Getting the Best Deals at Consignment Stores
With four children to buy clothes and toys for, I really like the idea of consignment stores. It is a great way to save money on nice clothes and gently used toys. Most kids wear through their clothes and get tired of their toys very quickly. Getting great deals at consignment stores is a way I save money each year.
The first thing to do is find a consignment store with high standards for the items they resell. Each store is different. You should talk to an employee and ask them what they look for in the items they resell if it is a consignment store that you are new to. Most stores will not accept clothing with stains or holes, however I have found that the people doing the checking sometimes miss things. While most items on the racks are going to be free of stains and holes, you still need to check carefully yourself.
While you are talking to the employee about standards, also find out when the current seasons clothing will be reduced for clearance. Knowing the date will allow you to get the first pick of the clearance rack. Shopping ahead of time for the items you need is a good way to get great deals on things. When the current seasons things go on sale, you should be shopping for the next years worth of clothes. Do not buy ahead on clothing that is full price - at consignment stores and retail stores. Only purchase in advance what you find great deals on.
To make the most of the first day of the clearance sale, visit the consignment store the day before and check the racks carefully. This way you will have in your head the items you would like to purchase the next day on sale - I have found they generally mark things down 50% when they are trying to get rid of the current seasons items to make room for the next seasons things. One year while looking through the ski pants and coats at a consignment store I spotted a very nice pair of Columbia ski pants in a size 10. They were priced at $20, which I felt was too high for a pair of ski pants that I didn't need for 2 more years and that were used. I kept my eye on that pair of pants and the day they went on clearance for 50% off I purchased them. $10 for a name brand, very warm, in great condition pair of ski pants was a very good deal.
Many consignment stores have special sales that last for a few days. These sales are typically earlier in the season, so you could get some good deals before the best clothing is gone. A resale shop here has a bag sale. You pay a certain amount per bag and you fill the bags as full as you can. This was not the best deal for older kids clothing as only a few items would fit in the bag, however if you are shopping for a baby you could hit the jackpot of consignment stores. I imagine you could fit 12-15 infant items in the bag, as opposed to the 4-5 I could fit for the size 6-8 clothing.
Selling at consignment stores is a good way to make money. If you accept your payment in store credit, the store will generally give you a larger percentage than if they handed you cash. I have found this to be a good way to purchase what my kids need for the next year. They will also let you accumulate the credits to be used on sale days, making good deals even better.
Purchasing toys, books and videos at resale shops will save you money as well. Most toys haven't been played with very much and many are new in the box still. I have gotten some great gifts from consignment stores, for a fraction of the retail price. I also frequently get videos for $2-4 each and books for $1-3. Both of these things are double or triple that amount at a retail store.
Shopping at consignment stores is a great way to get very good deals on clothing, toys, books and videos. They generally have very high standards and you can get like new items for a fraction of the retail price. You really can't beat it.