Posts Tagged ‘consignment’

Catch That Train

Monday, September 19th, 2011

So the house has been on the market for over 3 weeks and we’ve had 3 or 4 showings so far.  After working hard all summer, we find ourselves lost on the weekends with *gasp* free time.  It has been hard to adjust to just sitting around, so I went and volunteered at the kid’s consignment sale last week to take up some time.

Lo and behold, if you volunteer you get to shop early at the 50% off days (as I’ve written many, many times).  Waiting for me last Saturday was a little battery operated train set for only $7.  My little man LOVES trains and I hoped he would like it…

Oliver and his daddy set up the tracks together and gave the train a spin.  At first, Oliver was a little scared by the noise the train made but…

after a few rounds, he couldn’t get enough!!!  The train makes a half dozen laps on the track singing songs, talking, blowing whistles, and making the chugga-chugga sound. 

Oliver was a happy camper.

Evelyn, on the other hand, was not.  She was uber frustrated that we wouldn’t let her derail the train.

She gave it her best shot and managed to catch it enough times that daddy had to corral her.

Look ma, I’m a tunnel!  (He thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread.)

Woo, woo!  Watch out for those little fingers!  Silly mommy, don’t you know that Babyzilla is impervious to plastic trains?

Once Evelyn found the magnet play book that I picked up for Oliver, she lost all interest in the train.

So instead of working all day on Sunday, we played with trains all afternoon.  I’d say that’s a good trade-off don’t you think?  Woo Woo!

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

Soundoff: Tornado Touched Down in our Living Room

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Argh!  Evelyn is letting you know how we are feeling this weekend with the state of our house.  Our house is packed with items that we need to clean, sort, put out, and store after shopping at the consignment sale.  Combined with the mess from swapping rooms last week, the family is going nuts with the chaos.  The hubby went out and bought a dozen storage bins to get us organized.  Between that and laundry we have been up to our eyeballs today with housework.

Tomorrow we are both working at the consignment sale to pay our dues for shopping early.  My hubby is pulling the morning security shift and I get the late evening sorting shift after the sale closes.  It will be interesting to see how Evelyn will take to her bottle when I’m gone for 5 or 6 hours.  So far she’ll only drink an ounce or two at the most, and that’s in between all the screaming she does.  Oliver has come down with a cold, so we expect tomorrow to be rough.

On the bright side, Evelyn is more vocal than ever.  Whenever she’s awake, she likes to squeal, coo, and make noise in general.  Oliver was an intense, quiet little dude in comparison. Evelyn loves, loves, loves looking at her brother.  She breaks out in a big grin whenever she sees him.  I can’t wait until she is old enough to interact with him.  I can already tell that he’s going to be her hero.

We are going to pull through this weekend somehow and I’ll be posting our consignment sale finds next week.  I want to do a little price comparison to show how much can be saved at these sales.  I also have a nice cheesy, meaty dip recipe to post in time for Super Bowl Sunday.  It’s an old family secret, so don’t tell my folks!

Hope you are having a great weekend!

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…

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Christmas at our house was low key this year.  We didn’t even cook a roast beast and opted for a Chinese buffet.  No mess, no fuss, and thankfully, no dishes!

We went shopping in our attic for Oliver’s presents.  I have Rubbermaid bins upstairs that have great items that we’ve purchased at consignment sales for mere pennies and have saved for Oliver.

We did splurge on a couple new toys for Evelyn that Oliver hasn’t chomped and drooled all over.

Oliver kept going to the tree to admire his handcrafted Christmas ornaments.  This was easily one of the most fun projects we have ever done.

We spent the day listening to Chrismas music, playing games, perusing our presents, and stuffed ourselves at a Chinese buffet.  I’d say this was one of our best Christmases ever!

Frugal Tip of the Day: (you know I’ve gotta have one!)  Save those bows and reuse them!  We’ve been using the same bag of bows since 2006.  We even have favorite bows that we look forward to using each year.  Also, save the wrapping paper if you have kids.  The backside makes great art paper.  On most wrapping paper, the inside is nice, smooth, and has a satiny finish.  This is great for finger painting!

Saving money by reusing, recycling, buying used baby gear.

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Believe it or not, one of the many deciding factors for having a second baby so soon after the first was that we still had all the baby gear.  Veteran parents can sympathize with how much “stuff” costs.  Other than diapers and wipes, we have spent very little extra with our second baby.

Oliver still remembers his play gym, but is graciously sharing with his sister.  Since the kids grow out of their toys so fast, most all of his stuff is in excellent condition.  Another way we were able to save money was from the help of very generous friends and family members who have donated baby clothes for Evelyn.  Again, newborn and infant items are usually in mint condition and can be passed from family to family for several babies’ benefit.  Our daughter thanks her fairy godmothers for the cute outfits or she would have been in all of Oliver’s blues and browns if her parents had their way.

If you truly need something that you don’t have, buying used is a great way to save money.  Yard sales, Sunday ads, consignment sales, and are all great ways to find good condition baby items.  We bought this swing for a third of its retail value from Craigslist and it works great.

I know quite a few people who would never buy used baby items.  They’re worried about hygiene, safety issues, quality, whether or not it matches what they already have, etc… Some are also worried about some sort of stigma that they perceive with second hand things.  Well, I’m here to tell you that there are some great, high quality, fashionable, and safe things out there.  Babies phase through their first year’s equipment so quickly that most items look brand new. 

Frugal Tip of the Day:  Don’t be afraid to give second hand a shot.  Reuse, recycle, and save a pretty penny.  Also, don’t be afraid to let people know that you are looking for things.  You will be amazed how mothers pull together for each other.  Someday you will have the chance to do the same.

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