Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thought Provoking Thursday

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!


Happy shopping!

20 comments:

TinaC

I've always wondered if these sales just have clothing for toddlers and babies, or if they have stuff for older children also. Mine are 11 and 15. You wouldn't have noticed that would you?

Laura Webber

Sorry, your kids are too old for M2M merchandise... Have you tried the trendy resale shop called Plato's Closet? They even have dressing rooms to try on the clothing!

Lacey

Oh, goodness, the line for that sale was LONG! It was my first M2M sale, and it was GREAT! :-) Now do you have any tips for finding clothes for Mommy as frugally as finding clothes for the kids? I see that you mentioned Plato's Closet. I haven't ever shopped there, but we have two in our area. Are they very teeny-boppery (that's not a word, huh?), or do you think a 27-year-old mom of four could find some clothes that wouldn't look too ridiculous on her there? :-)

Carrie

I am very excited for Thought Provoking Thursdays. I have a 3 year old boy, and a one year old girl. I love mom2mom sales. For me, I have a few rules that I follow as well. I am a picky mom2mom shopper. I feel that if I am going to buy something used, I want to get high quality, excelelnt condition, and cheap price. For example, my favorite brands to buy are Old Navy, Gap, Children's Place, Carter's, and a few Botique brands. They wear well, they hold up good, and I know how the sizes run. I also will not pay more than $3 for pants, or $2 for a shirt. You can get great deals on toys too!

Laura Webber

I'm hit and miss with Plato's... I tend to shop off season... so I am looking for next years summer wardrobe NOW!

Old Navy has quite a few trendy short sleeve shirts (age appropriate :)) for $4 right now!

Happy Old Navy-ing!

Laura Webber

Hi Carrie,
Yep! I'm with you on limiting the amount of money that you are willing to spend per item! It is rare that I will ever spend more than $1 per piece of clothing!

Macomb Money Savers

Great article, Laura!

Let it be said that my children might have nothing to wear without the help of M2M sales, garage sales and thrift stores. Now they have more clothes than they can wear for pennies on the dollar. Plus, if you don't have anyone to hand the clothes down to, you can resell many of them at a M2M sale for almost the same price when you're through!

I've been both a M2M shopper and sale organizer and find them to be one of the best events for all who are involved, both buyers (who are finding good homes for items taking up space at home) and sellers (who are finding great deals on kids' items that are quickly outgrown)! I started shopping when I was looking for maternity clothes and continue to shop for my preschoolers.

$1/piece is my limit, too, although now that my son is approaching size 5, it's tougher to find clothes at that price in good condition! I DID find a NEW pair of Gap adjustable khaki pants for $3 last weekend at a M2M sale.
A little bit of a splurge, I suppose!

Laura Webber

I LOVE when $3 GAP pants are called a 'splurge!!!' You kill me! (But sheepishly, I agree!!!)

Theresa

The link mom2momlists.com didn't work for me?

Laura Webber

Sorry, it is now fixed!

AngiesDesk

Don't forget clothing swaps. This is where people bring in their gently worn and clean clothes either bagged or boxed by size. You give what you no longer can use and take what you need now. We have had them in Madison Heights, Warren and Sterling Heights. Also on FREE CYCLE you can find and give clothes for FREE.

Laura Webber

Wow! That's awesome!

Anonymous

I've never been to a department style m2m. Are you able to negotiate a price on items with the seller at this type of sale?
Bridget

Kristin

Hello Laura,

I do not see a photo of the alphabet thing you "stole" from me... I was whiny about it all night. LOL. I should have just left her the money, darn it!! ;) Hope your son enjoys it!!

I got some good deals that night too... spent $8 and got 3 dresses, one cute Tigers oufit, and a spring coat!!

co wendy

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