Yesterday I mentioned my goal of buying used versus new and to that end I hit up the Once Upon a Child $1 orange tag sale last week. I had expected a small rack of clothing and very little selection and had swung into the parking lot with a van full of groceries since I was certain I'd only be a few minutes. Thankfully (for my groceries' sake) it's been freezing around here and I knew my groceries were good for a while.
What I found inside was HEAVEN. I saw row after row of beautifully organized clothing with orange tags dangling.
My son is 11 years old and a few months ago was wearing a size 14, occasionally a 16. He decided to surprise me at Christmas by chunking up a little and complaining of tight pants. My first stop was the boys' section. The boys pants only go up to size 18 and, unfortunately, the pickings are slimmer at that age. I managed, though, to find about half a dozen pairs of pants in size 16 or 18 in nice condition and plain enough that he won't mutiny if I insist he wear them. Even on sale for one of the minor brands I would have paid $9.99 for one pair of jeans new. At Once Upon a Child these pants would have cost me anywhere from $4-$10 each. Many of the pants were by brands that I would never purchase new, such as Old Navy and The Gap, because the prices are beyond what I'm willing to pay for something that will be outgrown in six months.
Next stop was for my daughter who is 7 years old and extremely tall for her age. She's very thin but has a very long torso which means she outgrows her shirts because they've gotten too short, not because they're too tight. Right now she's wearing a size 8 and has plenty of pants and shirts for this season. I planned ahead. (I'm learning quickly that part of the key to buying used is to anticipate needs since snow boots in size 4 may or may not be available when it's snowing and that's her foot size.) I purchased half a dozen pairs of pants for her as well in size 10. Again, they were $1 apiece and even used would have cost $4-$8 each.
My mind was on my groceries sitting in the car, so I didn't want to linger much longer. I did take a quick swing through the shoes and boots. I found a nice pair of boots that were not on sale but were a size and a half bigger than my daughter's current size and for $4 I thought they were worth grabbing. Also not on sale were a pair of roller skates for $4 and I've been wanting to replace my daughter's outgrown Barbie skates. Lastly I got a pair of white sandals with that lovely orange tag that will be perfect for my daughter's Easter outfit.
When my purchases were rung up I spent a whopping $33.50 for 16 items, including a pair of skates and a pair of boots. The receipt also shows that I would have spent $104.50 for these same items at "regular" price (i.e., normal Once Upon a Child prices). When I think of what each of these items would have cost new, especially those Old Navy pants, I start to swoon.