Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Money Saving Tuesday- Tag Sales

I love tag sales. I love them, love them, love them.

I never really understood the value of a tag sale until Madeline was born. I went to one with a friend who was looking for baby stuff for her child. And the finds! Oh my. Adorable clothes for 50 cents or $1. Puzzles that looked almost new for $1. A mirror for my house for $5 (now the dressup mirror). Another time we stumbled upon a carseat base that perfectly matched our carseat. It was $2. We had been talking about getting one for my parents to have in case they needed to take the baby (I was pregnant with Owen at the time) anywhere for us. But at $50 it was not in our budget. Well at $2 if fit right in! When Madeline was older and obsessed with Clifford we found a tag sale where the son had also been a Clifford fan and for less than $4 walked away with about 10 Clifford books. And the list goes on.

It is so easy to buy kids clothes at a tag sale. Kids outgrow stuff, people want to get rid of it and cheaply. I want to buy it cheaply. It is win-win right?

Last year I didn't make it to many tag sales and I missed them. So this year I started off early. A mothers of twins group was having a tag sale this weekend. I got there early (very important) and spent a total of $18. I got the following- 2 new board puzzles ($2 each), two puffy Lands End vests- one girl, one boy- ($3 each), four long sleeved shirts- 3T boys- (50 cents each), 1 button down boy shirt-3T-($1), a new pair of boys winter boots- size 9- ($1), two pairs of boys pants- 3T- (50 cents each), 1 girls tinkerbell shirt-5T- (50 cents), 2 sets of plastic baby silverware with travel containers (50 cents each). If you are doing math you know that this only totals $16.50. I spend $1.50 at the bake sale table. See I was supposed to go by myself but Jon had a science fair that he forgot to tell me about (oops) so I had to take the kids and rewards are great things when you want to shop. It was well worth the $1.50 at the snack table to get 30 minutes of good behavior while I shopped! Plus the money went to a good cause.

I bought 3T for Owen because he is currently in 2T. This winter he will msot likely start in 2T but I am betting with the rate he is growing he will need 3T by the end. So we will roll the pants in the beginning. The clothes are in awesome condition. And 5 shirts and 2 pairs of pants for $4, you just can't go wrong.

I won't be able to go every weekend. It isn't really advisable since I don't need that many clothes for my kids. I try to stay away from the knick-knack table. I can get easily sidetracked by them and buy things I do not need for myself. What helps me is to go with a plan- yesterday it was winter and fall clothes, with the allowance for a few new puzzles and board books. I didn't find any board books worth buying (although in the past I have had great luck with these as well as fabric books) but the puzzles were great. I did not get much for Madeline but we recieve lots of girl hand me downs for her and don't need as much. The puffy vest was adorable so I bought it and she loves tinkerbell so for 50 cents I "splurged." Buying at tag sales is also great because you can ask the mom how she liked the product. For instance, we bought boots at a consignment store this winter for Owen. They looked like a great deal, tags still on them and a good price (half off the rtail price). Well I didn't have Owen with me so I didn't try them on him. They were horrible to get on. We rarely used them because it took so long to get them on his feet. So when I found a pair of boots I asked the mom "how hard are they to get on?" She showed me how they opened right up and even said she had loved them so much she bought a pair in the next size up as well. It was a relief to hear that and know I won't fight with boots all winter this year!

Some of my favorite items to look for at a tag sale are:
books- any kind
kids clothes
baby items
dishes for me (ones that match my pattern)

I probably won't go to a tag sale next weekend, but I may if I have time. We have a little extra spending money right now and if I can build up the winter wardrobes now I won't have to find the money in the fall. Sometimes you can buy years ahead (think 4T, 5T). If I find an amazing deal (like a winter coat, brand new for $5) then I do this. but since storage is at a prime in my house (1100 square feet, no basement and limited closets, difficult attic access), I try not to plan too far ahead.

Do you have a tag sale strategy or favorite find?

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