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Written by:  Cristi Driver
Date: August 20, 2010

Kids’ consignment sales come but twice a year, and for the novice shopper you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of sales going on around the Triad. Here are some tips to the most of these treasure troves. All it takes is a little planning ahead to get the best bargains.

1. Find the location and dates of the sales you want to shop. There are many seasonal kids’ consignment sales held all over the Triad each fall and spring, so decide if you want to hit one big sale or visit several.

2. Volunteer!
Once you decide which sales to shop, consider volunteering to work the sale. Almost all consignment sales offer special early shopping hours for volunteers. Several work shifts are available before and during the sale and are can be lots of fun to work. The earlier you get to shop, the better stuff you get to chose from!

3. Set a budget. And stick to it.

4. Know what type of payment each sale accepts.
Find out beforehand if a sale accepts cash or checks only or also accepts credit cards and come prepared.

5. Make a list of what you want/need.
Do you want fancy holiday outfits? Soccer cleats? A baby swing? When you get to the sale, head to those areas first to get what is top on your list as the bigger items tend to go more quickly.

6. Know your clothing brands.
You don’t want to pay $5 for a Garanimals shirt that’s $2.50 brand new at Walmart. You also don’t want to overpay for brands like Jumping Beans, Circo, Kid Connection, Carter’s, Faded Glory, Sonoma, Arizona and Old Navy. All of these brands are easily found at retail stores on sale. Keep your eye out for the things like Baby Gap, Gymboree, Children’s Place and designer labels.

It’s also really helpful to know how certain brands fit – i.e. some brands tend to run smaller than others, especially cheaper brands, and some brands shrink more than others after washing, so keep that in mind when buying used clothing.

7. Inspect your items before you buy.
 At the sale, take time to sort through your items and meticulously inspect them for any stains, holes, rips, excessive pilling, fading or other flaws. Remember all sales are final!

8. Know new purchase prices before you buy used.
This is especially true for larger items like baby equipment or furniture. If you’re only going to save a few dollars buying something used, it’s probably better to wait and buy it new.

9. Be careful when purchasing used car seats.
Car seats expire after six years, a little known fact. Check the manufacturer dates on the tags. They also cannot be used again after being in an accident. Buying used, you may not know if a car seat was ever in an accident, even a minor one, so inspect it carefully.

10. Consider waiting to shop on half-price day.
Most sales offer half-price days on the last day of the sale. If you aren’t looking for big ticket items or anything special, then these are the days to shop as you can get many items for as low as 50 cents to $1 per item.

Happy shopping!


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