With consignment season in full swing, and the Rhea Lana’s week-long sale starting today, we wanted to share our favorite tips for secondhand shopping. And, who better to do this than Brianne Miller, the voice behind Just Trying to Save Money. We are excited to have Brianne on board as a Cincinnati Parent contributor — look for money-saving posts from her in the future!
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Consignment Sales are becoming big business when it comes to moms and dads wanting to save money on everything from kid’s clothes, to toys, to baby accessories and more! Other moms and dads wanting to unload items they are no longer using allows others to save big if they are willing to buy gently used instead of brand new! Here are a few tips to make the most of your money and time while shopping at your next Consignment Sale!
1. Measure Before You Go
Use a cloth, soft measuring tape to either measure your kiddo or an outfit that fits them well. Keep these measurements with you as well as the measuring tape to check when you’re making your purchases. You can purchase a medium at one store and it fits perfect but a medium at another store fit too tight! Shopping at a Consignment Shop is like shopping multiple stores at one time, so 3 pairs of pants in a size 6 will all fit differently!
2. Make a List and Have a Plan
After you have measured your kiddos check their closets or toy bins to make a list of items you are looking for! This will not only help you stay on budget but will keep you focused and not buying items that you just don’t need!
3. Bring Cash and Make a Budget
Although there are some Consignment Sales that offer you the luxury of using your debit/credit card, stop by the bank and take out the amount you would like to budget for the sale! Items quickly add up and before you know it, you’ve spent most of your kiddos college fund buying items you just don’t need. Take the card with you in case there is the one really great deal that you just can’t pass up but keep it reasonable. If it wasn’t on your list to begin with, you probably don’t really need it!
4. Be Prepared
Shopping at a Consignment Sale can be exhausting and leave you in starvation mode. Making rash decisions and buying things you just don’t need all in the name of saving money! So bring a few snacks, bottle of water, wear comfy clothes and shoes to keep you going through the day without a meltdown. Also some sales will charge a small admission or may have parking fees associated with the entrance of the sale, be sure to check before you head out! Check for Pre-sales as well, this is a great way to get in before others to snag the best deals!
5. Bring a Shopping Partner and Your Large Bag
This will make for a more enjoyable shopping experience but will also allow you the opportunity to bounce ideas off of some else. “Do you think this is cute for Billy?” “Do you think Sally will play with this?” And who doesn’t love to shop with a friend?!? A large bag or basket are great for carrying around all the great finds you will snatch up throughout the day!
6. Leave the Kiddos but Bring the Stroller
While having a shopping buddy is fun, having kiddos to chase around a busy shopping frenzy is not! And while you are not bringing the kiddos, bring the stroller, it is a great tool to have to carry all the items you want to buy!
7. Do Your Research
Knowing the prices of items before you head out to shop will save you a ton of money! For instance, I know there are several times a year that a local retailer may have their brand new jeans on sale for $8 each. So while heading to the Consignment Sale and seeing those same used jeans for $8-$10 each may seem like a great deal because their regular price is $22 each, I know I get them for $8 each if I just wait a few months! So know what you’re paying for and if it is really a good deal!
8. Prices are Not Negotiable
Although this may seem like an oversized garage sale where people are clearing out their home of unwanted items leaving you the opportunity to talk them down in price, Consignment Sales are not one in the same. These prices are what they are listed and that’s final! With that, most sales will have discounts on the last day or last few hours to help get rid of all the items in the sale! So you can snag some great deals if you are willing to wait and hope the items you want are still available!
9. Find High-End Items
These Consignment Sales are great for finding higher end items without paying the high end store prices. So be on the lookout for items from the bigger name brands at a great discount price.
10. Arrive Early & Stay All Day
The best items will go quickly! So arrive early if you are looking for specific items especially if they are popular sizes, styles, brands, toys, etc.; most likely others will want those same items! Shopping at Consignment Sales are not for those wanting to make a quick trip to get something new. These types of shopping extravaganzas will have long crazy lines and be busy, busy, and busy! So clear your schedule and plan to make a day of it! And just have fun, who couldn’t use a day of therapy shopping!!
Brianne Miller is the voice behind the popular blog, Just Trying to Save Money. This mom of three loves sharing money-saving tips, local deals and all things frugal! Follow Brianne on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo credit: emma.kate.