Thursday, August 1, 2013

Am I Cheap or Smart?

The girl I use to be would never have my kids in re-used stuff. Unless it came from someone that I knew.  With that said I'm not ashamed to admit that my kids wear clothes from consignment sales.  Why not?  They seriously wear them for 3-6 months max, and then they've gotten so stinkin' big that their tummies and ankles are beginning to show.  We go to about 4 sales a season - some on half price day and some on their regular sale days, in order to fill our closets (maybe a little too abundantly). I haven't bought them anything brand new the entire time they have been alive that wasn't on sale, or from one of my favorite consignment shop. 

As these sales begin in the next few months start. I feel so excited to get 2T/24 Month stuff and summer stuff for next year! Of all the sales my favorite is the 2nd weekend in October.. It is in the Tacoma area and people from all over come, to check it out. It is called the TPOM SALE and its a bunch of us twin/multiple mommy's that save our kids stuff to re-sell. It's so fun and you get such a great deal on so many things. If you are in the area you should totally check us out! They hold it every year at Bates school in Tacoma. I will post more information on my Facebook page The Twin Peaks Mama, so stay tuned. 

I have to admit that I completely go bat shit crazy when they boys get stains on their clothes and no amount of stain remover can make it go away.  I always say to my husband. "NO!! You have to take their shirts off so I can re-sell them. If not are kids will go naked because I have to make money to spend money." He always rolls his eyes at me. He has said a few times over the past year, that he is thankful I am so thrifty and I get such good deals on things for the boys. That is takes a little pressure off of him. I promised when we planned on having the boys that I would do anything I can to make our money stretch with me not working.  I hope this post helps you! 

1) Go As Early as Possible: Not only will you have your "pick of the litter" with the clothes, toys and gear, but you can also snag some of the best deals this way.  Because sellers each price their items independently, there may be duplicates of the same items at a range of prices.  For example, one recent sale had six almost identical items (a popular battery powered ball blower toy) in stock.  Prices ranged from $5-$15 for the toy, with the highest priced item not necessarily the one in the best condition.  Earlier shopping allowed us to pick up the best quality item for $8.  Many sales offer pre-shopping events for new parents, new grandparents, military veterans and their families, organization members, consigners and volunteers.  The early bird catches the worm and some of the pre-sales require online registration so check the sale's website for opportunities. 

2) Bring a bag or laundry basket: Sales are unlikely to have shopping carts so think creatively about how you'll tote your items around while shopping.  We hung lots of clothes on the handle of our stroller, and used an ikea bag for overflow.  A cart on wheels or wagon would be especially helpful! I now use the laundry basket after seeing a few moms doing this at the last few sales. 

3) Get to Know Your Sale: What are your options for pre-sales?   Do they have a policy against strollers?  What payment methods are accepted?  Do they have a half-price sale and if so - what are the details.  I really recommend scouring all the links on the sale's website (FAQs, Info for Shoppers, Videos etc.).  You'll get a good look at what to expect.  When you arrive, consider chatting with a volunteer.  Most sales have a "holding area" that you can utilize so you don't have to carry around your large items.  They can also provide great details about bathrooms, checkout procedures and any sale discounts.  One piece of advice learned from my own failure is to really ASK about the half price sale.  Do not assume that because it says "half price" that all items are discounted.  Some sales put red dots on sale items, some put dots on items exempt from discounts.  Communication is really key for getting all the deals you were expecting at checkout. With the TPOM sale we mark things down at the very last hour of the sale. Please don't hoard your things till the very last part of the sale. These are mom's trying to sell their things for the best price they can get. It is over half the amount you would normally pay in the stores anyway. SO come on and get your stuff at the first pic and then go back and get the sale items that are tagged with a D for discount. 

4) Be Prepared for Anything:  You won't know what to expect before the sale - so expect the unexpected.  Our first sale was fairly small, and we walked right up to the checkout counter.  So boy was I surprised when, while shopping new mom pre-sale at our second sale (which was huge), we encountered an ENORMOUS line. Like so big it took almost 2 hours to check out!!!   Also when shopping with kids, realize the possibility that there may not be a bathroom as many sales are held in usually unoccupied buildings.  Both my babes got changed in a corner behind a sales rack, and I was glad to have an extra blanket to protect them from the floor.

5) Come with an Empty Car: Yeah I hear ya - you don't plan to buy anything big.  But you really never know.  We ended up having a FULL back hatch of my SUV and an exersaucer riding home on my mom's lap. Do yourself a favor and make room before you shop!

6) Consider Consigning: What a great way to make some money to reinvest in your shopping!  I am the absolute worst at letting go of adorable clothes.  It is easier for me at least, to give up clothing that I purchased second hand.  I think of it as "clothes sharing" - someone owned it before my kids, and someone will own it after my kids.  Coming in with that expectation makes parting a little less sorrowful. You can't do this at the TPOM sale its for members only but the Just between friends you are more then welcome do consign. 

7) Get Ready for the Next Sale:  Don't forget to sign up for the sale's mailing list to be sure you're ready for the next event.  Most hold events twice a year and mailing list signups are available at checkout.

8) Make a list and check it twice: Make a list of all the things you are looking for. Do you need PJ's or do you need Christmas picture clothes? Puzzles or cloth diapers? Make sure that you know the sizes and what you think they might be in a few months. I know that my boys are in a size 24 months now but in the spring will more then likely be in a 3 so I go with that in mind. 

9) Take your best friend. It is always so much more fun when you have a coffee in hand and your best friend to spend the day with.  That way you also have a buddy to talk with and you are able to also have someone hold your space while you go back for the 5th time to look again, or for you to use the potty. ( if they have one open) 

10) Be friendly and nice.  Be nice to the people that are working on this sale. They are not getting paid for this! They are volunteers. So when you are getting all uptight please remember this.  

Now grab your purse and get shopping!  If you're already a veteran consignment shopper, leave a comment and tell us about your BEST consignment sale deal! Local or not! 


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