As a general rule I try not to spend more than $1 per article of clothing, but will occasionally splurge on something we either need asap or something I really like. I did really well. In total, I was out shopping for 3 1/2 hours Friday and Saturday. I had the kids by myself for 2 1/2 of those hours, but let me tell you, they were so well behaved. They went to two houses without the stroller because they were fairly quick and easy stops, but rode quite nicely in their stroller with their bags of cereal. The only annoying part was that I had to keep unloading and loading the stroller and driving, because there were little pockets of yard sales with big stretches in between.
I have a lot of needs this year, so I'm starting out the yard sale season with $200 to buy clothes and some miscellanious items for the family. In June or July, I'll get a second TBD budget, so while I need to spend the money wisely, I do have some wiggle room to buy for the future.
Here's what I bought:
|Current size and season: PJs-5 boy 1 girl, pants/shorts- 4 boy 9 girl, shirts- 13 boy 9 girl, dresses-2, float swimsuit =44 items|
I was able to even out the pricier items by finding a house charging $.50 per item. I spent $21 at that house alone because the sizes worked out perfectly for most of the current clothes. The average house (that I actually bought from) was charging $1 per item so I left most of those with a handful of items too.
For everything pictured above (all 96 items), I paid $84. I was able to almost finish my son's summer wardrobe and get him a better start on next winter. My daughter just has a few loose ends for the summer as well, but still needs some things for winter.
I was also able to find a $5 bike with training wheels for my daughter (for next year) and a $5 baby/toddler swing to put on our swingset. It's pink, but $5 is much better than the $25+ I've been seeing in the stores. We also found a few other toys that helped to bring my total to $101. It may seem like a lot to spend all at once for clothes and toys, but I could have easily spent that on 3 new pairs of pants from Gymboree (I have at least that many for my son in the pictures above).
So, if you've been thinking that the various forms of second hand shopping aren't worth your time, I'd think again. I stopped at several houses with popular name brand clothing for teens and preteens too, so it's not just something you can do for little kids.
A few ideas I try to stick to when second hand shopping:
- Know the places to go- if you're new to an area or new to buying second hand, ASK around. Some areas charge a lot more than others for pretty much the same stuff.
- Know what you're shopping for- all the "great deals" can seem overwhelming and you could end up buying stuff you won't use or don't have room for just because it was a good price.
- Set and stick to a budget. If you only have $20 to spend shopping, take $20 in cash and leave the rest at home.
- Prioritize your list. If your kids need clothes now, concentrate on getting those clothes first. In the past when I've only had $10-20 to spend, it was really hard to pass up some 50 cent clothing that was still a year or two out, but there will always be more sales and it's important to take care of your immediate needs first.
- Buy outfits (especially with girls) or items that go with things you already have. Don't buy a pair of leggings that has limited matching potential unless you also buy the matching shirt. I used to buy all sorts of pieces for my daughter with the intent of finding something to match it with later. That led to all sorts of frustration when I'd go through the piles of clothes and not be able to find anything that matched.
- If you need to take young children along, take a stroller. I find it easy to give them a snack to munch on while we go from house to house, unload and load, drive, unload and load. Also, if your budget allows and your time has been lengthy, I'd reward the kids with a little something. My kids tend to get a bit spoiled with new to them toys in the summer, but they also know that they can't have everything and they need to behave in order to pick out a new toy.