Consignment and garage sale season is nearly upon us! Now, the important disclaimer here is that I definitely don’t claim to be a frugality expert – in fact, I have so much room for improvement in the money-saving department and learn so much from my mommy friends around me on this topic! Regardless, I get a little giddy when it comes to the chance to shop a huge warehouse of darling little things, and the fact that I might be saving a little money while doing it, well, that just happens to be a bonus.
However, these kinds of shopping experiences can also be a bit overwhelming – which makes this post the perfect opportunity to utilize my type A personality and plan my method of attack …
1. Take stock.
I make a point to actually fold the laundry that’s been piling up (usually for much too long) before visiting sales. I look for a time where I can un-distractedly sort through my children’s current state of belongings and note pieces I might need. I also think through any upcoming special occasions, celebrations, holidays, or times when they might need a certain kind of outfit. Buying these special outfits from sales not only saves money buying used, but usually saves me the headache and extra cost of buying at the last minute.
2. Check sizes and create a list on your phone.
Much like the above tip, I make sure to reevaluate the sizes of my kiddos. I then record these updated notes in my phone. I’m sure no one else has this problem, but if I stash a list in the bottomless abyss of unnecessary treasures that is my purse, I may lose it, forget it, or be too frustrated in the moment to dig to the bottom to find it. If there’s anything I really need, I make sure to write it down in a running list on my phone. Mommy brains can only hold so much information and keeping a list accessible helps to maintain the small level of sanity that still exists and keeping it on my phone ensures easy, organized access.
3. Go early.
To me, it’s worth it to pay the couple extra dollars of an entrance fee to be able to sort through the best goodies first. Plus, if you spend a few minutes ahead of time searching on Facebook or Googling coupon codes for various events, you can often find free access passes readily available for download!
4. Plan your priorities.
* Start with the priority purchases. I like to make my seasonal purchases from sales to avoid the markup of buying new. I like to stock up on pajamas since we practically live in them, but seeing as we only wear them around the house, buying new seems like an unnecessary expense. I like to look for clean, good condition socks because in our house, matches are a miracle to find. Stocking up on them cheap tends to serve us well in the long run.
I like to buy pieces that can be worn most often for multiple purchases. Personally, I love sweatshirts and hoodies for my kiddos to double as not only a cute outfit, but also warm layers on cold mornings.
* Looking down a vast row of choices, it’s unrealistic to think you will browse every option.
* Buying used allows me to be a bit pickier about what I purchase. I try to only buy items that I really think are darling or know my kiddos will really enjoy.
Even though an item might be “cheap” in comparison to what it retails for, if I am not choosy about my investment, I find myself spending more money than I need to because I didn’t really like the item in the first place or my kids find them itchy, scratchy, or much too tight.
At the end, I find a quiet corner, lay out all my purchases to review and total the final damage. This is where I will consider the investment most carefully, check carefully for stains or wear and make sure that the items are the right sizes. Going with a good friend is especially helpful at this point if they can help you sort through your thoughts, evaluate the wearability options and the deal you are actually getting on the pieces.