As a mom of two children (ages 6 and 4) I am always looking for deals.

Kids need a lot of stuff! Whether the object is snow boots, blue jeans or the latest Batman toy, I am always on the hunt for something. Our budget doesn't allow us to buy everything at full retail price, so I'm usually playing the waiting game and holding out for a big sale or searching the Internet for a coupon.

I always knew there were moms out there just like me, looking for all these items and refusing to pay full price. That's why I was so thrilled to discover a mom-driven group on Facebook that allowed moms to sell and buy each other's used (and sometimes new) children's clothes and toys. After just one day on this free Facebook group I was asking myself, "Oh, how did I ever survive without this group?" It's that good!

Here’s good news and bad news: It's a closed group, and new members can join by invitation only (bad news). But that members-only status keeps out unwanted solicitors (good news).  Even more good news: Although my group is invitation-only, it’s easy for anyone to form a group like this to serve moms in their own communities! After starting that group there will be countless children’s clothes and supplies that are just a click away, and often for free or a very low cost!

Benefits

This is my newest addiction. It's like Ebay, but easier since I can just drive and pick up my “new” items. In our group, if someone spots an item they love, they claim it by using the words “interested” or “me please” and arrange a pickup time and date with the original owner. I've even made a few bucks selling children's toys and clothes that my kids are no longer using. It has actually helped me organize my playroom (something I once thought was impossible).

The other thing I love about this free group is that you can post ISOs, such as "in search of footless tights in white," and moms respond if they have a pair they want to sell or share information about a store where they have seen them. Also, there's a coupon section where moms share great coupon deals and a recipe section to post favorite quick meals. It is a mom's dream come true!

I don't mean to make all you moms out there drool as you read this, but some of the moms have even been selling gorgeous Coach bags, Ugg boots and other great name brand items. Even my kids are addicted. Before we go to any toy store, now they ask if we can check the website to see if the toy they want can be found there first.

We all know that a lot of toys get bought and never used, so why buy new when you can buy “like new” for half the price or less?

How to create a group

  • Go to your your home page on Facebook and click on “Create Group” in the column on the left. Note: If you have other existing groups, you may need to click “More” before the link will be visible.
  • Add a group name in the pop-up box, then add members and select the privacy setting. After selecting preferences, click on “Create Group” to finish the process.
  • Once the group is created, you will be taken to the group’s page to add some finishing touches and customize. Click the asterisk symbol at the top right section of the page and then select “Edit Group.” This section allows users to add a group description, set a group email address, add a group picture and manage members.

Group guidelines

  • Have participants agree to a set of rules to prevent arguments and other problems.
  • Appoint someone to serve as moderator. Make sure that person is willing to invest the time because it can be a full-time (sometimes thankless) job.
  • Spread the word! Send out messages, make business cards and hand them out to other moms at your local grocery store, daycare, school and elsewhere in the community.

Additional suggestions

Too busy to launch a Facebook group right now? No worries. There are other ways to save money through social networking:

  • Sell your unwanted items by listing them directly on your Facebook wall. One word of caution: Remember that everyone can see a personal Facebook page (unlike groups that are limited to views from members only). If you are selling those hideous sweaters from Aunt Margaret and she's on Facebook, feelings could be hurt.
  • Twitter can also be a great way to save money. Share and organize coupon codes with friends, post items for sale, and exchange tips and resources with fellow Tweeters.

This has been a guest post by Christina from Paramus, NJ
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Use Social Media to Seek and Swap Kids' Clothes and More