A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Baby on a Budget {Thrift Shopping}

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baby on a Budget {Thrift Shopping}

If you know me personally, or have been following this blog long- you may have realized already that I am a thrift store junkie!! My theory is if I can get something just as good used, at a fraction of the cost of what it would be new...why wouldn't I!? This is especially true when it comes to baby and kids clothes! After all  they go through them so quickly and buying brand new clothes every few months can seriously add up. If it's in your budget to do so, that's wonderful too...but it's not in ours! So thrift shopping it is!! In our area we have found a few favorite stores that work well for us- Once Upon A Child, Goodwill and a Disabled Veteran's Thrift Store. There are a few more that we've found that were okay too, but these are our top picks!

Of the three, Once Upon A Child tends to be the pricier of the three, but when you go in, you know that everything is going to be in good condition and fairly current styles...they wouldn't accept them otherwise! So if we want to get good prices, but don't feel like sorting through everything else to find the good stuff, that's where we go! I've also found it to be the best place to find things for Shaun. While we've had some luck finding his size (5T) elsewhere, it's much more hit and miss and certainly harder to find NICE things. They're a great place to look for baby gear as well. And if they have sales, it's an even better time to shop...ours doesn't have them often, but we keep an eye out for them when they do!

Speaking of hit and miss, Goodwill stores can certainly be just that! It seems you'll find some that truly only carry very old, outdated styles...or those that carry newer styles but charge the same as higher end thrift store...not what I want from a Goodwill store! We're lucky that the few in our area are all pretty great! The prices are good and we can usually find several good pieces. The only trouble with Goodwill and stores like it (where everything is donated) is that you sometimes have to search for those good finds! For every 'looks like new, name brand' piece you find, you'll have to search through 5-10 'no wonder it was donated' pieces. This is probably more true for the adult clothes than baby, at least in our area, but still you're not going to walk in and find that every single piece is perfect. But when you find those pieces at those awesome prices, the search is entirely worth it. Our local stores also get all the old Target clearance that didn't sell- brand new clothes, Goodwill prices? Yes, please! So overall, Goodwill is a great option but just be prepared to take your time!!

Our Disabled Vets thrift store is the same way, though I have found that they tend to have better options overall (and better organized too!). This is our absolute favorite thrift store in the area. First of all, the prices are a bit cheaper than Goodwill for the most part...unlike Goodwill, their items are priced individually based on condition so perhaps for some adult clothes their prices might be a bit higher, but for baby things I haven't found any that were! In fact, my most expensive baby find there was a brand new Carters brand 3-piece outfit- just $3 before any discounts. The discounts and sales here are truly what makes this our favorite place to shop! Every Wednesday, they offer a 30% military discount on anything in the store! The prices are great already, but 30%? Even better! And each week they have a color of the week...anything with that tag color is 50%! (Goodwill offers a similar deal too, but personally I've found that anytime I've looked there wasn't anything that great..I've also heard-though I don't know for sure- that they never put the nicer things in those sales.) There is also one day a week where everything with that color tag is just 99 cents! For big kid or grown up clothes, this is an even better deal...but since we've mostly been shopping baby clothes, the 50% works out cheaper for us! And then they on occasion (like last Friday) have deals where EVERYTHING in the store is 50%, regardless of tag color. When we went last week, I was told that they'd just put out the super cute baby girl clothes I'd found...but they were still half price! I walked out with a bag full of clothes for Finley (as well as some maternity for myself) and paid less than $20...the most we've EVER spent there. No wonder it's our favorite!! Of course not every area has a store with these type of deals, but the key is to know what's in your area and know what type of specials they offer too!!

Consignment events, yard sales and even Craigslist/online yard sales are great ways to save on baby things too. Consignment events seem to be a bit pricier sometimes, but still some great deals to be had. We actually went to one a few weeks back, and because we went on the last day most everything had been marked 50%. This was before we found out baby was for sure a girl, so we didn't get as many deals as I'd have liked...BUT we did find a few cloth diapers/covers for $2.50-$5 each!! With Shaun, yard sales were our best option...living in California on a military base, there were ALWAYS yard sales going on throughout the entire year! We were able to find super cheap clothes, blankets, toys...pretty well everything we needed aside from the big stuff! I'm looking forward to warmer weather and yard sales here-hopefully we will have similar luck. We did stumble across a random one a month or so ago, and found some super cheap baby girl clothes. We took a chance that our instincts were right and bought a few anyway! Craigslist is where the bulk of Finley's wardrobe now has come from...we were able to find someone selling two huge tubs full of baby girl clothes for just $30, which I ended up giving only $20 for! That's the great thing about yard sales and Craigslist- people often are just really wanting things out and therefor willing to negotiate on prices a bit...it never hurts to ask!

I've had several people tell me they don't know how I manage to get all the wonderful deals I do. To be honest, part of it-like that Craigslist find or that random winter garage sale- is probably just luck. But again, the key is truly just to do your research and know your area- know when the best time to shop is (sales, etc) and if you can- wait for those times. There are a LOT of great deals to be had out there- you just have to find them!!

Here are a few of my personal finds:

A Disabled Vets find- 3 swaddling blankets, a plush for little man, sweater and pants (new with tags)- we paid around $4.

After the holidays, Once Upon A Child had all their holiday themed outfits marked down 75%!
We picked up this adorable Christmas sleepsack for just 90 cents!

The elephant outfit and black and white top were DAV finds. Both cost just over $3 with discounts.
The little sister outfit (picked out by Shaun) and Gap overalls were a consignment event find. Around $2-3 for those.

Our first baby #2 purchase (from Once Upon A Child)...around $3-4, I believe.

Our '50% off everything in the store Sale' haul. All of this, plus some maternity clothes for mommy and we walked out paying just under $20!!

This was one of my favorites from that haul...only $1!!

And Finley's entire newborn-0/3 month wardrobe. Most everything at this point (aside from that shelf of leg warmers anyway) has been purchased secondhand ...and a large bulk of this from our Craigslist purchase! She'll be one fashionable baby girl...without breaking our bank!

Are you a thrift junkie like me? What are your favorite stores? Any tips for getting the best deals? Any amazing deals you want to share? Would love to hear from you!

Psst...while you're here, don't forget to enter all the wonderful giveaways going on right now! Build-A-Bear Workshop, Mod Mum Maternity Delivery Hospital Gown and Stella & Dot bracelet- all still going on!!!


  1. I am definitely into buying used kids' stuff. my favorite are consignment sales!

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