"It's the best time to save money each year..." (to the tune of Most wonderful time of the year) With the coming of spring brings one of the most eco and pocket friendly things in my area. Consignment sales! Namely, Belles & Beaus in Lexington, SC (March 11-13) and Tot Trade in Columbia, SC (March 24-27). And let's face it, kid's cloths are typically outgrown before they are worn out.
I learned about Belles & Beaus thru a friend at church when I was pregnant with my first child. My husband & I signed up for there new mom's early entry day and off we went. I was about to pop at full term but was determined to find great deals while helping keep waste out of the landfills. Boy am I glad we went! We got a like-new baby swing that goes side-to-side or front-to-back for $70! Half the cost of a new swing and with the added bonuses of reducing waste thru reusing and the materials have long since lost that "new product" chemical smell. Belles & Beaus does a wonderful job of screening the items they accept as well so we purchased tons of great cloths for a fraction of the cost. Since that first visit to Belles & Beaus I have also started to consign items we no longer need; and each time I have made back at least half of what I spend at the sale...not a bad deal! They are helping the community as well by giving consignors the option of 1) selling items the last day at 50% off and 2) if the consignor so chooses, the items that do not sell go to a needy family free shop evening. I am so excited for the sale this year! It is the first time I will go and have two little ones to shop for (my son came home from the hospital the day before the last sale...but my wonderful husband went for me!) & I am sure that lots of great money saving and planet friendly deals to be had!
Another friend introduced me to Tot Trade when my daughter was about 8 months old. I got a wonderful deal on a baby pool float for $2! This sale is HUGE (and Belles & Beaus certainly isn't small)! Tot Trade also has a sale in Charlotte NC for those of you in that area.
Both sales are worth checking out and if you have time, volunteer to help work, set up or cook a meal... you get in even earlier! If you do shop these or other consignment sales I highly recommend doing these three things: 1) shop as early as you can, popular items go quickly (ie-Robeez, swings, strollers) 2) go back on the 50% off days...it's likely you missed something the first time around; I sure did! and 3) wash your reusable shopping tote and take them to stuff full of goodies, it is much easier than dragging around a laundry basket plus you have bags to take your items home in.
So, what if you need something now or are not in the Midlands of SC? No fear, other options are here! Here are a few shops and sites that I recommend:
Good as New - a Lexington, SC consignment shop (you have to be willing to search here but it's worth it!)
Once Upon a Child - a kid's consignment store with many locations
www.zulily.com - new items but they frequently have organic clothing at great prices
www.totsy.com - very similar to zulily
www.lilluxe.com - again, very similar to zulily
www.mykidscloset.com - an online consignment site
www.thredup.com - kids clothing and toy swap online
Even Goodwill can have great finds (Target in my area sends there zeroed out inventory to Goodwill!) And yes, while saving money is great this is a chance to reteach the way our children think about shopping... it doesn't mean your poor if you shop this way. It is a way to tread lighter on the planet and look super cute doing it!