Have a plan when you shop at consignment sales

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A few years ago, I discovered the fantastic world of  kids’ consignment sales.

As a parent, you quickly realize that buying kids’ items at retail prices does not make financial sense, especially if you’re only going to use it a dozen or so times. Consignment sales offer a great way to save money on kids’ clothes, toys, nursery items and maternity wear. Seasonal consignment sales are becoming more popular as a way to replenish the kids’ closets with gently used, good quality children’s clothes for the new season, without paying full price for items the children will outgrow. Now I am not saying that consignment sales are easy. There are a few tips that can be vital to your consignment sale success.

The key to consignment sale success as well as success for most any shopping trip is to leave the kids at home. The first time I went to a consignment sale, the venue rang out with children who were screaming and crying. Do you know why they were crying? Not because they are sick or because they want to go home but because they want all the items at the sale.

You can’t expect children to sit nicely in a stroller when they see boxes and boxes of Legos or princess play sets displayed right in front of them. You will be able to do a better job at finding exactly what you need when you don’t have to worry about your 3-year-old throwing random toys in your cart.

As I am sure all of you can tell by now, I am all about a shopping list. Going to a consignment sale is no different. You will need to go to the sale knowing what you are looking for. If you are going to look for shoes, know what size your child wears and if he needs church shoes versus play shoes.

I know you probably want to casually stroll in and buy what you need, but with all the chaos (trust me), you’ll lose any thought process you had. If you have a list, you can use it as a guide to take you from section to section. It will help you keep on track when you have moms running into you or kids crying their heads off as you try to figure out what you have to get.

In addition to your list, know your price. If you don’t know your prices, you really aren’t maximizing your savings. Recently, I went to a kids’ consignment sale near my home. Many of the items are priced to go, up to 70 percent off, but some items were priced ridiculously high. It is important to know that the “sellers” are pricing their own merchandise.

Some of these “sellers” will think more of their items than you do. I saw a puzzle that retailed for $20, and it sold at the consignment for $15. I’m sorry, but that’s not a good enough deal when you can get that same item on Amazon for $13 with free shipping and you don’t have to deal with all the chaos. As you go through each item, look at the condition and even go as far as looking those items up on Amazon (from your smart phone) to see if you’re getting a great deal.

Now, do not get a false sense of easiness about consignment sales. They can be a lot of work. They are, however, a great way to save money on kids’ items. You pay a fraction of retail for gently-used and new kids’ items. Be on the lookout for Facebook announcements or announcements on your local news outlet for sale dates. The best part about these sales? Admission is generally free, so there is no reason not to try them out!

Happy savings!