Consigning Savings

If you let pride goeth before the poor house you need to take a serious look at your priorities. You can pay full price. Or you can save yourself up to 75% just by being open-minded about where you shop.

Ever shopped in a consignment shop? Years ago I needed to get my hands on some biz wear PDQ… I wanted brightly coloured jackets to go over neutral shirts and pants, but everything in season was dull and boring. Off I went to a consignment shop to see if there was stuff from previous seasons that fit the bill. Yes there was. And the prices were about a quarter of what I would have had to pay new. And thus was born my love of consignment shopping.

There I was picking up big-name jackets for a quarter on the dollar. These were clothes that were in perfect shape. Often you’ll find stuff with the tags still on in a consignment shop because the fool who bought it had more money than brains. You, on the other hand, have savings because you have brains.

But buying isn’t the only way to use a consignment shop; you can sell stuff too. Want a new, fresh handbag? Take your gently used purses to a consignment shop and sell ‘em to fund your new purchase. Less money out of your regular cash flow means you can have what you want and save too.

Whether it’s the Michael Kors jacket you fell for then seldom wore, or that Emanuel Ungaro that just a tad tight, your once-loved pieces can be a true joy to someone else. And you can pocket some loot so you can buy something new-to-you.

Don’t think consignment is just about clothes. There are consignment shops for furniture, baby gear and décor. Sure, you may have to do a bit of hunting to find what you want. Hey, isn’t that part of the fun? And isn’t a little extra leg-work worth the gobs of money you’ll save?

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Gail Vaz-Oxlade

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23 Responses to “Consigning Savings”

  1. I couldn’t agree more! In fact this weekend I will be consigning all of my baby’s stuff that he no longer uses at a huge consignment sale here in Ottawa. Not only will I be making money (I’m volunteering so I will be getting 80%!) but as a shopper at the sale I will be saving money on stuff my growing boy needs now. Next season or next year the stuff I buy this weekend will be consigned at the sale! It is a shopping/savings cycle that is great for all parents. OutGROW OutPLAY has saved me and my friends a ton of money since our babies were born! Now I need to find a place to consign the furniture I have taking up space in my living room.

  2. We bought a new house, and replaced all the windows and doors with new ones. I don’t want to spend the money on curtains for 24 windows, so I have been picking up second hand ones for $3 a set a the local Paws and Claws store. It supports the local humane society. That’s a good deal!

  3. There are a number of groups started on Facebook for selling and buying items. There are at least 4 that are relatively close to my area alone. It’s been a great way to get some extra cash and to get a few good deals (though buyer beware, I just got burned too). Why pay full prices when you can pay a fraction of the cost? For appliances, etc. do your research first; check to see if an item has been recalled. One that I bought was, but the company replaced it free of charge, so I paid second hand price for brand new :)

  4. avatar Elizabeth Says:
    April 18, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I whole-heartedly agree about shopping and selling consignment! If you’re going to sell, you should look up the store’s website first to see what they do and don’t accept and if you need an appointment. The stores in my area are super-fussy — no walk-ins, and for clothing your stuff must be less than two years old and in pristine shape.

    There’s one consignment shop in my area that is volunteer run. You get 50% of what you sell, and the other 50% going to local charities (and to the upkeep of the store, I’m sure). It’s a win-win, IMHO.

  5. I love consignment shopping! So many great deals if you take the time to look through the racks. I have sold a lot of clothes this way to, although lately I have been donating my business attire to ‘Dress for Success’.

    Funny you should mention Michael Kors; I bought a beautiful spring T-shirt of his at Value Village last week for $6.99. It had obviously never been worn. I also bought my two young nieces about $200 worth of clothes (JOE Fresh, Osh Kosh, Please Mum, etc) for about $60 there a few weeks ago. They go through clothes so fast – who can afford to pay full price?? The best thing is, they will get passed on to other children when my nieces have outgrown them.

    I actually think I learned the phrase ‘pillage the Village’ from a posting you wrote about your daughter Alexa! :-)

  6. six bucks a blazer at goodwill can’t beat the price labels don’t matter to me

  7. I love shopping in consignment shops or second hand shops! You never know what you will find and the prices are wonderful! I love buying jeans at these shops. Last trip I bought jeans for $4 each – and they look amazing! Consignment stores are great places for baby and kid’s items too! So often you get baby clothes that they outgrow so fast, and they are still brand new! I saved lots of money shopping for my kids there. Once the clothes are washed once, what’s the difference between new and used? No one needs to know – and really, WHO CARES?? :-)
    Also love second hand building stores – lots of great stuff for your home at great prices!

  8. Yep, they are great places for buying and selling.

    MONEY MORON starts TONIGHT on Slice ~ can’t wait!!! :D :D :D

  9. avatar Thrifyone Says:
    April 18, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Great idea – however, I have been looking for a consignment store for baby items and household goods in my area and can’t find any (except for Once Upon a Child). Anyone from the Maple, Ontario area know of one close-by??

  10. I have a problem getting clothes that fit correctly. I have shopped at the consignment store, but I also get flustered by the haphazard racks. There are some great labels there, but I just can’t find things well. I have never been a shopper, so the frustration is too high for me. If I need clothing, I want to get in, and get out. So that means I shop in Florida when I’m visiting my parents, and my mother can take me to the places she knows things will fit me. There is finally an Ann Taylor in Canada. I just don’t want to drive three hours to get to it. But I may need to in the fall.

  11. avatar SavingSara Says:
    April 18, 2013 at 10:35 am

    So true, just this weekend I went into a consignment store I had previously brought some clothes into. I got a “new” Nine West work dress priced $29, between a seasonal sale and an unexpected credit from my own clothes I walked out with the dress and $0.95 in my coin purse. Not quite enough for a tea but I was thrilled!

  12. Love consignment shopping. I rarely buy new clothes for our kids, yet I always get them great clothes at next to nothing prices. I also sell clothes as soon as they outgrow them. I either list on kijiji, on several Facebook ‘mom swap’ groups I’m a part of, or as a last resort, sell them to Once Upon A Child. Whatever doesn’t sell, gets sent to the nearest Women and Children shelter to us. There are so many positives to doing it this way, from saving money, to teaching your children to be smart with money, to teaching them to look for quality over brand, to being environmentally responsible, to helping others who may not be able to afford ‘new’ clothing. Most often I’m appalled when I’m in children’s stores in the mall now – who is paying $22 plus tax for a pair of shorts for a 2 year old? Not this Mom!!

  13. I am a devoted thrift store shopper for furniture, baskets, ornaments, vintage suitcases, kitchen stuff and more but not clothes. I agree with Lisa that I find thrift stores and consignment shops confusing. Also, being a plus size usually there is not a big selection to choose from and it is rarely stylish.

    I did find a pair of sandals at my local Thrift Shop that were brand new and fit me perfectly but that was a one-time bit of luck. Normally I buy shoes and clothes new (but nearly always on sale or with coupons!). I am not that concerned with fashion but fit and colour are important to me.

    The other thing I do for clothes is trade with friends. As we change sizes up and down, we swap clothes. Somehow it is less icky wearing clothes worn by friends then strangers!

  14. I worked in women’s consignment for a number of years. Some of my clients actually made consignment a second source of income finding gently used clothing at garage sales, thrift shops and deep discount sales then flipping them through consignment to make a small profit. They satisfied their love of shopping and made some money at it. I still love to shop consignment myself and the more times I visit retail stores and am brought up short by the outrageous prices the more I love to shop consignment!

  15. I am always amazed by the sheer volume of baby clothes you can buy second hand. Between buying kids clothes before you know what size they’ll be that season and well meaning gifts a lot of babies have more than they could ever use. . . and it mostly ends up at second hand places.

  16. @Thrifyone; If you are willing to drive to Brampton next week – the Brampton Multiples group is having their Spring Sale next Saturday (April 27th)

    http://www.twinsplus.ca/p/sales.html

    Great Sales and Deals.

  17. avatar psychsarah Says:
    April 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I am not a “shopper” by nature either, so find the hunting at consignment stores frustrating (also as a plus sized woman, there is often little selection) for myself, but I love love love them for my son! I have found snowsuits for 15 dollars that sell for $85 new (I literally saw the exact same item selling new at that price!) and as someone above said, it would cost a fortune every season to outfit a kid with all new clothes! I haven’t gotten to the selling stage, as I’m saving stuff in hopes having another kiddo soon, but I love the idea listed above about consigning items and then donating them if they don’t sell-win win win!

  18. avatar Sharon-Ann Says:
    April 19, 2013 at 12:26 am

    I work at one, buy from and donate to. If people have time to look and patience, there are many great finds, and some with the tags still on them. I know lots of people that have bought so many childrens clothing and donated them to local schools for underprivalidged children. It’s a great way to save money, get up to date clothing, and have “make over” for a pick me up

  19. I honestly am one of those that doesn’t have the patience for consignment shopping in-store…I almost never have found what I’m looking for (again, it’s the patience…probably not the stores, though in my frustrating experiences is has become obvious that not all consignment stores are created equal).

    Kijiji and the local Buy n’ Sell groups on Facebook have totally replaced them for me! There are loads of mums on there selling lots of kids clothes at $5 for half a season’s wardrobe! It took me a couple less than ideal experiences where I came away with a *few* nice things but mostly junk before I knew what to look for, but I’ve got it pretty well down now. The main thing is to not waste your time with people who claim they’re not good at taking photos…sometimes that claim is legitimate, sometimes it’s just a lazy iPhone-toting, Instagram-using, obviously technically competent person who doesn’t want to admit that most of the lot is garbage. So see CLEAR pictures of the items before taking the time to meet them.

  20. I used to find digging through the racks at consignment/second hand shops for kids a little frustrating, but kept at it for the savings. Eventually I came up with a strategy that takes a lot of the aggravation out of trying to find certain sizes or items. Now I generally scan the racks for items at least a size bigger than my daughter needs. I wash everything and hang them in the guest room closet. As seasons change or she out grows an item she heads for the closet to find the replacement ready to go. If I went to a store today expecting to find a blue shirt in her size I might be lucky or I might not. I know she loves blue, so there are already blue tops in her next two sizes in the closet. I found them by chance when she already had one to wear. Shopping a season (or year ahead) takes the pressure off. The other bonus of buying second hand, is that all the shrinkage has already happened. There’s nothing more annoying that spending money on a new item only to have is shrink a size or more the first time you wash it. The pants you thought fit, or would fit for a while is suddenly barely covering their ankles.

  21. avatar Christine Says:
    April 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Consignment stores are, indeed, the less expensive route for shopping. My daughter, who is expecting a baby this June, picked up 3 pieces of maternity clothing (1 dress, 1 jean skirt, 1 blouse) for $15 + tax. The clothes were in excellent condition and only a fraction of their original cost.
    Consignment stores also have sales which increase your savings :)

  22. I’m a devoted thrift store shopper… our local clothing thrift store sells anything in there by the bag. Everything you can fit in a bag for $4. On my last trip I got 33 pieces of clothing, including two pairs of pants for me, a spring jacket for me, and tons of clothes for my two baby girls… grand total of $9.

    Our family of 4 lives on about $1400 a month right now and without thrift stores there is no way we could afford as much nice clothing for our kids.

    We are devoted Gail fans, and since watching Til Debt do us part years ago we have gotten rid of $76,000 in debt, we own our home and don’t have a mortgage and only have $2000 in credit card debt and one vehicle to pay off and we will be living COMPLETELY debt free! Less than 12 months to go! If we can do it living on a low income (thanks to those jars), anyone can!

    Thank you Gail!

  23. I lost weight and need new things to wear but instead of shopping everytime I went down a size I took things to a consignment shop and got some new ones til the next time… I ended up clearing over $500.00.. a great way to get extra money and some very fashionable clothes..

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