Local Consignment Sales This Spring

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Shop savvy during this month’s (and future!) local consignment sales. You can save your family money with these 10 tips to help you make the most of your consignment sale shopping experience:

10 Tips for Savvy Moms

1. How Consignment Sales are Organized

The sale organizer provides the location, advertising and volunteer staff in exchange for a percentage of the profits of the sale. In our area, most consignors keep 70 percent of their sales minus an advertising fee (usually around $10) and the sale organizer keeps 30 percent. This percentage varies from sale to sale and consignors can increase their percentages by volunteering as a worker at a sale. In addition to organizing the sale, the sale owner is going to inspect each item for quality and stains; the consignor sets the price for each item. Because of that, a sale organizer can’t change the price of an item and there’s no negotiating to be done.

2. Locate Consignment Sales

There are several websites that list consignment sales. For instance, consigningtime.com, which offers a printable calendar of area sales and direct links to individual websites. Consignment sites may also have Facebook pages where you can obtain presale passes, and sign up for e-mails and other goodies.

3. Make a Shopping List

Know what you need before you go, because consignment sales can be overwhelming due to the amount of items being sold.

4. Leave the Kids at Home

Although you’ll be at a children’s consignment sale, it’ll be easier if you’re shopping alone. One way to do this is to swap shopping time another mom. Take turns watching each other’s kids.

5. Volunteer to Shop Early

When you volunteer to help work at a kids consignment sale, you get to shop before the consignors and the public.

6. How to Carry Your Items

While some sales provide baskets for you to hold your items, there will not be shopping carts. So bring something with you that will make the toting easier, such as a large suitcase on wheels or another type of rolling cart.

7. Savvy Shopping

Use your phone to check retail prices on items so you’re not paying too much. You should pay 30 – 50 percent of the retail price. Consignment Mommies has a great clothing brand guide allowing you to check the average retail cost by brand. In addition, Amazon is a great way to not only check price but you can also read reviews on items. And don’t forget to check kidsconsignmentsales.com.

8. Inspect Items Carefully

There’s nothing worse than getting home with an item and discovering a broken zipper.

9. Expect Crowds and Lines

Jenifer Gifford, owner of Once Around The Block Kids, shares this tip, “Shopping a seasonal consignment sale is a lot like shopping Black Friday. Seasonal sales are here today and gone tomorrow which creates an urgency to shop because you don’t want to miss out on the best deals.”

10. Payment Options

Check before you go to a sale to see what forms of payments they accept. Some sales do not accept credit or debit cards while others do not accept checks. If in doubt, use cash.

Shopping consignment sales is a great way to save money and get some much-needed clothes, toys and other items for your kids. With a little practice, you’ll be shopping like a pro in no time.

Julie King is a mother, freelance writer and savvy consignor.

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