Kid's consignment sale: Top 10 tips

Clothes courtesy of consignment sale

Consignment shopping: Top Ten

When my husband I found out we were pregnant with our firstborn we were filled with excitement, wonder and fear. It is hard to describe the feelings you get when you are about to be a parent for the first time and you are responsible for raising another human being. In addition to bringing another life into the world our next thought was the cost of bringing a new life into the world. If you are a mom reading this article then you know that babies and children cost money. It is our job as money savvy parents to budget, bargain and buy items that are quality but will not break the bank. I have always been a fan of consignment stores but I was a newbie in the realm of baby consignment sales. Therefore in order to help you prepare I have compiled a list of top ten things to consider when preparing to shop at either a fall or spring consignment sale.

  • Set a budget and make a list for each child. We have a five year old and two year old twins so their needs vary. Prior to attending a consignment sale I go through their closets and make a list of items that they need for the upcoming fall/winter or spring/summer. This list will help guide my purchasing decisions thus putting a limit on how much I spend. Based on the needs of each child I am able to project an individual budget and then I will set an overall budget to help me stay on the straight and narrow.
  • Have a plan.  Similar to having a budget you must go in with a plan or you will be overwhelmed and waste time in toys when you were really supposed to be in books and videos. This begins first at home by taking inventory of what you already have and then deciding what areas need to be filled. Once you’ve answered those questions you are then ready to develop a shopping game plan.
  • Lay aside your pride.  Oftentimes when I tell people that I shop consignment sales I’m met with reservations and “you’re ok with wearing someone else’s clothes”?  In short…YES!  I had to change my perspective.  By saving on our clothing budget it allows our family to utilize those funds in other areas such as experiences that my children will remember beyond what they wore when they were 5 and 2.
  • Not all consignment sales are the same. Do your research not all consignments sales are created equal.  Time is money so you do not want to waste time at sales that will not benefit your family’s needs.  We attend large sales that occur twice a year and any time they are housed at a fair ground we know that we are in business!
  • Shop on the first day and the last day.On the first day the best items are available and they are not picked over. On the last day our consignment sale is 50% off most items. Imagine that 50% off items that are already at a bargain price.
  • Just because it is deeply discounted that does not mean that it is a bargain.  You found a great shirt for $2.  Does the shirt have stains and are the colors faded?  The books might be $1 but are the pages torn?  Is there writing in the book?  Bargain doesn’t always mean better.  You want to make sure that you are providing your child with the best.  Quality over quantity.
  • Volunteer to receive an additional discount.  Most consignment sales are staffed by community moms (and dads) who are able to help sort, tag and assist customers. In addition, to receiving an additional discount you will be able to meet some awesome parent’s right in your community.
  • Consider purchasing big ticket items.  Saucers, walkers, bassinets, strollers, rockers, toys. With the exceptions of a stroller we purchased all the items listed above at a consignment sale. Of course safety first so please inspect the item, clean it then put it to good use.
  • Outwear and Halloween costumes.  We never leave a consignment sale without a heavy coat for each child. Why? They will wear it for one season possibly grow out of it that same season and outerwear is expensive. The same is true for Halloween costumes. A one-time use item that could cost upwards of $100 if purchased at retail price is deeply discounted.  In addition, there will be tons of great costumes available.
  • Just do it.  Now that you are equipped with some tips what are you waiting for?    Start researching the next kid’s consignment sale in your area, go shop and save.  Then please share your experience, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Consignment sale finds!

Dr. Seuss books: $2 each
Blocks and wagon: $8
See and say: $7
Tummy time mat: $10
Play yard: $12
Gap puffer winter coat: $20