Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Everybody Needs A Second Hand

Tips to Successful Second-Hand Shopping

1) Check with friends before buying sports equipment or costumes for kids. Borrowing a child size golf set for a week long camp is more effective than buying one. After you see if your child likes the sport and wants to stick with it, then fork out the dough.

2) High School and College Students need basic word programs and printers, possibly basic Internet. If they live at home and have access to the main home computer, they do not even need Internet for their personal computer. Check with local computer stores and pawnshops for used computers when the need arises. Younger kids can use even older computers.

3) Work with friends to match up sizes in hand-me-downs. One of our best friends has a son and daughter exactly the same age as our kids. They were an unlikely match up for hand-me-downs until we realized that our younger children couldn't fit in the jeans from our older children. Her oldest wore a regular and mine wore a slim while my youngest couldn't button up his brother’s slims and her youngest had too much room in her brother’s regulars. We started swapping jeans as soon as our oldest kids outgrew them so that our youngest kids could have the right size.

4) If you find a garage sale or a friend with kiddos one size older than your own, hand over your name and number with an offer to buy all hand-me-downs in the future. Lots of people do this to avoid the headache of garage-saling.

5) Know your local boutiques and work ‘em, girl friend. Sell what you don’t need and give the owner your phone number and list of sizes. I guarantee you, she’ll call when she gets a load of clothes in your size. Bonus: you get first pick.

6) When you’re redecorating or remodeling, go online and check the newspaper classifieds from the nearest city suburbs. Upper class people redecorate long before their refrigerator light goes out. Some sell their couches on a yearly basis.

7) We have as much fun putting together costumes on Halloween as we do Trick-Or-Treating Halloween night. We do it as a family and treat it like a scavenger hunt. We may hit two cities and four Goodwills, but we always have a great time. Also, check out the costumes after Halloween. You can buy them for pennies, load them up in a trunk, and give them as Christmas presents. Trust me, kids love dress up.

8) Babies grow out of clothes and equipment faster than you can say, “We’re having another baby!” They move through the development stages and then you are left with large boxes in your garage. Find a friend who just had a baby and borrow through the stages. When her four-month-old no longer needs the arc-de-toys-you-kick-at because he’s ready for the walker-de-toys-makin’-noise then borrow the arc and give it back when your baby is ready for the walker. Chances are her baby will have moved on to crawling and is in need of toys-you-gnaw-on. She’ll have everything back by the time she has baby number two. In the meantime, neither of you will have a garage full of toys your holding onto for the next baby. To pay her back for sharing, make sure you share a few of the items you get at baby-showers, even if you haven’t used them yet.

9) Children need to move through hobbies like salmon need to move upstream. Learn the trade routes your community has in place and stop by the pawnshop. Also check E-bay and classifieds from local cities. You really don’t want to pay four hundred dollars for a flute your child will use one year before dropping out of the school band to join the flag team. If she really shows a passion and devotion, then surprise her with the shiny open-holed Guggenheim with the extra B flat key. By then, she’ll know how to take care of it and won’t dent it pretending she’s already on the flag team.

10) When buying clothes, it is more important to buy clothes that fit and flatter, than buy labels that make you look fatter. Get the book “Trinny and Susannah What You Wear Can Change Your Life” to learn how to pick clothes that look great on you. You can always find great buys second hand that flatter. Use the money you save to buy good underwear. A great foundation looks better and gives you more confidence no matter what you cover over it.

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