If you happen to have children, especially very young ones, you know how very quickly the outgrow every article of clothing. This may make it feel like you have to purchase new clothes for them every time you turn around — which can end up being anything but budget friendly. One way to keep your kids clothed and not break the bank is to shop your local consignment store or sale.
Not only can you find clothes and toys for your younger family members, you can actually find items for your entire family! Consignment stores can offer high value name brands at prices that you can actually afford and are willing to pay. There are a few things in mind when you shop at these stores, or you can end up getting a “not so great deal.”
Know the price you would pay for a like item. When we had our 2nd child, I thought that I could really help our budget and pick up some sleepers for our son from our local consignment store. After all, with my coupons, I was paying about $5 – $6 for his sleepers. I figured that consignment stores were cheaper – or so I thought. I found sleeper after sleeper that looked a little worn, had stains or was faded and the price was $4.00+. In fact, the nicest ones that I found that I would have considered purchasing cost $5.00. So, why would I buy a used item when I could pick up a brand new one for the same price? Knowing what you can pay in a store for a brand new like item with sales/coupons can save you money — as you can then resell them yourself later and make back a little of your money.
Shop your store regularly to keep up with inventory. Since consignment store items are forever changing, you will have to make a point of stopping by quite frequently to make sure you don’t miss out on a really great item. Now that we are heading into fall/winter, you can find lots of great summer clothes starting to filter into these stores. Try to shop a few weeks after the change of each season to find the best deals and newest merchandise.
Carefully review each item for wear, tears, stains, etc. The last thing you want when you get home, is to find a HUGE hole in that sweater you just bought or a stain on those dress slacks. Take a few moments to carefully look over every article of clothing for stains, flaws, holes, missing buttons, broken zippers, etc. If the price point is low enough, it can be worth it to take it home, try to remove the stain or even repair the damage yourself (if you have the time and talent to do so). In fact, you can sometimes even negotiate the price down when you find damaged items.
Get to know your store and let them know you. When you start to frequent your store more and more, they can learn what you are looking for – or you can let them know. They can then call you if they happen to get those items in your store – sometimes giving you first dibs on new merchandise.
Avoid the toy you think “might”work. If you find a toy that your child really wants, you might want to think twice before you say “it just needs batteries.” If you are really interested, ask the clerk for some batteries so that you can try it out before you buy it to ensure that it works properly before you get home and realize that you just wasted your money….and have a very sad child on your hands.
Be very cautious about baby items. Consignment stores are not allowed to re-sell items that have been recalled, however, some can slip through the cracks. Be leery of these, as you would hate to get home and find out that the item should not be used by your infant.
Consider selling at consignment stores/events. If you have items that you would like to get rid of, you might consider a consignment store rather than a garage sale. You can save a lot of time and effort by going this route. You do need to check with your local store event about items the accept, delivery of items (must they be in a box vs. trash bag), quality of items, items needed, pricing, and also commission rates. They can be a great way to downsize and clear out things to make room for more items.
Understanding the ins and outs of shopping consignment stores can really help keep your kids (and yourself) dressed in the latest styles — without breaking the bank!