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GUEST POST: When Consignment Sales Attack: The $5 Christmas

I absolutely love hearing stories of how mommies “discovered” consignment world.  Here’s a great post from Stephanie Sears of the Brunette Foodie…

Confession: I wasn’t born a thrifty spender. My parents tried to teach me to save money, but until the age of 22 I didn’t do a good job saving. I started working when I was 14, and quite frankly I had very little to show for it except some cute shoes and a lot of cute clothes.

Then reality set in my senior year of college. I realized I was going to be on my own. No more help from mom and dad to pay my living expenses. Not only would I be on my own, but I was determined to move to a new city and not back in with my parents. I spent my senior year trying to balance fun money and saving for a down payment on a place to live. Somehow I managed, and in May 2006 I found myself in Atlanta with my first “big girl” job.

Fast forward to 2009. I was laid off from my corporate job. A very well paying corporate job. My husband’s work status changed just 5 weeks later although he continued to work. At that time, I was making more money than he was. Over the next 6 months, we would make a lot of changes to our lifestyle to accommodate the loss and never once touch our savings. Finally after 6 months of unemployment I was working again; however, the effect of being laid off was still there. I was scared to be in that situation again. This was the beginning of my goal to live frugally.

Fast forward again to June 2010. Our beautiful son was born, and by this time there had been a major switch in our family: my husband was now the breadwinner. I was working almost 40 minutes from our home (if there was no traffic), and we both knew that me becoming a stay-at-home mom made more sense. Despite my years of saying I’d never do it, I jumped at the idea. Of course, this meant that we had to continue to live frugally and be responsible with our spending.

Just a few months later I heard about a consignment sale organized by the City of Roswell. Not sure what to expect I decided to take the baby and head over figuring I could get one or two toys. I took $10.00 in cash with me, and off we went.

When we arrived I did a once over of the entire sale. While I was looking around I quickly realized I could get all of his Christmas gifts here. Knowing full well no one year old knows what they are unwrapping I challenged myself to find things that I felt we could use for Christmas. I still had to stick to the $10.00 in my wallet.

By this time, my husband and I had decided we were going to stick to 5 Christmas gifts. So I knew I had to be thrifty.

I spent $5.00 and walked out of that consignment sale with 3 books, a sleeper, and a ball pit. I called my husband and immediately told him I was done Christmas shopping, and I hadn’t even spent the entire $10.00. He was shocked.

Since then I’ve been to two more consignment sales, and I have always found things that look brand new. If you hadn’t known I bought Christmas gifts at consignment, you never would have guessed. Everything was in pristine condition, and I just washed everything down to be safe.

Consignment sales are a great way to save some money, and quite frankly, they are fun. I’m already looking forward to trying to do Christmas for $5.00 again.


Stephanie Sears is a SAHM to one, and the founder of the popular family food blog: The Brunette Foodie.  She also writes the Atlanta Frugal Family column for Examiner.com.