On my lunch break on Thursday, I popped into "Blessings" the second hand store in Zurich, where I had just finished facilitating a wonderful playgroup with 23 kids, 3 amazing home day care providers and 3 great moms. Blessings is, quite possibly my favourite second hand store. Not for its looks or its upkeep, but for its treasures.
I love the thrill of the hunt and of finding just what I am after, at a fraction of the price. I like to shop at Winners, Marshalls, Outlet Stores, Thrift Stores, and Second hand/Consignment shops. I love the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Goderich. I do not "need" to shop at these stores, I choose to. I honestly love the thrill of the hunt. Same goes for yard sales. Sometimes I have to do a lot of hunting, but when I find something I've been after, and save a pile of money, it's a great feeling. I usually don't buy my kids clothes unless they are on sale, and will go out of my way to find great deals. This is another great thing about my job that has me travel all over the county - I learn where the good deals are.
All of the money that comes in to Blessings is then given to the local food bank - they are completely not for profit. As a result, the stuff there is unbelievably cheap, and since they know the proceeds are going to a good cause, a lot of people donate their stuff to this store. I do not shop for clothes here, I will admit, as the clothes donated to Blessings are often more "lived in" than I would like for my kids. But I have great luck with books, movies, kitchenware and toys.
When I was there on Thursday, I got two springform pans for making cheesecakes and three chapter books by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume for Makenna. My grand total spent was $1.75. Love that! Those books were 10 cents each and she has already dove into the first one "Superfudge". As she and Jeff read a chapter or two every night, you can hear the laughter coming from her room. She is just lovng this book, it's making a real impression on her, and it cost me 10 cents.
There is no shortage of ways to save money on stuff for your kids, and no reason not to. Jack recently got a stuffed "Ernie" doll, who is one of his best friends now, from a second hand store. It cost me 50 cents and he adores it just as much as if I had spent $15...so why would I? After a run through the washing machine when I brought him home, "Secondhand Ernie" was just as good as a brand new one.
I'm also a big fan of the "Facebook Classifieds". In my area, I regularly buy and sell on the "Goderich Classifieds", "Exeter Buy and Sell" and "Clinton Area Mom Swap/Buy". The other night I made $40 off of some of Makenna's old clothes and all I did was upload some pictures. There are sites like this on facebook for practically every area. Bigger urban centres have other online communities like Freecycle and Craigslist, with the same idea.
If you are a parent and want to get your kids great stuff, but don't have a lot of money or just don't WANT to spend a lot of money, you need to check out a "Mom to Mom Sale". These have been gaining in popularity in the last few years and I am a huge fan. These sales are usually a fundrasier for some worthy cause. A bunch of moms get together and sell their stuff to other moms. Each selling mom rents a table for $10 or $20 and that money goes toward the fundraiser (Relay for Life, new school playground, Nursery School, etc). Any money ou make selling your stuff is all yours! I participated in one in Lucknow last year, rented three tables, and got rid of a ton of stuff. They are wildly popular with parents who know that there is nothing wrong with second hand clothes, toys, books and more, and love getting good deals. Last year in Lucknow a friedn was selling her stuff a couple tables left and got rid of absolutely everything she brought!
There have already been mom to mom sales this springi n Listowel, Gorrie and Dungannon, but a quick facebook search tells me that in this area there are quite a few more coming up:
April 24 - Blyth and Kincardine.
May 1 - Goderich
May 8 - Lucknow and Mitchell
May 22 - Brussels
If you are a grandparent, daycare provider, or anyone else that interaacts with children but you don't want to spend a ton of money on items to keep them busy, or you want to spoil them but can't afford to buy all the latest and greatest the stores have to offer - these options are perfect for you as well! I know I appreciate it when my mom finds great deals for me, and I don't care where they come from. I appreciate that she took the time and made the effort, to help make my life a little bit easier.
If you are looking to de-clutter some of the kid stuff that is overrunning your house, book a table or two at a mom to mom sale. You'll be amazed at how many people will be lined up out the door, wanting to buy your stuff.
If you are looking for clothes ,toys, or even big items like playpens, strollers, highchairs. swings and more, check out a Mom to Mom sale or the local mom tomom online classifieds. You'll be supporting a worthy cause and saving a ton of money.
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