I love my kids. However, what I don’t love is just how quickly they grow! It seems that they can often outgrow clothes before they even wear out. It can make you feel like you have to purchase new clothes for them every time you turn around. That is not easy on the budget.
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.”
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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 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. Then, you can resell them later and make back some of your money!
Shop your store regularly to keep up with inventory
Since consignment store items are forever changing. That means 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.
As the seasons change, so will the inventory. When we move into fall/winter, spring and summer clothes will be on sale. The opposite is true in January and February.
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, to see a stain on the pants you picked up. Take a few moments to carefully look over every article of clothing for stains, flaws, holes, missing buttons, broken zippers, etc.
If the price is low enough, it can be worth it to still buy it. Then, try to remove the stain or do the repair yourself. If you do find a damaged item, negotiate the price down.
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. You can even let them know the things you need. They can call you if those items come into the store, which can give 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. That way, you can try it out before you buy it to ensure that it works properly. There is nothing worse than getting home to realize you just wasted your money. And, also 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.
Find local consignment events
Events like these come up all around the country, several times per year. KidsConsignmentSales.com has an incredible map that you can use to find a sale near you. These are huge sales where people drop off their items for a one, two or even seven day sale event.
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 will need to check with your local store event about the types of items they accept and the delivery style (box vs. trash bag). Make sure you also inquire about the quality, what they need, pricing and also commission rates. This 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!