If you have kids and you haven’t shopped one of those bi-annual, pop-up consignment sales like Just Between Friends or Rhea Lana’s, you are missing out. These places are one-stop-shops for children’s bargains, but they can be overwhelming, entice overspending, and send you home with a pile of unneeded items if you aren’t careful.
I’m a bargain shopper down to my core, and I absolutely love that these sales have so many really great deals for both of my kids. If you really want to make the most of your consignment sale trip, follow my tips to shop the sale like a boss.
1. Make a list. This is my first tip for a reason! I keep an ongoing list on my phone so that I can add to it and know where to access it whenever I think of something we will need. Making a good list involves taking stock of what your child already has and predicting what they will need over the next few months.
2. Be realistic about how much you really need. If you keep a kid’s capsule wardrobe (which I’ll outline in a future post), this will be much easier. Don’t forget to include clothes, books, games, and toys in your list! It is so easy to get pulled in by the great prices, that it is easy to bring home way more than you really need. After my first few consignment sales, I came home with lots of cute clothes…that we ended up consigning at the next sale because the tags never came off! Some items my daughter outgrew before she could wear it, or we found it wasn’t really her style. It was a waste of a few dollars and closet space.
3. Make a budget. If these trips are the bulk of your kiddo shopping every year, it might be helpful to set aside an amount of money every paycheck so that you have a big chunk of change to spend. Keeping within your budget will also help prevent impulse buys.
4. Know your prices. With smartphones, there really isn’t an excuse to not price check your items, especially things that cost a bit more. With larger purchases, such as furniture or big outdoor toys, this is a must! It is also helpful to have a “buy price” for your kid’s clothes. For example, I rarely pay more than $3 for a new, on sale t-shirt for my kids. If I find one at a consignment sale that is more than that, it isn’t a bargain and I pass it by.
5. Shop early or shop late. Most sales allow first time moms to shop early with consignors. Others also allow veterans, teachers, and other public servants to shop early. Check the website and sign up for these times if you qualify. Of course, you can always consign or volunteer in order to shop early, too. Shopping early allows you to get first pick and the best prices. Often the same exact item will show up multiple times, and being one of the first there allows you to get the one in the best condition at the best price!
Shopping on the last day when many items are marked half off is a great idea, too. Inventory will be less (at some sales, drastically less), and some items won’t be marked down at all. But the best deals can usually be found on mark-down day. Make sure you shop as soon as the doors open. Remember that volunteers and consignors often get to shop the half-off sale early, too.
6. Come prepared. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring a shopping cart or a laundry basket to carry your loot. Leave your purse at home if you can so you aren’t carrying so much stuff. Bring water. Bring cash to get through the line faster since many larger sales have a “cash only” line (and sometimes the card systems go down). Bring a spouse or friend to help you scout bargains, too!
When I get home, I like to go through my loot one more time and tally up my approximate savings if I bought everything new. This isn’t totally necessary, but it is fun and it can show you how worthwhile shopping these sales can be. I often save over $300!
Do you shop consignment sales? How much do you think this saves your family?