Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thrifty Tip of the Week

For the week of January 17th:


Due to the condition of our economy, I know that most of you are familiar with consignment stores. For those who are not or have some negative feelings about thrift stores, this post is for you.

There is no feeling greater than for me to go shopping for my kids and to walk out of a store with deals and lots of money still in my pocket. Consignment shopping is a great way to get what you need and still have money left over to do other things. 

Here are a few pointers for beginners:

Where to shop.

Look for consignment shops in your area and also look in the "well to do" areas of your city. You will be shocked at what most people give away. There are also consignment shops that buy back your "barely worn, previously loved" clothing, toys, and baby furniture. So, if you need a little cash, try this. It will not be as much as you paid for the item, but it's something.

What to look for.
When you walk into a consignment shop, it can be very overwhelming. There are a lot of clothes, but most of the time they are categorized into types of clothing, sizes, and ages for babies. Always look for the clothing that is in good condition or the ones that only need minor repairs. Most of the clothes that I find for my kids have not been worn and still have the tags on them. Also, try to buy the size up. This will allow for the previous washing of the garment and in case some shrinking has occurred.

"I buy name brand for the quality....".

I must admit that I am not a "name brand" shopper, but there is a lot of truth in the phrase, "You get what you pay for". Yes, "Ralph Lauren" will outlast some other brands, so if it is longevity that you are seeking, then sometimes buying the better quality is the way to go. I have found countless brand names in the consignment shops with the tags still on them. My most recent find were "Old Navy" jeans for my 4 year old and my 22 month old. The cost was $5 for my 4 year old's and $1.50 for my baby. Now that's a deal! 

When can I find the best items?

Once you find a store that you like, ask them what days their shipments come in. One of my favorite stores receives its shipments on Wednesday. So, I know that if I shop this day, I am most likely to see all of the items before they have been picked through.

"I don't like buying everything consignment, but I still want to save".

The only thing that I don't like buying consignment for my kids are their shoes. I like to buy them new, so that they can get a lot of  wear out of them. Unless, I am looking for play shoes, I usually shop other places. For the items that you want to purchase new, try discount stores. For example, Marshall's, TJ Max, Ross, and Khols. It is amazing how much cheaper you can purchase items for at these stores when compared to Macys and many other department stores.
A great tip is to go to the pricey department stores and look for the item you want. When you see a pair of shoes that you must have or a dress that would go great with those shoes...take note, but don't buy. Make another trip to one of the discount stores and look for those same items. It may take you a week to a month to find them, but I guarantee you will find the exact item or ones that are the same style for a much better price.

How much will I save a year shopping this way?
Well it really depends on how often you shop, how many people you are shopping for, and what items you are purchasing. On average for a family of 4, you will save from $200-$300 dollars a year on clothing alone.

For those who have never tried consignment shopping, try it. Do it as an experiment to see how much you actually save. I promise, you will get hooked.  For the items that you purchase new, remember to keep them looking new. Wash in cold water on delicate cycle and clean shoes often. This way when your kids have outgrown their clothing, you can bless someone else with clothing that is in good condition. Whether it be family, friends, or passing it on to a thrift store. Someone's "give aways" can be another person's treasure.