As a single mother I am always looking for various ways to save money and one of my biggest expenses is clothing for my kids. Especially with how quickly my daughter is growing. As a baby she was growing out of her clothes every few months it seemed.
So when I found out about a local consignment sale I was very excited to see what that was all about. I had looked into consignment stores in the past, where you take your items in and they stay at the store until someone comes in and buys them – but I was never really a fan. There is no guarantee of if there will be customers coming in and where will your items be stored or displayed? And on top of that, how long will it take for my items to sell (if they ever sell at all)?
So when one day I found the ad for the Denver Just Between Friends sale I became very interested. JBF is a franchise that runs consignment sales across the country where people can buy and sell gently used items twice per year. (Other locations may have sales more often – I can only speak to the Denver sale on frequency.)
The very first time I logged into their site I was very impressed with the way they ran the sale and decided that I would try it out and have participated in every sale since!
Here are the top 5 reasons I love consignment sales.
1. Quality, gently used clothes at a fraction of the cost
Let’s face it, kids are expensive! Especially when they are growing out of everything you buy them in record time. Things that I bought my daughter new for Christmas or new school clothes would be too tight or too short within months of getting them for her. So having to constantly renew her wardrobe became extremely costly. The consignment sale I go to allows me to get her ‘new to her’ clothing at 1/3 of what I would pay at the stores, sometimes even less than that!
AND half the time there are clothes there from places I would NEVER actually shop at myself. I have gotten clothes from the GAP, Baby Phat, Children’s Place, Justice and more – and at prices that I can actually afford. (I refuse to pay $20 for a shirt that my daughter will grow out of in 6 months). I found 2 pair of practically new jeans on a hanger selling for $5. $5 for TWO pair of jeans!
The clothes are in great condition and at the low prices I can even afford to buy a size up just in case she has another growth spurt. Last sale I purchased 64 items at a total of $145. That is roughly $2.25 per item – know anywhere else you can get jeans for less than $3?
2. Clearing out items from our home
For years I was holding on to my daughter's highchair, crib, play pen and stroller. They were just sitting there in our garage. I had tried to sell them at garage sales with no success and those items you can no longer donate to the Good Will due to recalls and such – they don't have the desire to check for recalled items. I couldn't bring myself to just throw them away because it is just wasteful and horrible for the environment. AND I didn't have any friends who were having babies that I could give them to.
So when I discovered this sale I thought hey I can just take them there. On my very first sale I was finally able to sell all of those items that had just been sitting there for so long. I made a pretty good amount of money from them too, definitely more than I could have made at a garage sale or selling them on Craigslist. AND the Just Between Friends Sale has a dedicated person who's job it is to stay on top of any recalls so when you bring your items to the sale they are checked against the recall lists to make sure that they are safe.
Every year, twice a year, when the sale rolls around I go through all of the clothing that my children no longer fit in, the toys they no longer play with, the books they no longer read, movies they no longer watch and I take them to the sale. Instead of throwing things away or simply giving them away I am getting the opportunity to make some money back from all those things that I have bought and paid for over the years. AND the clothes that I bought from the sale that my daughter grows out of – you guessed it – they go right back to the sale (provided they are still in good condition).
3. Meeting great people and other moms
The Just Between Friends sale also rely on a lot of volunteer help from those who consign or shop with them. Because it is a sale of such a grand scale they need a lot of help setting up, breaking down, checking out, and so on. So every sale I not only consign and shop but I also volunteer. Now at the Denver sale when you volunteer for certain shifts or to do certain things (like bring dinner or help advertise the sale) you get perks – like a pre-shopping pass or something like that, where you can shop early before the masses arrive.
Also, when you consign and volunteer you get an additional percentage from the sale of your items. So typically a consignor would get 60% from the sale of their items, but when you volunteer for certain shifts you can also earn an additional 10% from your sales. Which is great!
But one of the things that I love most about volunteering for the sale is the opportunity to meet some great people. Other moms and such, little ones who come with their parents to the sale. It's a really fun time and I always enjoy it. I have met some really great ladies at these sales.
(Another perk of volunteering is that you will usually walk A LOT. So you get a fair amount of exercise as well. Last sale I walked over 13,000 steps in a 6 hour period.)
4. Getting the clothing for my kids for FREE
FREE? Yep, basically for free and sometimes even at a profit! I know, I know that sounds a bit crazy but hear me out.
For my very first JBF sale I consigned a TON of items, piles of clothes, toys that hadn't been taken out of the toy box in years, movies, books and of course my daughter's baby items. I also shopped for new clothes for her, basically replacing her entire Spring/Summer wardrobe because she had grown out of everything over the winter months.
I found a TON of clothes for her, in all honesty I went a little bit overboard and ended up with about 85 items of clothing. However, those 85 items of clothing only cost me $165 so all in all not too shabby! Now here's where it gets really good – in that first sale after everything was tallied up I earned $258 from the items I sold.
So $258 – $165 = $93 in PROFIT after purchasing new clothes, so basically I got a whole new wardrobe for my daughter without spending a cent, in fact I earned money. How amazing is that? To be able to buy new clothing for your child without it impacting your budget? In fact having it HELP your budget. Pretty great right. Now I will say that these results aren't always the case, but for the better part I usually earn more than I spend at every sale.
5. Our things still get donated
So for years and years before I found out about this sale I would simply donate everything that my kids outgrew. That way there wouldn't be a waste, I knew that it would go to help others get clothing either for free or at a low price AND it didn't do harm to the environment by simply throwing things away. I still do donate items that don't make the cut for the sale (things that have small stains on them or tiny holes, books with writing on them etc.) but for the most part everything goes to the sale.
The last thing about this sale that I want to mention, that I also absolutely love, is that if you wish you can tell them that any items that do not sell at the sale you want them to donate. And THEY will take them to be donated for you. So not only are you given the chance to possibly make some money back on items that you have bought for your children, you can also still donate them should they not be picked up at the sale.
You can also choose to not donate if you want to pick the items back up once the sale is over. Many people do that and then just bring them to the next sale to try again and sell the things that didn't sell last time. Which is great for some people as well. Personally I just donate anything that didn't sell, that way I don't bring the things BACK into my house and I am hopefully doing some good as well.[/vc_column_text]
Also I highly recommend listening to the podcast that I did about the sale as it has some helpful tips on how to get ready for the sale, things that I have learned about the sale and so on.