Frugal Shopping Tips and Tricks from Grapevine Events’ Jenna Morton
There’s a new way to shop for kids’ clothes, toys, and more in Saint John! Grapevine Events is bringing its Pop Up Consignment Sale back to the city on Saturday, Sept. 29th at Exhibition Park in Saint John.
These sales are set up like a thrift store, with all clothing on hangers and sorted by size, gender, and so on. There are sections for toys, books, games, nursery items, feeding, etc. Local families sign up to sell their items; they set the prices and attach bar coded price tags at home. Then everything is dropped off on Friday afternoon and organized by the Grapevine Events team and their volunteers. Families earn up to 80% of the sales, and many unsold items will be donated to the community via St. David’s United Church in Rothesay.
Whether you’re shopping at Grapevine Events or elsewhere, co-owner Jenna Morton has some great advice for finding the right fit for your kids – without having to bring them shopping with you!
Be Prepared! Check your kids’ closets and decide what fits and what you need. If you’re like me, you don’t want to be forced to do laundry more than once a week, so I usually figure out how much clothes each kid would need for that to happen, then add on the extras like swim suits, dressy outfit, etc. We’ve put together a list to help you out; add and subtract based on what works for your family. Going shopping with a clear list of what items you need will ensure you don’t come home with six pretty dresses and only one pair of shorts.
Buddy System. I find it best to shop without the kids, but it’s always great to have a second set of helpful hands, especially when shopping at consignment sales or thrift stores, when there can be a rush of people trying to find deals at the same time. I favor the divide and conquer method: you can split between clothes and toys, or split within the clothes. Each start at one end of the size you’re looking for and compare finds when you meet in the middle!
Size it Up. Sizes can vary brand to brand, and between ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ styles, so to be sure, bring a personalized size chart with you. You can use different colored pieces of yarn to measure your kids’ inseam, arm length, etc and quickly measure that against any clothes. Trace your child’s feet and bring a cut out of their larger foot (one is always slightly larger) to measure shoes. I always look in the size above and below what I need; there are usually a few hidden gems of sizes that run either large or small!
Buy for the future. Don’t overdo it, but it’s always a good idea to have one or two outfits in the next size up on hand, because we all know that when kids grow, they grow FAST! Buying these at a consignment sale is a perfect way to be prepared without breaking the bank. (Remember, most daycares and Kindergarten classes ask you to send at least one spare outfit to be kept at school; sending something slightly larger than the size your child is wearing now is a great way to make sure it fits if and when they have to pull it out of storage!)
Always go back. There’s so much to see at a consignment sale, I always make sure to do a second loop through the main areas in which I’m interested. I always find something that was hidden the first time!
Shopping for kids can be lots of fun, but it can also be completely overwhelming, trying to find everything they need. My best advice is to line up childcare for the day, whether that’s leaving the kids home with your partner, a grandparent, or hiring a babysitter. Have your list and stick to it. Start at the consignment sale and find everything you can. Prices are generally one-half to one-third of retail, sometimes much less, depending on the quality, the brand, and the season. When you finish at the sale, grab a quick lunch and re-evaluate the list. Hit up your favorite thrift shops to try to find anything that’s missing. End the day with a trip to the kids’ clothing stores. If there’s anything still missing at the end of the day, go online that night and see what you can find.
Most families I know can manage to do all of their shopping in a day using this method, and usually do it once in the fall and once in the spring. I also love shopping for clearance deals year-round to find deals; be sure to sign up for your favorite shop’s online newsletters and you’ll never miss a sale – but wait for the 70% mark downs and free shipping offers if you’re really looking to be frugal.
And if you really want to make the most of the day and the deals, sign up as a volunteer at the Grapevine Sale! We offer 8 am shopping to volunteers in exchange for four (or more) hours of your time. This gives you the best chance at the best deals, and a shopping experience that’s much less crowded. The 9am pre-sale is for new & expecting parents & grandparents, teachers (homeschool, day care, public & private schools), and parents of multiples (twins, triplets, etc). You’re asked to registered for this VIP Presale. Doors open to the public at 10 am.
The sale isn’t all pre-loved, though! There will be more than a dozen local family-focused vendors.
The Grapevine Events Children’s Clothing & Equipment Sale takes place Saturday, September 29 , 2018 at Exhibition Park. Doors are open to the public from 10 am to 1:30 pm; admission is $2 cash. Debit is accepted for sale purchases; some vendors may not accept debit.