Archive for the ‘Consignment Sales’ Category

Christmas in July – Kid’s Consignment Sale

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

This last weekend was the big biannual kid’s consignment sale at the state fairground.  This is the first sale that I haven’t volunteered for and shopped early for in 2 years!

With the baby boom over, there’s not much that we need right now.  I picked up a few books for Oliver that were more age appropriate (a.k.a. Not board books), a few Sesame Street videos, and a Sit-N-Spin.

Evelyn got a Bat and Wobble Penguin, but she was way more interested in whatever her big brother was doing!

All my items were $2 or less and I spent $21 the first day.  I went back on the 50% off day to buy some clothes for the kids.  Oliver has officially outgrown all 24 month and 2T clothes and Evelyn is in 12 month clothes now.  I spent another $30 for 26 items of clothes and the kids are set until winter.  If you have kids, consignment sales are the way to go!  With 2 kids, saving money is always a good thing.

Over $750 Saved by Shopping at Consignment Sale

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

It’s taken us almost a week to clean our consignment sale finds, organize the new items, and put away the old.  We went out and bought 6 more clear Rubbermaid bins to store the things that Oliver’s either too old or too young for.  The clear bins let us see in an instant what is inside each box.  This is incredibly helpful as we recycle the items for Evelyn as she grows into them.

Oliver loved these trucks.  They are in perfect condition and look like they were never used. 

I searched for toys appropriate for a 2 year old.  The gear board is for an older child, but we couldn’t resist spinning gears for Oliver.  We picked up the cutest little tin lunchbox for him to tote his toys in when we travel or go on playdates.  He hasn’t quite figured out what the See N Say is supposed to do, but hey – it spins!  The xylophone is surprisingly in key.  We will bring it out when we have our music days along with the other instruments we’ve picked up from each sale.  The bowling set will be excellent for building his gross motor skills.  He hasn’t figured out how to roll yet, but we still have tons of fun knocking them down.

At every sale we look for wood puzzles or wood Melissa & Doug learning games.  A few of these items are too advanced for him and will go up in the attic, such as the alphabet puzzle, farm maze, and lacing game.  The rest are right up his alley and were even brand spanking new!  None of these items were over $3.

Bring on the books!  I also hit up the book section at every sale to keep adding to our library.  Oliver loves reading, eating, and drooling on board books.  Right now he is big into trucks, cars, and anything with wheels.  He also likes animals.  All of the books are used, some gently, others not so.  Most of the books come packaged together.  For example, we got 3 Touch and Feel books for $1, 3 Things That Go books for $2, and 5 Truck and misc books for $2.  The advanced books go up in our attic.

There’s even stuff for mommy to read!  I’m also slowly building up our flashcard and educational items box.  The kids are too young for them now, but they may be useful in the future.  The flashcards were about $1 a box.

The more expensive items were still a great deal!  We found the high chair that we wanted for Evelyn.  It straps to your kitchen chair and saves the floor space from having a standalone high chair.  Oliver has his potty, so we can start teaching him how to “go” and I finally have a real diaper bag!  It’s taken me this long to figure out what configuration I need and lo and behold, the first bag I picked up suits me to a tee!  I can finally get rid of the free hospital bag that’s starting to wear through at the bottom.

Oliver’s most loved new item is his train table.  He literally spends hours each day playing with it.  I help him put the tracks together and then we run the trains around it.

He also likes his bead wire toy.  The hubby says he’s never known a child that actually plays with these things, but our son loves sliding the beads along the wires.  And guess what?  The beads spin! :-)

That’s pretty much all we purchased at this sale.  I didn’t get pictures of the shoes, the play kitchen and play food.  We spent $250 and ended up blowing our budget by $50.  I found the prices for most of the items brand new and they totalled $1,014.87.  I did not add in the costs of all the individual books, the trucks, some toys, the shoes, or all the play food.  Buying secondhand, we saved well over $764!  I dare say that we are closer to $1,000 if I were to go back and include the other items.

Here are the take aways from this post:

1) Consignment sales are our biggest money saver.  Please check them out yourself.

2) One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.  Please don’t throw away your items.  Become a seller, earn some money and make other frugal families happy.

3) Plan, plan, plan and be organized.  I asked for help from the blogging community before we went to the sale on what to buy a 2 year old.  I did research online and asked friends who have kids.  By creating a list, we were able to maximize our savings and only buy what we wanted/needed.  If you do not, I garuntee you will get overwhelmed, start impulse shopping, and spend way more than you wanted.

For reference, here’s my price list.  Most of the items I found the exact same brand online.  For a few, I picked the closest match:

roller coaster bead maze by anatex – 69.99
bowling 24.99
mother goose 14
take and play thomas 22.99
gears 39.99
cups 5.99
xylophone 36.95
summer infant step by step potty 21.99
diaper bag 30.79
kitchen 78.99
pots and pans 24.97
baking 24.97
plates 24.97
high chair 64.99
zoo – 25.99
abc – 14.99
farm puzzles – 11.99
magnet fish – 12.99
lacing 9.99
large peg – 14.99
farm maze – 16.99
touch and feel 6.99
big truck – 5.99
can you see – 13.99
bb flash cards 5.49
eric carle flash – 15.95
play food step 2 101 piece set 39.99
play food small world 19.99
lunch box 11.99 tin
transforming train and activity table – 140.00
120 piece train set – 120.00
fisher price trike – 39.99

Day One of Consignment Sale

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

We survived the sale with all pieces intact!  This is a pic of us leaving before they even open the doors for the regular volunteers who are lined up in the distance.

The hubby got there about 1 1/2 hours before they opened the doors for the super work exchangers (people volunteering 2 or more shifts).  There were probably a couple hundred people in line to get in early.  The kids and I swooped in 30 minutes prior to checkin, get our gear ready, and rev up our engines.

Our first stop was the large item area where we scored with an awesome train table for Oliver.  He is going to LOVE playing with it when we get it set up.  We paid $50 and it came with a 120 piece train set, activity paper, and 2 stools.  The train table transforms into an art/activity table.  Retail price is $140 for the table and $120 for the train set.

Next stop was outdoors for the riding toys.  Oliver loved this part.  I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head.  Wheels, wheels everywhere!

I was tempted to get this little rocker for $5.  It took him a minute to figure it out, but he loved it.  Instead, I’m opting for a bouncy rocking horse on springs some day.

He liked this little trike and is able to push himself around.  For $3 it wasn’t a bad find.

We then journeyed into the big building and wow!  They had mountains of stuff piled on hundreds of tables.  Thankfully we had our lists and headed off to our sections.  Otherwise, we’d be totally overwhelmed.

At this consignment sale they had shopping carts, which was the only way we could have done it with 2 kids.  The hubby had our handtruck/rubbermaid bin contraption and I pushed the kids around.  If we had packed our double stroller in the van we wouldn’t have had any room for our goodies.

Oliver did really well for about the first hour.  Evelyn lasted about 30 minutes and then it was meltdown city.  I carried her in a sling for a bit and that didn’t work!  We headed for the nearest exit after 1 1/2 hours of shopping.  They hadn’t even let in the regular volunteers yet! 

I dropped off the kids with the hubby and jumped back into the fray to finish shopping.  I stayed for another 2 hours or so and it was madness when the regular volunteers joined in.  I’ll have to save that story for another day. 

As we clean up our stuff this weekend, I’ll post some pics and you can see if we came in under budget or not!

Consignment Sale Here We Come

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

We devised our gameplan for tomorrow, have arranged meeting times, and have blocked out sale strategy.  I think we are ready for the big consignment sale tomorrow!

Thanks to some great suggestions from my readers, I have come up with a short list of items that we will look out for:  (the items in bold are our target items, the rest are just extra ideas in case we see them)

halloween costumes for dress up and pretend play
trains, cars, firetrucks, construction vehicles and anything with a remote control
melissa & doug learning toys and puzzles
, flashcards, learning items
bead and wire cube
musical instruments
large outdoor play items
something Oliver can ride and push himself
small train table
pretend kitchen set
compact high chair that straps onto kitchen chair
1 more baby gate
shoes for Oliver and 2T shorts for summer
twilight sea turtle
foam blocks
step stool
learn to dress toys
Montessori materials

Evelyn doesn’t have anything on the list except for the high chair.  The hubby seems to think I’m going to go nuts buying girlie stuff for her.  I told him the Barbie dolls don’t come until later… :-)

The hubby is getting off work early to stake out our place in line 2 hours before they open the doors.  I’m bringing the kids 1/2 hour before opening.  I plan to carry Evelyn in the baby sling, put Oliver in a shopping cart, and the hubby will haul our handtruck and rubbermaid bins.  We’ll go for the bolded items first and then the hubby will split with the kids leaving me behind for the little stuff.

Our goal is to find age appropriate toys for Oliver in the 2 year old range and to round out his 2T clothing stores.  At home we will be packing up all the 1 year old toys and bringing down the baby toys from the attic.  Come the next big sale in July, we will finally start selling our baby gear as Evelyn outgrows them!  Our budget is $200.

In theory, this should go off without a hitch.  In practice, someone just might get hurt tomorrow! (just kidding)  I’ll let you know how we did on Thursday.  Tomorrow, there will be no post as we will be recovering.

Please give us ideas for the consignment sale

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Help!  What do 2 year olds need?   Clothes, shoes, books, and Melissa & Doug wood toys – check.  What else? 

The hard part about big consignment sales is shopping only a few times a year and trying to plan for your needs.  At next week’s sale, we will be looking for summer items for the kids.  Shoes are hard for me as I have no idea how fast toddlers grow.  I’m just going to get several pair in the next couple size up for Oliver.  Evelyn is a little easier since she won’t be walking this summer.   For clothes, I’m guessing that 2T will suffice until they are closer to 3?  There is no 2T and 1/2 equivalent to 18 months.  How big do kids get anyways?

I also have a hard time knowing what Oliver’s needs are for the next 6 months to a year developmentally wise.  Books and blocks are easy, but what about other things?  We have a bin of Lincoln Logs up in our attic waiting for that “day” that he is ready for them – which apparently will be YEARS from now!  To avoid another goof up like that I’ll have to do some research between now and then.

At last year’s summer sale we purchased a nice big slide for $10 and have kept it in the living room.  That has been one of the best investments we have made.  Oliver has learned to climb up and down and to slide on his belly and facing forward.  He would experiment with sliding different toys down and hiding them under the slide.  We used the slide for games, puppet shows, and he likes being up high – the king of the world.  Outside we have another slide and a big wagon.  He loves those too, but where do we go from here?

Any parents out there care to chime in?

Winter Consignment Sales Are Here

Monday, January 10th, 2011

The blogosphere has been buzzing lately with consignment sale news.  Most big children consignment sales have a winter and summer sale.  The winter sales are right around the corner, usually in January and February.  The biggest sale for us, Kids Exchange, is in 7 short days.  I love, love, love consignment sales and list them as the Number 1 money saver for our frugal little family. 

If you have children or know people with children- please, give consignment sales a visit.  You will not only save a pretty penny, but you will be contributing and giving back to the vast network of families that participate.  In fact, participate yourself!  Empty your closets, garages, and attics of outgrown or unused children’s clothes, toys, gear, etc…  You will be recycling your goods and making someone else very happy.

To prepare for the consignment sale season check out my top 10 tips for shopping at a consignment sale .  If you aren’t convinced of the savings, see how we fared at last year’s summer sale .  For specific advice regarding how to sell and price items check out the Consignment Sale Queen.  She has been there and done that!

Frugal Tip of the Day:  Get online and search for a consignment sale near you.  Tis the season for second hand savings!  Most winter sales are gearing up right now.  Take the plunge and become a seller – you might have something that I could use, you never know…

Kids Winter Clothes for Pennies

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

At the latest large consignment sale I was able to score some winter clothes for the kiddos at rock bottom prices.  As with most of the large sales, the clothes racks are stuffed to the gills with mostly gently used items.  I always wait until the very last day of the sale when the majority of the remaining goods are marked down.  At the most recent sale, the last day was 50% and 75% off day. 

Oliver is now wearing 18 months and will probably grow into 2T during the winter.  We have a few pairs of pants, a couple of long sleeve shirts and a handful of short sleeve shirts already.  Our baby girl will be born at the end of November.  We plan to reuse much of Oliver’s baby clothes and jammies, but Oliver was born during the summer.  The seasons are all opposite and he doesn’t have any winter 0-6 month clothes.  At the consignment sale in July, I picked up 3-4 little sweaters to layer over his summer clothes.  At this sale, I wanted to get some pants for her to wear over his onesies.

Here’s what we ended up with:  18 pieces of clothes (6 infant pants, 4 toddler fleece pants, 1 jumpsuit, and 7 long sleeves shirts)

Here’s what I paid: $11.43 (including tax)

What a bargain!

Frugal Tip of the Day:  I will say it again and again.  If you have children, check out your local consignment sales.  While they are young and not picky about their outfits, wait until the last day to shop for the deep discounts.

Kids Consignment Debate: To Volunteer or Not.

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

While working yesterday, there was a debate going amongst the volunteers on whether or not it was worth it to work 2 shifts just to shop 2 hours earlier than the 1 shifters.

I say that it depends on:

1) The age of your child.  There is a plethora of items for infants, babies, and young children.  However, as your child ages above 4 or 5 years the merchandise thins out.  There are less clothes, less toys for older kids, less kid gear, etc…  You may want to be a double-shifter to buy stuff for your older children.  I’ve seen many parents focus on clothing in sizes 4 and up in particular.  If you have babies or young kids, waiting two more hours to shop isn’t going to make a big dent in the 100 hundred exersaucers that they have.

2)If you have other children or other sources of kid stuff. If you have readily available second hand goods from other children, friends, or family members you will inherently need less stuff and it may not be worth putting in the extra time.  This is also true if you have generous friends or family members who stock you up during the holidays and birthdays.

3)If you have specific items that you are looking for. Make no bones about it, if you have specific items that you want or need, the only way to ensure that you find them is to volunteer for extra shifts and shop early. 

For example, we wanted an outdoor play set, a Sit-N-Stand stroller, and a changing table.  These are considered to be “big ticket items”, meaning that they are large, often more costly, and usually have a smaller inventory.  When the doors opened, there were only about 10 play sets, about 8 Sit-N-Stand strollers, and maybe 15 changing tables.  By shopping first, we had our pick of the litter in both price and quality.

4) How thrifty you want to be.  There is an inverse or negative correlation between the amount of time the sale has been open to the amount of low cost items on the shelves.  In other words, as each hour and day passes, the number of low cost items dramatically decreases and all you are left with are the expensive, no discount items in the end. 

For example, when we shopped first (2 hours before the regular volunteers) we had our choice of 2 identical play cubes with the exception of the price tag – one was $10 and the other was $30.  Same with the changing table – ours was $10 versus $20+.  We were able to save over 50% just by being there first.

5) If you are looking for the best value.  Shopping early gives you an advantage if you are shopping for the best value.  You will have more choices of the same item to chose from in a varied price range.  Sometimes it’s not about finding the cheapest price.  It’s about finding the best quality for a price you can afford. 

For example, when we purchased the strollers we were the first people looking amongst the 8 or so Sit-N-Stand strollers.  After test driving them, we chose a $60 model.  By far not the cheapest, which was $20, nor the most expensive, which was about $80, but it was the cleanest, most complete, most balanced, and the smoothest.  Being that they retail for $120+, we were willing to pay $60 for a decent stroller.  We got the best value for our money by shopping first.

6) How much free time you have.  Unfortunately, no matter how you feel about reasons 1-5, if you don’t have the time to volunteer for more shifts, or if you can’t get off work for the early sale then you simply cannot do it.  Most people forget that time is money.  The amount of money spent on a babysitter or the amount of money lost from not working those hours isn’t always worth the savings you could find. 

My hubby and I could not possibly swing volunteer shifts on any day but Saturday or Sunday.  That narrows down our options immensely. If I had not signed up on the very first day that we could, we might have been screwed.

So, are you wondering why I dedicated an entire blog post to the “Volunteer Debate” versus waxing poetic about the color I am going to paint my nails today?  Simply put, I did not hear one thoughtful conversation about this while I was volunteering.  Many of the volunteer veterans were pushing the “its not worth giving up 5 more hours of your time for 2 hours of shopping” to the newbies who were asking.  The biggest reason they gave was that there was so much stuff that 2 hours wouldn’t matter. 

I don’t think it is that simple and I hope I’ve helped some of you to decide for yourselves what is more important.  If you think that I’ve put too much thought into such a trivial matter, just wait until you see my blog post about whether or not to buy brand-name versus generic canned goods…

Hubby Caught a Shop Lifter at the Consignment Sale!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Both my husband and I completed our volunteer shifts at the consignment sale today.  I worked from 845am – 2pm and he worked from 145pm – 7pm.  Well, he actually got let go over an hour early – lucky dog.  He brought the baby to the sale and swapped me for a grimy orange volunteer vest.

He worked security and stood at the door checking people’s bags against their sales receipts as they left the building (think Costco).  He busted two perps during his shift – a small child and a forgetful mom.  The child was with his mom who was leaving the building without purchasing anything.  Unbeknownst to her, he had a toy in hand and was heading out the door.  Using his eagle-eye, he spotted the object and wrestled him to the ground.  Well, not really, but it does sound cooler that way.  The other suspect was a woman who had shopped her fill and then unknowingly walked out with a bag over her shoulder that still had the tag on it.  Oops!  He had another bust under his belt as he had someone chase her down before she made her escape in her waiting vehicle.  Not only did he see some action, he also got off an hour early to boot! 

I had no such luck.  I spent 2 hours sorting through thousands of 3T girl clothing items on the rack – taking out clothes of different sizes, rehanging fallen items, and pulling items without tags.  Then I spent 2 hours working in the checkout “corral” pulling tags off items and bagging them.  Then it was 1/2 an hour in the book room moving one stack of books from one table to another and then the last 1/2 hour wandering the clothes racks tidying up and praying that my hubby would get there early to relieve me.  I hung in there better than I thought.  I took 3 short breaks, mostly to cool off and get off my feet.  By the end of my shift my feet and my lower back were hurting, but it was worth getting to shop early on Wednesday.

What did I learn?

1) Volunteer with a friend.  It helps the time to pass when you have someone to talk to.  If you are alone, talk to the other volunteers.  Again, same concept.
2) Wear comfortable shoes. 
3) Bring water and snacks in a bag/purse, etc… that you can wear. 
4) Dress in cool clothes.  Those vests they make you wear are HOT as most of them aren’t ventilated.  Imagine wearing plastic wrap over your clothes and then run around for 5 hours.
5) Smile and talk to the shoppers.  Many of them want to know how they can “get in” on the sale (ie. how to be a seller).  You can drag out a conversation for at least 10 – 15 minutes.  Not only is this good advertising, but it passes the time and brings in more merchandise that you can pilfer through at the next sale!

Tomorrow, I get to go in early for the 50% off sale.  I’ll be looking at a few basic items for a newborn.  Not too many though as we will probably recycle what Oliver had and we will probably get some clothes as gifts.  I’m also going to grab some basic 2T stuff for Oliver. He has enough pants, but we are light on the long sleeve shirts.  This is where I get all my $1 deals on clothes.  I can’t wait!

We Survived the Kids Consignment Sale!

Friday, July 16th, 2010

I’ve had a few inquiries as to how the sale went on Wednesday and to be totally honest – I have been recovering for the past 2 days, almost out of commission.  I had to wear my right arm in a sling most of the day and slept as much as possible around the baby’s schedule.  We are true consignment warriors! 

This is the first sale that we’ve taken a fully mobile child to, the others he either wasn’t born, was in daycare or was at home with dad.  Considering the magnitude of this sale, dad had to come with me to help me haul stuff which meant juggling baby on a hot, hot, hot summer day. 

Here’s how it went down:

My hubby got off work early to be there by 130pm and to grab a spot in line.  We got there at 2pm and the doors didn’t open until 3pm.  They had people lining up down the side of the building and with the sun directly overhead there was zero shade. 

You can see me here in bright orange holding an umbrella over my little one.

There were probably 25 spots ahead of us (maybe 40 people).

And who knows how many people were behind us!  The line went passed the end of the building. 

Let me be clear that this was just the line for those of us that had volunteered to work 2 or more shifts.  We are called the “Super Work Exchangers” and we are the first group to shop on opening day at 3pm.  On the other side of the building the one shift only volunteers or “Work Exchangers” were also lining up to shop at 5pm. 

We brought our wagon and our hand truck/rubbermaid bin contraption to the sale.  You can see in the photos above some of the other devices that people brought to haul stuff away.  They had strollers with bins strapped to them, wagons with pvc pipe clothes racks screwed into them, luggage carts, laundry baskets, garbage cans – anything and everything.

After about 15 minutes in the hot sun, the baby and I had to retreat to the air conditioned van.  At 2:45pm, we got the call from the hubby that the masses were stirring.  We joined him back in line and everyone had started packing up their folding chairs and getting their carts lined up and ready to go on the sidewalk.  At 3pm the doors opened and we surged forward, electricity rippling down the line.  My hubby followed us with the dolly and at one point our wheels got locked together when he bumped us.  Here we are holding up a line of hot, anxious shoppers – I’m surprised there wasn’t a mad stampede!

Once inside, the crowd dispersed as people speed-walked their way to the big ticket items.  I had already secretly laid out the game plan to my hubby in case anyone was eavesdropping and we hit the ground running.

In the first building, where the big ticket items were, we would hit up the outdoor play equipment.  While one of us guarded our find, the other would go stake out a changing table for the new baby.  One of us would pay for those items, while the other ran into the stroller corral to find a double stroller for both kiddies.  After paying for that, we would head to the second building, stopping to grab a tricycle on the way and score a wood work bench for our son.  After that, we’d go to baby gates and bed rails, then onto wood puzzles/toys and musical instruments.  Finally, we would end at wooden train sets and Fisher Price Little People.  We did all this in 45 minutes.

Oliver was a champ!  Once we found a little keyboard for him he was content to play music for us while we shopped.  You can see our dolly on the right and his tricycle hanging precariously off the end of it with the work bench stacked on top.   And by the way, the rows and rows of tables behind us – this picture was taken from the front wall of the second building and we were about 1/2 way down the wall.

Here’s a pic from the front wall to the back of the building – mind you, only 1/4 – 1/2 of the building is shown.

Now are you starting to see why you can save so much money at consignment sales?  They literally have everything you need at discount prices (5% – 30% off retail values).  Not only do you save money, but you recycle goods and keep things out of our landfills. 

This time around we had a pretty modest haul in comparison to our infant crazy days of last year.  Here’s a brief list of what we picked up:

Climbing cube and slide, outdoor play slide, changing table, Sit-n-Stand stroller, tricycle, wood work bench, 4-5 wood Melissa and Doug puzzle toys (these “toys” rock), 2 wooden train sets, 2 keyboards, a baby gate, a bed rail, foam alphabet floor puzzle pieces, 20-30 books, 3 sets of picture flash cards, 3 Baby Einstein videos, 4 pairs of jammies, bath toys, bath tub spout cover, bath toy hanging bag, sleep positioner, and my personal favorite – 4 large tumbling mats!  The mats are going to be awesome to place around the climbing cube so we don’t have to worry so much about our son cracking his head on the floor.  They’ll be great for tumbling too.  I can’t wait!

As the days pass and we clean our treasures, I’ll post pictures and prices.  Right now I am headed to bed as I have to get up early to work my volunteer shift tomorrow.  I don’t know how I will manage the 5 hours of standing tomorrow being pregnant and all.  It will be a challenge.  My hubby trades off with me mid-day to do his security shift. 

Some people ask me if it is really worth volunteering just to get in early.  I say, YES!  By the time the public gets to shop I would estimate that 40-50% of the items have already been hauled off by us volunteers and sellers who got to shop early.  I know that when I go in tomorrow, they will have consolidated the items down to one building.  Don’t forget that the volunteers also get to go in early on Sunday when most everything that is left is 50% off.  (That’s when I shop for baby clothes and get them at $1 per item.)

There will be a couple smaller sales before my baby girl is due, but we are pretty much stocked up on baby stuff.  Maybe some clothes (girl outfits are so cute) and other rare treasures that we will spot for Oliver.  Otherwise, I think we had a good day!

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