WFMW: Greatest Tips Edition

[Please note, you are more than welcome to link up any helpful tip this week. But this is also a great chance to link up one of your greatest tips! Or more than one!]

I have always loved a bargain. When I was a teenager, my Dad would give my sister and I a $10 bill for shopping. My sister would return with an adorable shirt from the mall.

I would return with an entire wardrobe from the thrift store, albeit smelly.

My love for second hand items came alive in college. Everything in my dorm room and closet were gently used. This art became a gift during the first years of my marriage and a necessity when we had babies on one income.

And even though there are some things I can afford now, I will not pay full price until I first exhaust my second hand options.

I don't mind if you call me the second hand queen (as long as you attach queen to the title).

Tips for shopping second hand:
  • Shop with a plan-know current sizes or estimate off season sizes
  • Familiarize yourself with retail prices so you know a good deal when you see it
  • Check items carefully for holes, stains, broken zippers, etc
  • Forget the stigma especially during these economic times
  • Ask, "Is this the best price you can do?" You might be surprised at the answer
  • Check for coupons, discounts, specials-even thrift and resale shops offer these
Tips for selling your second hand items to a resale store:
  • Make sure your items are clean and in good working condition
  • Check online for product recalls
  • Know the value of new and used for the item(s)
  • Decide before you go how much you will take for your big items
  • If you're at a resale store, take store credit instead of cash. They often offer 20% more if you shop in their store with your credit.
Places to second hand shop:
  • Garage sales
  • Thrift stores
  • Resale shops
  • Ebay
  • Craigslist
  • Freecycle
  • Classified ads
  • Swap Mamas (created by blogger Mommy Pie)
Children's resale chain stores (I've frequented that offer name brands):
Kid to Kid (this is the one I use most often)

Here's a few children's online resale stores:
Want more? Follow this link.

70% of my kid's items are second hand. The rest are items I find on clearance. Much of my home decor is from thrift stores or garage sales also. I found a great kid's resale shop in my town and I'm one of their best customers. (I'm not bragging, the owner told me that! I'm not proud).

The other day I took in this potty chair, a booster seat and a couple of toys my toddler had outgrown. I was given $37.49 in store credit. I used a 20% off frequent shopper coupon and bought some nearly new name brand shoes and this adorable outfit:

Plus this awesome picnic table:

I paid $2.14 cash for the difference.

Can I get an Amen?

Buying second hand works for me!

(this tip was originally published March 2009)

Thank you for joining me for WFMW! {You can read the guidelines here.}Have a Works-For-Me Wednesday tip you'd like to share? I'd love for you to join us!

P.S. Mcklinky, the link service I usually use was down tonight, so I'm trying something new. I hope it works! PLEASE ADD A TWO OR THREE WORD TIP NEXT TO YOUR BLOG NAME!
Example:We are THAT family (buying used clothes)


Sherry said...

I love shopping secondhand! I've found so many great deals!

Thank you for hosting this each week, Kristen!

ilovemy5kids said...

I try to make it fun - like a treasure hunt! Lately Amazon has been a better deal than garage sales or thrift shops, usually with free shipping. :)

You have a fantastic list!!! :)

bridget {bake at 350} said...

I love this tip!

I must be slow...or it's past my bedtime...but I couldn't figure out how to get a longer "title" in the link list. Mine kept getting cut off. I see other people figured it out, though. :) Must be bedtime.

It Feels Like Chaos said...

I buy nearly all my daughter's dresses on Ebay and highly recommend it! Smocked dresses go for a fraction of what they do in the boutique stores and they are so gently used nobody would guess they were not new!

MarytheKay said...

Thanks for the tips...and inspiration! I need to be BETTER at shopping second-hand/thrift--especially in these times. I am good at selling our stuff this way...just need to be better about purchasing this way.

Alea said...

Even though we can afford to by all new items, we are "regifting" our older children's toys to our youngest. There is such a large age difference that the older kids have not used the items in years and it seems silly to buy new,or even used items, when we have so much going unused in our attic.

Leslie said...

That tip has saved us hundreds every year. I ♥ thrift stores. In fact, when we visit family a couple of states away or go on vacation, a highlight for me is checking out second hand stores for kid clothing especially.

Jar Full of Rocks said...

I would say that 97% of my kids clothes and toys are second hand...tho mostly from people giving us clothes. We don't have good thrift stores near us at all. :(

Jane Anne said...

You are my hero. :) Really, seriously, I admire women that are serious bargain shoppers. I long to be that woman. Thanks for the tips.

Tiffany Christian said...

My kids (ages 12, 11, 4 and 4) have learned the art of re-gifting- on Christmas and birthdays, they choose their favorite things and then we put the rest away (with a post-it of who is was from) and suddenly, we have our own personal store! We "Shop" from our gift closet for birthday parties, to sponsor children at Christmas, or simply when the kids have done something that deserves a reward. Some of the things they choose to sell at consingment sells and save the money to buy some big ticket item their sasving for- either way, they are learning to be frugal at an early age.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where I'd be without second hand clothes, especially for the kids. With all the good thrift stores around, there really is no need to buy anything new. In addition to saving money, there is something so great about reusing what's available and not contributing to the "must consume" attitude we've seen so much of lately. I LOVE thrift stores!

Jenny said...

could always use SIMPLY LINKED :D

Mom2fur said...

I only find a few things at my thrift store. My 'second-hand' shopping generally involves garage sales when it's the season. In fact, I refer to my decor as "Late Twentieth Century Garage Sale" because I can point to so many things I got that way. Back when they were young, I found some cute toys and clothes for the kids.
You are right--it is pointless to pay full price when there is often a cheaper way to get almost anything you want!

Anonymous said...

I have been told this before but for some reason I never follow it. Thanks for telling me again. I think I'll stop at a kids consignment store on my way home today. :)

Jan said...

I get all my daughter's clothes from Once Upon a Child or Children's Orchard or Target Clearance. I got that same picnic table for $5 last year at a garage sale- all it needed was some new screws.

Wander said...


I'm definitely the bargain queen too!
My family is amazed at the wonderful things I can find! For cheap!

I love a good deal!

Anonymous said...

I have a question that's been nagging me for a long time (and it's a dumb/pointless one)... how in the world do so many bloggers post their links this quickly???? I never get mine in till the 150's or so.

The Mother Huddle said...

Amen. I have thought about taking some stuff into an exchange just convinced me.
Glad to have you totally crack me up ;)

Anonymous said...

I love second hand (garage sales in particular) but I really love FREE! I even have plants in my garden that came from a Freecycler. It's an awesome resource.

Joelle said...

These are great ideas of places to find clothes and all. Thanks for the awesome links. Also, don't forget that eBay is a great place to shop! I've found some great clothes there too.

Michele @ Frugal Granola said...

I love thrift store shopping! These are great tips!

Michele :)

Aging Mommy said...

Great tips - stopping by from Kim's site. A couple of places I find useful when shopping online are The Find - It's a great site if you already know what you want to buy and are buying new, because you can check out which web sites have the best prices, and which are offering special discounts and where to obtain information on how to apply those. I also use Retail Me Not at to find further discounts and then figure out which site gives me the best bottom line price, including shipping etc. It is amazing what you can save - my last purchase was a book case for my daughter which at Target's site was $170 excluding tax and shipping which I got for less than $100 including shipping.

Great tips today - I shall be checking out these sites!

Tim said...

There's this really neat online thing called that you might enjoy. I just found out about it recently. You can list things that you would loan out, trade, sell, etc. and invite your friends to join your community. It can also be a private community so that only your friends know what you have listed.

Cathy said...

Love me some 2nd hand store shopping and bargain finding!

Seriously, an afternoon "bargain shopping" is my idea of a good time.:)

suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter said...

great tips (and deals:)

my sister inspired me on this--she won't by ANYTHING new, unless it's organic and fair trade, and most of her (gorgeous) clothes and house decor are all secondhand.

as christians (or anyone), we can make an idol out of thrift, but it's better to pay more if it means workers were treated ethically and tons of chemicals weren't poured into the water. paying less at the thrift store is so much better than less in big box clearance bins--less waste from packaging and energy to produce all new stuff.

way to be, secondhand queen;)