens, and boots and send them out. I tell them if they are out long enough to get roses in their cheeks, they can have hot chocolate when they come in. No more five minute outside play stints!