Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Frugal Friday on a Wednesday

I used to do frugal Fridays around here fairly often for awhile. With the price of groceries skyrocketing, gas back at nearly $4 a gallon and even cheapo Hanes underwear becoming insanely expensive, I thought I might try revisiting that topic every so often.

The first summer after Jack was born we stumbled on a kid's consignment sale here in town late on a Saturday afternoon. I was excited to find decent, cheap things for my baby (yard sales are REALLY hit or miss with kid's stuff it seems). I still remember what outfits I bought him and the $8 high chair we scored and used for a few years.

I hit that same consignment sale every time I happened to notice it for a year or so. Then when Jack was a toddler I got more serious about it and started to consign his clothes and make a little money back on them.

For a few years this worked REALLY well. Buy the clothes used, get a check for selling last year's things, then resell the same clothes I bought last year. Essentially I was clothing him for free, minus socks, underwear and shoes. As he gets bigger I find that the consignment gig for him is just no good anymore. Boys this age are just too hard on their stuff. But I still manage to find a few things of his to consign every year for one very important reason - it gets me in the door to the sale early.

This is a HUGE sale, people wait in lines for hours and hours to shop it. I might not be making a huge amount of cash or be able to buy a lot of things for Jack anymore, but that early admission is worth it's weight in gold when you have a smaller child.
Last fall when I first discovered that Sammi was a girl I had a panic attack at the consignment sale trying to buy some clothes for her. My Lord there are a metric ton of girl's clothing at this thing. I couldn't manage to choose one.single.item last year for her.

Yesterday Dave and I set off together to shop it for this coming summer. He did Jack, I did Sammi. While the prices are higher than Goodwill (infant clothes are a buck apiece there) and yard sales in general, I bought her approximately 40 outfits in varying sizes and 10 toys for around $100. Name brand stuff too - Gap, Janie and Jack and my ADDICTION (it's a real problem I tell you), Gymboree.
ARRGGGGGGGGGH, so many beautiful little dresses for my little sweet cheeks.
This is one of my favorites.

My pull along shopping cart was overflowing. And I will get a check (even if it's small), for the things of Jack's that sell that helps to offset the cost.

My consignment sale tips:
*Find a tried and true sale. I did a smaller sale last year and it wasn't worth the work.
*Consign something, even if it's only their required minimum, or volunteer to work the sale to get in early. Less crowds, shorter lines, more selection.
*Plan ahead. This thing is so darn big that when I go in for Jack I go armed with a list. For example, he might need: 4 pairs of jeans, 2 sweaters, 6 tee shirts, a dressy outfit for photos, etc. This does require having a kid try on their existing wardrobe and sorting through the closets before you go. It can be completely overwhelming otherwise.
*Bring a cart or bag or basket or something. You cannot sort through miles of clothes without something to hold things.
*Grab now, sort later. I put everything even mildly exciting in my basket and then sit down and check them over before I check out. Check the zippers, buttons and snaps. Try to find a bright spot to look for stains. Check toys (in boxes especially) and count parts.
*Have an idea of what the retail prices are like in your area before you go. I hate retail shopping, but I try and make a point of knowing what a 5 pack of onesies is going for in Kohls or Target (and even Goodwill for me) so you don't overpay. Because consignors set their own prices they vary wildly.
*Leave the kids elsewhere so you can really focus while you are there.
*Get a feel for what will sell. I tend to dress Jack differently than a lot of other 6 and 7 year old boys in this area so a lot of my stuff was just sitting there unsold. I don't bother sending that stuff anymore. If they want camo, consign camo.
*Go back to the sale more than once. Since you are getting early admission there may be an overwhelming amount of stuff. Go back once it is thinned out a bit to see if anything else is interesting. The last day is half off day here, but pickings are really slim by then, but day two is usually still decent.
*Enjoy being thrifty! Buying a brand new gymbo dress with the $33 tags still on it for $4 is a nice thrifty way to dress your littles.


  1. Ohhh, Gymboree ... that super-thick fleece. Those cute colors. (The really pushy salespeople, OK, forget that part.) I loved those clothes...I think I might have kept a few for memories.

  2. Fantastic hints!

    I miss being able to hit tag sales for my daughter. She's 9 and hard to fit and picky about what she does wear. We do occasionally find her scores, but they are harder and harder to find. Guess it's good I saved so much money on her baby & toddler clothes!

  3. there are a couple with in an hour of us spring and fall and I love to go, the deals on the darling dresses is awesome. trying to figure out how to get to the one on the 17th!


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