You know they say "kids grow like weeds"? Well dang it all if they aren't right. Kids do grow like weeds. All wild and unpredictable. Then just when you think you've got a handle on them and they finally fit in what you've bought, they shoot up and suddenly everything is too short, or too tight, or a combination of both.
Now, we all know that I like to shop. But I also love a bargain. My mama didn't raise no fool. I'm not paying full price for anything. Especially my kids clothes. Do you know how expensive kids clothes can be? Stores like Gymboree and Baby Gap have cornered this market and are not letting go. However, there are ways around this. My top three are:
1. Coupons and clearance sections
2. Consignment stores
3. Online selling communities
1. Coupons and clearance sections - I pretty much only shop in the clearance section, or whatever is on sale. Since our winters are so long, it seems like sweaters and long sleeve shirts go on clearance long before Emily stops wearing them. Coupled with some good coupons, I can usually score some pretty good deals. One time I walked out of our local department store with over $200 worth of merchandise having only paid $48. That's a good deal if you ask me. Also, I think the sales associate that rung me up did something wrong, but I'm not telling.
2. Consignment stores - this one is a little tricky. Not every consignment store has good stuff. I do not shop at local consignment stores for a few reasons. The main two being that we only have four local stores to shop at: JCPenney, Walmart, Target, and Herberger's. Now, Herberger's does carry Carter's and OshKosh, which are two brands that I like and fit Emily well. Technically they are the same brand since Carter's owns OshKosh. But my other reason for not shopping locally is that my idea of "excellent condition" does not seem to be the same as other locals. 'Nuff said. I have found a consignment store about 1.5 hours away that I love. She carries good brands in good condition, has excellent prices, and has a buyer-rewards program. Gotta love it.
3. Online selling communities - did you know these even existed? Mostly on Facebook, these are private pages dedicated to the buying and selling of brand-specific clothing. I personally belong to a few Gymboree pages, one Carter's, as well as my local children's clothing site. I may not want to buy locally, but I sure as heck will sell locally. Again, these can be tricky. They have their own rules and lingo, and it is best for a newcomer to stalk the page for a little while to get a grasp on things. Also, read the rules. Every page has rules. You break them, you're out. No if's, and's, or but's about it.
I have to admit that I was addicted to these sites. They seemed like such a gold mine at first. There are photo albums dedicated to the size you need, and prices are usually very good. However, after receiving things, I'm usually more disappointed than elated. Again, my idea of "excellent used condition", or EUC, is often higher than others.
I've been somewhat successful at selling my items on the national pages as well as the local one, so that's what I mostly use them for now. The national one can be a bit of a hassle because then you have to ship your items. But, using paypal to invoice and create shipping labels makes this easy peasy.
Sometimes though, I do hit the clothing jackpot. Here's Miss. Emily in a Gymboree outfit I bought via the Facebook site: