Consignment Sale vs. Clearance Sale

Consignment Sale

Christmas has come and gone, snow storm Jonas made its way through, and we all have high hopes for an early spring. This can mean one thing: ’tis the season for sales! Consignment sales are slated to begin this month and stores are clearing out the winter season pieces with clearance sales.

But where do you get the best deals? I’m breaking down consignment sales and clearance sales to help you find the best deals!

Consignment Sales

What to look for:

  • High-end baby equipment: BOB, City Mini, UPPAbaby, etc. You’ll find the best deals on high-end baby equipment at these sales simply because they hardly ever go on sale in stores or online. Keep in mind that you’ll need to inspect the equipment and research any recalls on these items. Be sure to research prices in stores and online prior to the sale just to ensure you are actually getting a good deal.
  • Boutique clothing items: Matilda Jane, Persnickety, etc. Consignment sales are great places to find a deal on expensive brand-name clothing. Again, you’ll want to inspect each piece and look for stains, tears, and signs of wear.
  • Toys: toys, toys, toys! You’ll find a large selection of toys for all ages at these sales. Be prepared to inspect each toy for any missing pieces (including power cords), broken pieces, and make sure to clean the item when you get home. Also, some sales aren’t strict on making sure the battery powered toys have working batteries at the sale, so keep that in mind as well.
What to avoid:
  • Shoes: this one is iffy, after all you might find a pair of UGG boots that have been gently worn, but beware of the extremely worn shoes. Unless they are for play, you might avoid the used shoe section at the sale.
  • DVDs: it’s tempting and it probably would be fine. Last fall I bought 5 DVDs and when I got home one of them was missing the actual DVD (what the heck!?) and another was too scratched to play. The containers were all taped so no one would steal the DVD so there was no way of checking this out prior to purchasing.
  • Carter’s clothing or other play clothes styles: watch for wash wear and wear from playing. You are usually safe with 0-9 month sizes for signs of wear, but check the tops for spit up stains and the pants/rear end for stains (you know what I’m talking about!). I am positive that you can get brand new versions on clearance for the same price or for cheaper (see below).

Pros: you may be able to find some really great prices, get more for your money, and you can find gently used items for much less than store prices. The clothing is usually for the incoming season so you’ll be sure to get the right size. Also, your money is {mostly} going to a mom/family, rather than a store.

Cons: the item may be broken, stained, or missing pieces. Last fall I bought a shirt and when I got home and removed all 384,975 safety pins from the price tag, I found a huge tear in the middle of the shirt. I couldn’t see it because the tag was pinned down — another reason to really inspect the pieces!


Clearance Sales

What to look for:
  • Clothing: I have found that Carter’s, Old Navy, Gymboree, and Gap have really good end of the season clearance sales. Oftentimes they will run additional discounts off the clearance price. Keep in mind that selection and special promotions (extra 30% off clearance may be exclusively online or in the store, not both). I recently cleaned up at Old Navy and Carter’s, saving 67% at Old Navy and 71% at Carter’s.
Tunic from Carter's originally $24, on clearance for $5.99, paid $4.20 after extra markdown.

Tunic from Carter’s originally $24, on clearance for $5.99, paid $4.20 after additional markdown.

  • Toys: yeah, it’s on both lists but you can also find great deal on new toys. Check out ToysRUs, Target, and Walmart online periodically.
  • Shoes: you can find some great deals on shoes at the end of the season. Check out your favorite shoe store, or even Carter’s, for end of the season savings on new shoes.
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Shoes from Carter’s, originally $34, marked down to $8.99 paid $6.29 after additional markdown.

What to avoid:
  • Baby equipment: you can find great prices on baby equipment with clearance sales, but be aware that it may be discontinued and you may not be able to find add-on items such as attachments, cup holders, etc. This isn’t entirely an “avoid” item, but just be aware of the reason it’s on clearance.

Pros: if buying clothing at the end of the season, you’ll most likely have to buy a bigger size. You run the risk that your child grows too quickly and outgrows the clothes before wearing.

{Tip: when buying ahead, buy pieces that could go in different seasons. For example, leggings, t-shirts, and dresses with sweaters. Buy one or two season-specific items, like shorts, just to make sure you don’t waste your money on ten pairs of shorts that won’t fit your child.

Cons: you may be spending more than you would at a consignment sale, but you are getting a brand new item.

Keep in mind that garage sale season is almost here! You can bargain with the seller and see where the item came from if you are concerned about cleanliness and how well an item was cared for. Oftentimes you can get the best deals at garage sales! For garage sale tips, check this out!

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One Response to Consignment Sale vs. Clearance Sale

  1. Natalie
    Natalie February 1, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    These are all great tips! That’s exactly how I approach these things!

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