31 - 2008

Why shop resale – getting a $255 buy for $40

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Earlier this week, Little Cheap and I hit up the Savers location that was so good to us about a year ago. At that time, we found some paddock boots that Little Cheap needed for riding classes for $5.99, a great toy (a horse that walks for $2) and some other things too.

No paddock boots this time (darn!), but we did find two Breyer horses, which Little Cheap collects. She was pleased to tell me that the two for $3 and $2 was an amazing savings, because they regularly run from $15 to $50 new.

We stocked up on some clothes for fall (and falls to come). This shopping trip gives a glimpse into how we often shop to save big time. Everything isn’t organic or fair trade. But by buying used, we are keeping the general flow of goods down. And especially for children, it’s easy to find great brands in amazing condition. We buy designer clothes at Target-clearance prices.

Here’s the breakdown of what’s in that photo — and what we saved.

  • Ugly (“but I LIKE it, Mom!”) bandana print shirt – $2.99 – similar to what I’d pay on Target clearance, similar quality. Size L.
  • Ugly (“but I LIKE it, Mom!”) plaid polyester nightgown – $0.99 – the price is right! I think it was picked because it looks a bit Little House on the Prairie-ish. Size M. At least $6 on Target clearance. Savings: $5.
  • Burton kids snowboard jacket in new condition – $6.99. Gussets everywhere, pockets, a clear sleeve for your ski pass (my family and friends just fell off their chairs laughing, imagining our family skiing). Awesome! Size 10. This will be the jacket after this year. It will be great for the outdoor field trips at her experiential learning school when she grows into it. This jacket is similar and retails for $129. Retail savings: At least $90.
  • Gap puffy vest – $5.99. This is good for my kid who doesn’t want to wear a coat. Size S — she will only wear this this year. Compares at at least $39.50 retail. Retail savings: $33.
  • Leopard-print PJs – $3.99. “Those are kind of foofy, mom.” “They’re just PAJAMAS. They are like new and in your size. You’ll wear them.” “OK.” Ah, enjoy it while it lasts. Compare at around $15 retail. Savings: $11.
  • Polo T with horses on it and brown T with flowers on it – $2.99 each. About what I would pay on Target clearance.
  • Gymboree girls velour “Autumn Leaves” dress – $5.99. Size 10. Again for the future. Little Cheap had just announced she would not wear dresses when we saw this one and she said, “Well, maybe that one …” Retails at $32.50. eBay price is at least $14. Retail savings: $26.50.
  • Hanna Andersson girls cropped black pants with ribbon trim – $2.99. Size 120cm (about a size 7/8). Little Cheap loves knit pants and loved these on sight. She’ll wear them a lot this year, I suspect. Retailed for at least $30. Savings: $27.

So, how did we do? Our total savings over retail price was $192.50 not counting the cheap T-shirts I’d only buy on clearance. If you add $7 to each of those for their retail price of $10 or so, we saved more like $215.

That’s an 84 percent savings over the retail value.

Best of all, we’re recycling old stuff … and generally getting nicer stuff than I would buy new, for thrift-store prices.

Other places to find great deals include:

  • Consignment shops. Trade in your outgrown clothes for credit or cash.
  • Thrift stores, especially in nice neighborhoods where the goods are good.
  • Department store sales — I have found some amazing deals at Macy’s clearance (I never buy anything full-price there) — like pajamas for $2 and a gorgeous girls Christmas dress for $7 marked down from $62.
  • eBay.
  • Craigslist and Freecycle.

And did you notice some of those sizes? Little Cheap wears a 7. When I see something great for us, I snap it up. I have a whole bin full of clothes in the laundry room, marked “Not yet grown into.” When the season changes, we open it up, and as Little Cheap said this spring, “It’s like Christmas again!” Sometimes I don’t even remember what’s in there, especially if it’s been a year or two. If you shop that far ahead, do remember to review the bin before you start shopping. It would be such a bummer to buy a new winter coat when you have a $7 snowboard jacket in there already.

Speaking of winter, I’ve got to get my eyes peeled this year. I’m looking for a little something warm and sturdy in a generous size to hold us over for two years, till that one fits …

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