“I swear those pants fit yesterday!” If you're like me, you have said this more than once. It’s truly amazing how fast kids grow! One day something fits, and the next it seems like it’s way too small. When my son was born, I was amazed at the price of his tiny outfits. These prices were typical of what I would pay for my own clothes! It also seemed that he outgrew clothes at an astounding pace! Some outfits were only worn a few times before they were too small.

I'd heard about children's consignment sales from a few other moms and decided to give them a try. I found so many great baby and children's items, and at a fraction of the cost of retail.

So what is a consignment sale? Consignment sales are temporary events typically held in the spring and fall of each year (March and September in my area). Sellers enter their gently-used children's clothing, toys, and other items and receive a portion of the price in return when their items sell. Some of these sales are run by private companies while others are staffed by volunteers and held in local churches or community centers. In some instances, profits benefit local charities. Because many of these items are heavily discounted from their original cost, it's an excellent way to outfit kids for less.

Follow these tips, and you can start scoring great deals too!

Know your prices

Though most items you'll see at sales are substantially discounted from their original store prices, some deals are certainly better than others. Making yourself familiar with children's clothing and toy brands will help you snag the best deals quickly! If you are unfamiliar with a brand and happen to own a phone with Internet access, quickly check your prices before purchase.

Know what you need

Though you can't really look for anything specific, have a plan of what you're shopping for. Many areas have both spring and fall sales. Are you shopping for birthday toys, holiday toys, holiday outfits, etc? What sizes do you need? Going into a large sale can be overwhelming. Make sure you have a plan in mind.

Shop the discount days

Most consignment sales have at least one discount day at the end of their sale. On this day many items are discounted, usually by 50 percent. The seller chooses whether their items will be discounted on this day and typically indicates this on the item's tag. If you're expecting a discount, make sure to pay close attention to these tags to ensure all of your items are eligible.

Shop early

Whether you choose to shop on the discount days or you're ready to dive in on day one of the sale, the early bird gets the worm (or the best deals in this case). Arrive at the sale as early as you are able.

Remember all sales are final

Most sales post signs clearly stating this fact all around the sale, and these words can make anyone have second thoughts because, well, it’s so final. Buyers remorse is not an option here, so be sure of your purchases before you check out.

Bring cash

Some sales accept checks, and others credit cards (usually with a fee attached), but they all take cash. Be sure you have enough with you to cover whatever you plan to purchase.

Beware of recalls

As a general rule, most sales state that it is the responsibility of the seller to check for recalls prior to consigning products, as it is illegal to sell products that have been recalled. Some are bound to slip through the cracks, though. If you are concerned about a product, you can check for it on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Consign your own children's clothes

Once you're familiar with the sales in your area, consigning is a great way to earn some extra cash. Consignment sales accept gently-used children's clothing in the correct season (dependent upon a spring or fall sale) along with toys and other baby and kid gear. If your items sell, you receive a check for around 2/3 of the cost. If your items don't sell, you typically have the option of picking them up or donating them to charity.

Volunteer

Volunteers often get to shop prior to the sale opening and can score some awesome deals. Local consignment sales often have websites and make it easy for volunteers to sign up with them. Male volunteers sometimes receive extra benefits, too!

How to find sales in your area

If you aren't aware of any sales going on around you, check with your local MOP (Mothers of Preschoolers) organization, if there is one in your area. Many sales are listed on Craigslist, as well. I've also found the following websites helpful:
Consignmentmommies.com
Kidsconsignmentsales.com
Consignmentsalefinder.org

This is a guest post by Ginger from Atlanta, GA
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!