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    Pro Tips: Consignment Sale Shopping Advice from REAL Shoppers

    consignment sale shopping

    Consignment Sale Shopping

    Every Fall and every Spring, right along with the change of seasons, comes sale after sale guaranteed to give most bargain shoppers a thrill.  Yes, twice a year we get to shop for new and gently used kids’ clothing, toys, gear, maternity clothing, books and more at local consignment sales and mommy’s markets.

    At a consignment sale the seller typically tags their goods and hands them over to the sale.  The sale owners facilitate the shopping process and the seller receives a check for anything of theirs that sold, typically 60-70% of the selling price.  (The rest goes to the sale owner as a sort of selling fee.)

    At a mommy’s market the setup is typically a little bit different.  The sellers pay to rent a table space in the sale and personally man (woman?  LOL) their own table as shoppers walk around.  The table space rental is usually the only fee incurred and the seller gets to pocket all profit.  These sales can be fun to shop just for the bartering factor.  Many times sellers will entertain offers lower than the asking price.

    Today we’re talking about CONSIGNMENT SALES.  My readers and I got quite the conversation going on Facebook a couple weeks ago.  I shared some of my best shopping tips and they shared theirs.  Consignment shopping for me takes on two attitudes depending on the day: 1)  Go without a care of what I’ll find or what I’ll buy.  A true treasure hunt!  Walking aimlessly and hunting for cool things that I just have to have.  2) (Most Common) Form a plan.  Think about (even make a list of) things that my kids need and that I’d like to find.  Know the kids’ sizes and shop for the next year/next size up/next season.  Make a beeline for the top must-haves on my list as soon as I get to the sale.  It sounds serious because it is!  There are serious savings to be had!

    Whether you’re a consignment sale rookie or you’re a bargain shopping veteran, read through our suggestions before you head to your next sale!

    1.  Bring a bottle of water.  Plowing through racks and racks of clothes can be seriously dehydrating!

    2.  Bring snacks.  Between getting hungry while shopping and not wanting to take a break, to keeping the kids (if you bring them) quiet for a few more minutes, non-messy snacks are always good to have on hand.

    3.  Wear comfy shoes.  Leave the heels at home.  There is no need to look fancy while consignment sale shopping.  You’re likely to spend a good few hours on your feet.  Comfortable shoes are a must!  Dressing in layers helps a lot too.  Many sales get hot.  It’s nice to be able to shed a sweater or sweatshirt for a t-shirt.

    4.  Trace your kids’ feet on a piece of paper and cut the outline out.  If you think you might shop for shoes at the sale, you can hold the outline up to the bottom of shoes to figure out if they will fit your child.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a sale without Lily and stood there debating whether a pair will fit her or be too small.

    5.  Bring a laundry basket.  Many shoppers bring bags, many sales even offer bags to use while you shop.  (My favorite are the gigantic blue bags that IKEA sells for pennies.)  But I have seen shoppers use laundry baskets as well.  Some tie rope or attach a belt to one end, making it easy to pull the basket along as you shop your way down the racks.

    6.  Study the floor plan or check social media for pictures of the sale layout.  What do you have your eye on?  Lego sets?  Boys snow boots?  Disney movies? Whatever it is, see if you can get a lay of the land before you shop to know where to head first.  Many sales post teaser pics of the merchandise before the sales begin.  Study these pictures for anything you might like to buy!

    7.  Utilize the HOLD area.  Many sales will have a HOLD area where they do just that – hold your items for you while you shop.  This helps a lot – especially for bigger items like bikes and outdoor toys.  Even if you just THINK you might want to buy something, grab it and put it in the hold area.  You can always change your mind and return it to the sale floor.  If you don’t hold it and someone else takes it, it’s gone.

    8.  Take cash to help you stick to a budget.  If you have a budget in mind when shopping, take only that amount of money in cash.  You can’t spend what you don’t have!

    9.  Confirm what forms of payment the sale accepts BEFORE you go.  Most sales will list their accepted forms of payment on their website or Facebook page.  Other sales have contact info – use it to email or call and ask.  While cash is almost always accepted, some sales do not take checks or credit cards.  Know before you go!

    10.  Quality check before you purchase.  Examine your goods carefully before you buy them.  While most, if not all, have had to pass some sort of inspection prior to being accepted for sale, it’s possible something was missed.  If the clothing has elastic waistbands make sure the elastic is still in good shape.  Look for holes (check under the price tag!) or rips.  Open DVD/CD cases to look for scratches.  Some sales allow formula and baby food to be sold.  Check the expiration dates.

    11.  Find out if kids are allowed at the sale.  Some sales do not allow children.  Some allow children but do not allow strollers.  If children are allowed, think carefully before you take them.  Only you know your kids.  Consignment sales are FULL OF TOYS.  It can be like walking a kid into their birthday and Christmas all at once.  You can lose valuable shopping time if you have to spend all of your time dragging kids from the toy area!

    Got some more tips to add? Leave them in the comments!

    Big thanks to Caitlin, Katie, Bethany, Laura, Tarah, Jessica, Rachel, Jenny, Danielle, Kate, Allyssa, Jennifer, Dawn, Amanda, Rachel, Kelly, Miranda and Mary Beth who all contributed tips for this post!


    Welcome to!

    mamacheaps buttonWelcome! is a frugal blog. Meaning?  It is a site that is constantly updated with the hottest freebies, coupons, store deals, online deals and savvy tips and tricks to help you hang on to more of your hard earned money!

    Some helpful links:

    :: To learn how this site got its start, head over here.

    :: New to couponing? Consigment sale shopping? Making a budget? Our Beginner’s Section is loaded with lots of practical how-to information!

    :: FREE toothpaste, razors, shave gel?  For real?  YES!  How do I do it?  I play the “drugstore game” at CVS.  Learn all about that here.

    :: Check out the latest freebies, coupons and restaurant deals that have posted to our site – plus be sure to look through the offers ending soon.

    Stay in touch!

    :: Sign up for our 100% FREE daily email digest – ONE email every day containing EVERY deal we post.

    :: “Like” our Facebook Page – instant updates on the hottest deals – plus some good conversation!

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    Facebook (Still) Hates Pages. Here’s (Yet) Another Way to Try to Find Me in Your Newsfeed.

    It’s been, what, almost 6 years that I have been Mama Cheaping my way through the deals I find.

    Now apparently Facebook has changed their algorithms (YET AGAIN) and yes, fewer and fewer posts are showing your feed – not just mine, but posts from your friends and other pages you have opted to follow.  This is to give way to sponsored posts (big surprise) and also to give priority to posts that Facebook feels contain quality content.

    And this could be yet another Facebook rant on just how few of my fans actually see anything that I post, but I’ll spare you.  Been there, done that.

    I came across something you might be able to do (must be done on a PC, not a mobile device) that can help.  Something funny – I RUN this blog and Facebook page and even on my account the “get notifications” option for Mama Cheaps was NOT checked. LOL It is now.

    Here’s an infographic to help you see what to do, but it’s pretty simple.  Hover over the LIKE button and make sure that GET NOTIFICATIONS has a check next to it.  Then, look to the right.  Make sure there is also a check next to FOLLOWING.

    If you could take a second to do this, and then let me know if you see a difference or not, I’d appreciate it! :)

    mc facebook


    How to Make a Facebook List to Keep Seeing Your Fave Pages (And How Facebook is Squashing Small Businesses)

    facebook broken heart


    Crazy night on my Facebook page.

    I was a little bit of a rager, which I try not to do.  But Facebook is really pissing me off.  While I understand I can only complain so much b/c Facebook is FREE – I have said it before and I will say it again, “I would rather pay an (affordable!) usage fee for my Facebook blog page and in return get SUPPORT from FB and *gasp* have my posts SEEN by my fans.”  (Crazy concept, I know).

    If you’re already on my FB page (love you!) then you saw me lose my cool a bit this evening as I posted a picture of how much Facebook is now giving me the “opportunity” to pay PER POST to reach 21k of my 34k fans.  Are they SERIOUS?  Who can afford that?  And even if my pockets were lined with gold bars (which I can ASSURE you, they are not), there is not even an option to REACH all of my fans.

    Fans = people who have, of their own non-coerced free will, chosen to click that little “LIKE” button which is basically like saying, “YES!  I want your status updates and subsequent posts to roll through my news feed because I surely would hate to miss a wonderful deal!”


    Who will benefit from these Facebook shortcomings?  Big companies, obviously.  Companies that can afford to run big, splashy, expensive advertising campaigns will have no problem reaching most of their FB fans while the rest of us are left shouting desperately into our empty cavernous FB pages in the hopes that even one reader will hear us.

    Alright.  So short of convincing Mark Zuckerberg that small businesses/blogs/websites are run by amazing, self-motivated, creative persons who work their buns off and deserve to be helped, promoted and celebrated instead of squashed out by the almighty dollar and big corporations *takes a breath* there are a couple things you can do to make sure you are seeing all the good stuff your favorite pages post – whether that includes mine or not.

    1)  Go to a fave Facebook fan page.  Hover your mouse over the almighty LIKE button.  Select Show in News Feed.  If at any time you don’t see that page’s updates in your news feed, go back and make sure this option is still checked.  Facebook is notorious for changing your preferences without telling you.


    2)  Create a list that includes your favorite fan pages.  This is a nice option if you like to follow more than one fan page.  It will plunk all of their updates into your news feed and will also allow you to categorize and organize your preferred pages.

    Here’s how to create a list.

    Go to the fan page you’d like to add.  Click on the arrow button next to the MESSAGE button. Choose the option to add to interest lists.

    I did not have any lists created so I need to choose NEW LIST.

    Select the fan pages that you want to appear on your new list.  After you have selected your desired pages, click NEXT.

    Give your list a name.  Decide who (if anyone) should be allowed to edit your list.  Click DONE.

    Head back to your HOME screen on Facebook.  You should see your lovely new list on the left sidebar.

    That’s it.  That’s all I got.  According to my Facebook stats, on average, only about 9% of my current Facebook fans are seeing the posts that I put up.  So after breaking my back for 3+ years to beg and plead for Facebook fans, it appears to have been in vain.

    But there is a bright spot.

    I now have the “privilege” to promote my posts to folks who are already my fans.

    Touché, Mark Zuckerberg, touché.

    p.s. Want to follow my awesomeness?  Like my Facebook page.  Even though you will probably never see a thing I post.  Unless of course you are one of the elite Cheaps 9%ers.  :)  Thanks to Sarah for coining that glorious phrase.

    Photo Credit

    Mama Cheaps Has DISAPPEARED from My FACEBOOK FEED!

    If you are one of our readers out there wondering why Mama Cheaps updates have disappeared from your Facebook feed, you’re in good company.  I am getting messages every day from readers asking how to fix this because they are missing all of their freebie and coupon updates.

    Unfortunately, recent Facebook changes have made it harder to find brand/company pages, even though you have elected to see their updates in your feed by clicking the “LIKE” button on their page.

    There are a few things that you can do to get these pages (including MAMA CHEAPS!) back in your feed.

    1.  MAKE SURE that your Facebook feed is set to “Sort: Most Recent.”  It defaults back to “Sort: Top Stories” without warning (especially on mobile devices) – so check often, even daily.

    2.  INTERACT with our page!  LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT on posts – even if it’s just once every day or two.  This shows Facebook that you care about our updates – and they will make them more visible in your feed.

    You can interact with us ON Facebook AND on our actual site!

    Try those tips – and let me know if I appear back in your FB feed. 


    Learning the Lingo: Coupon Abbreviations 101

    coupon pile

    It’s always good to review my “cheat sheet” of coupon abbreviations to make sure that you get the most out of my site!

    First, a refresher on how I write my coupon match-ups… I will tell you which coupon I used, how many products you must buy, how much it’s worth, and which insert you can find it in. For example, “$1/1 RP 4/5” means: $1 off any 1 of that product which can be found in the April 5th Red Plum coupon insert.

    Here are some common coupon related abbreviations:

    SS: SmartSource insert
    RP: Red Plum insert
    P&G: Proctor and Gamble insert
    Unilever: Unilever Insert
    DND: Do not double
    YMMV: Your mileage may vary (what works for one person at one store may or may not work for you)
    B1G1/BOGO: Buy one get one
    WYB: When you buy
    OYNO: On your next order
    OOP: Out of pocket

    RR: Register Rewards at Walgreens (good for $$ off during next visit)
    ECB: Extra Care Bucks at CVS (good for $$ off during next visit)

    SCR:Single Check Rebates at Rite AidThose are the ones that I used the most frequently!What others do you use? List them below!