Last weekend, I went to my favorite place to buy my children’s clothing! I shop at a local children’s swap meet, where there are over 100 tables of other local moms, selling their used children’s and infants clothing, shoes, toys, strollers, etc. It is a phenomenal place to get everything you need for your kids for the next season, all under one roof, all on one morning. It’s a long anticipated, and carefully planned event for me, as I want to make the most of each opportunity. I try to go about 3-4 times a year, depending on my children’s needs as they outgrow their clothes.
Without further adieu, here are my finds:
For my almost 3 year old daughter:
4 dresses/jumpers (one Gap and one Next- very nice quality, and two others that are for everyday)
2 skirts (Children’s Place and Bum Equipment)
2 dressy shirts- one short sleeved Old Navy, one long sleeved Gymboree)
3 casual long sleeved shirts (Old Navy, Children’s Place)
1 knit sweater
2 pairs two-piece winter pajamas
1 pair Osh Kosh suede-look winter boots
1 pair Gap khaki pants
For my 5 mth old son:
1 pair corduroy Please Mum (excellent Canadian brand) overalls
3 long sleeved casual shirts (all Old Navy and Please Mum)
1 long sleeved button up shirt (Children’s Place)
1 knit sweater (Old Navy)
1 pair soft leather booties (ugly laces, so I’ll replace those for $1)
1 corduroy fall/winter jacket
And, I got a brand new $9 sleeper (with the tags still on it) for $0.50 that I will use as a baby shower gift. (
Grand total (drum roll, please…):
Here are my basic swap meet rules:
1) I don’t pay more than $5 for any one item, no matter how nice.
2) I always remind myself that no matter how nice those $9 baby Gap jeans are, there is another table selling something similar for half the price, and I need to leave quickly (before I loose my resolve!) and go find it!
3) I always, always, always barter. And it works best if I can find more than one item at a table, so that I can group the items together and offer a lump sum for all of it. People are more likely to accept this, as it feels like they are making more money, and they are selling several items at once that they might otherwise not sell.
4) I plan ahead (for weeks, sometimes), going through my kids current clothes, looking through the bins and bags of clothing in the next sizes up to see what they already have, determining what they truly need for each new season, and then making a detailed list. At several points during my swap meet morning, I will get out that list to check off what I have already bought, and determine what items I need to still keep an eye out for.
5) I put in my pocket the specific amount of cash that my husband and I have budgeted for the needed clothing. Nothing more. When that money runs out, I’m done. If I finish checking off items on my list before it runs out, I get to have fun!
I love to challenge myself each time, to see whether I can get even better deals and get more for my money than the last time! On a side note, although I also use garage saling and thrift stores for my clothing purchases, I prefer the swap meet because there is so much under one roof, and it’s rarely hit and miss. I can always count on a good selection of all the things that I need, and I don’t waste precious time hitting stores or garage sales that don’t have what I am looking for. That said, I’ve often found great deals in both places, so I never rule them out as options.
For more great more saving tips, check out Super Saver Saturdays at Crystal’s blog.