Tips for Shopping at a Mom-to-Mom Sale

Score the best deals and get exactly what you're shopping for with a little advance planning and these tips.

If you’ve haven’t experienced shopping at a mom-to-mom sale and the early Saturday mornings of sifting through stuff to find the best deals on used children’s gear, clothing, toys and more, there are a few things you should know.

Check out these tips for shopping – and peek at our post on things to avoid buying at a local mom-to-mom sale.

Think we missed any tips? Add your own in the comments section below.

1. Arrive early

If you want the best selection or are looking for something that may be in high demand, plan to arrive quite a bit early, says Kim Goff, business office manager at the Birmingham YMCA who organizes their two annual mom-to-mom sales. Goff says her events usually open at 9 a.m. but shoppers start lining up by 7:30 a.m.

2. Prioritize your shopping list

Go for the higher-demand items first because they’re likely to sell out faster. These include large baby gear items like strollers, pack ‘n’ plays and swings.

3. Feel free to haggle – but be reasonable

Many mom-to-mom sellers aren’t looking to negotiate much on their items, says Goff, a mom of two who also sells her own items at the sales.

Feel free to ask for a discount if you think it makes sense, but be prepared to buy the item at full-price if you really want it. It may be gone by the time you come back to check on it.

4. Bring change

You’re expected to pay cash at a mom-to-mom sale and you should try to bring small bills. Many sellers won’t have enough change if you only have a $100 bill, for example, Goff says.

5. Bring your own bag

You don’t want to be dropping or losing the items you just bought, and many sellers won’t have bags available. Save yourself some shopping stress and bring a reusable bag, Goff suggests.

6. Check the rules

Some mom-to-mom sales don’t allow strollers, so do your homework in advance so you aren’t turned away (or carrying your toddler on your hip as you shop) after you’ve waited in line.

7. Examine before you buy

It can be easy to get caught up in trying to snag a deal before someone else does, but take a moment to look over the item to check for stains, defects or other problems.

8. Consider a babysitter

Not all mom-to-mom sales are crowded or chaotic, but some definitely are. If you have a big to-buy list, consider having dad stay home with the kids.

9. Do your research

You may want to avoid things like used car seats, crib mattresses and other items on our list of things you should never buy a mom-to-mom sale. Also check out the latest Consumer Reports safety updates and recalls before you shop.

10. Relax

If you don’t get what you wanted at this sale, there are sure to be many more coming up soon enough. Check out our mom-to-mom sale guide here.

This post was originally published in 2015 and is updated regularly. 

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