I'd like to introduce an new feature that I think could be helpful to many of my readers,
Thought Provoking Thursday.
Thought Provoking Thursday's goal it to offer a new-ish perspective to saving on necessary items aside from our grocery and household needs. Each week I will bring an idea to the table to share how I personally tackle areas of my own family's spending. I am hopeful that my faithful readers will feel the freedom to offer more advice through comments below each post.
1 jacket, 1 hoodie, 6 shirts, 1 vest, 2 sets of jammies, 5 pair of Gap socks, and 8 pair of pants: $19.50!!!
This week, inspired by my friend Jolyn, I'd like to share how I personally save money in the area of kids clothing.
I have been an avid Mom2Mom shopper since I was about 6 months pregnant with my son. Dave and I decided to be surprised at birth by the gender of our child... but I didn't want my child to only be paraded around in green and yellow clothing post birth, so I decided to find out exactly what Mom2Mom-ing was all about.
I was shocked the first time that I stood in line waiting to enter the doors. I had no idea what kind of goodies were waiting for me to bring them home.
Mom2Mom sales are, in my humble opinion, the equivalent of a giant yard sale of all things child related! Big stuff like cribs, strollers and high chairs, all different sized clothing & shoes, and even toys and books. One location houses between 20 and 100+ 'vendors.'
The best place to learn when and where these sales are being hosted is at mom2momlist.com. Gaining entry to a sale is usually $1, although some sales will have an 'Early Bird' special allowing you to pre-shop 30 minutes to 1 hour earlier for an extra $1... go for it!
My personal strategies to effectively shopping Mom2Mom sales include:
1. Shop ALONE. (Or at least with adults). Some M2M's allow strollers (their post on the website will share that info with you!) some do not. Strollers, in my opinion, hinder shopping for everyone- and no kid enjoys it! (M2M's are always crowded!)
2. Wear comfy clothing/shoes.
3. Bring small dollar bills and lots of quarters! (yep, $.25 can actually purchase good stuff!)
4. Bring your own bags! I (like Jolyn) bring my BIG blue IKEA bag with me... I hate, hate, hate trying to shop with a million little grocery sacks hanging up and down my arms.
5. Plan to arrive early!!! You would not believe the lines that will form! (*I went to a M2M in Grand Rapids, MI this spring that hosted 225 vendors. The lines were a couple hundred strong... right Lacey?)
6. Hit the 'Big Stuff' room(s) first. Even when I don't think that I need a large item... something may catch my eye! (The large stuff room is where, obviously, the bigger items are. Each vendor usually has an 8' tables worth of space to sells their goodies... so the big stuff needs its own location. Plus it is nice to comparison shop stroller to stroller all in one spot- and it forces the sellers to price competitively!)
7. Know what kind of a M2M you are heading to. Basically there are 2 types:
1. Traditional style: each table owner does their own transactions.
2. Department style: shop by size and item and cash out at the end of touring all of the items.
Most Mom2Mom sales offer light refreshments like home baked goods for a nominal price, and these funds along with the entrance fee go towards raising money for the sponsoring organization (like a Mom's club).
I like to shop several Mom2Mom sales per season. I try to pick up the items that we are about to need (like long sleeves and pants) and I also try to keep my eyes open for what the next season will hold (last Spring I bought my son his winter jacket/snow pants set for this winter, $8). Some sales are hit and miss... but some sales you just hit the jackpot!