My Love of Consignment Sales

Late in my pregnancy, I discovered the world of consignment sales. These sales bring together hundreds of moms who are selling their used baby clothes, nursery items, toys, stollers, you name it.

The first one I went to was thrown by a “multiples” group. Moms who all have twins or triplets or possibly more. It was held for one day at a big community center.

I got there when tickets went on sale to the public (I think it was $2 to get in but you could get in for free with a donated baby item). Little did I know that almost 100 other people would already be in line to buy a ticket. Yikes!

By the time I got to shop, the sale had already been going on for about four hours. The big ticket items were gone. I had no expectations or shopping list, and my inexperience showed. I walked in and slowly wandered through the gym filled with baby items. Car seat base for $15. Moby Wrap for $12. Racks and racks of like-new clothes for $1. I was in awe. But I also hadn’t had any of my baby showers yet, so I didn’t really know what to buy. I settled on a bag full of clothes in the 6-12 month range and a couple bottle drying racks.

I learned from watching the experienced moms that if you think you might want to buy something, grab it. You can always put it back before you check out. But if you don’t grab it right away, it’ll probably be gone when you come back for it.

I’ve since been to three more consignment sales put on by various groups. And I just signed up to be a seller at an upcoming spring sale with Just Between Friends. I’ll share more about that experience in a couple weeks.

Here’s my advice on getting the most out of shopping consignments:
• Bring a list. The amount of items at the sale is overwhelming and a list will keep you focused.
• Do a price check. When you make your list, include the price of the item if you were to buy it new. Then you’ll know if you’re getting a good deal or are just getting caught up in the fun of the shopping.
• Plan to spend at least an hour shopping/standing in line. That’s a conservative number.
• See if the sales in your area have special early shopping hours. Many let first-time moms, sellers and event volunteers shop the night before.
• Find your big ticket items first. Things like jumperoos and play kitchens go quick.

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BzzAgent – Free Products in Exchange for your Feedback

I’m currently waiting for a BzzAgent campaign package to come in the mail and it struck me that not only should I write about that when it comes, but I should also tell you about BzzAgent itself.

I’ve been a BzzAgent for nearly five years. I highly recommend joining.

What is BzzAgent?
It’s a word of mouth marketing company that connects brands with their target markets. You fill out various surveys about your preferences in different areas like electronics, food, beauty products, etc. When you fit the type that a particular brand is looking for, they ask if you want to join their campaign.

What’s in it for you?
You get to try products for free! You’ll receive a package in the mail with the product, or sometimes a free coupon so you can go get the product. And you don’t have to send it back, it’s yours to keep.

I’ve done campaigns where I’ve received free dog food, a universal remote, a smartphone, various make-up products, candy, and even restaurant coupons.

What’s the Catch?
They just ask that you report back anytime you talk about the product. They want you to share your honest opinion with your friends and with the company.

How to be Selected for Campaigns
Make sure you log in and fill out surveys at least once a month. Brands have specific questions for their campaigns and if you don’t have an answer on file, you won’t be chosen. Also, the more you share your opinion during campaigns, the greater the chance that you’ll be asked to be in more campaigns.

What’s a Push Present?

If you are an expecting dad, you should know about push presents. If you are an expecting mom, you should tell your husband (or baby daddy) about push presents because he has no idea what they are. If you don’t tell him, you won’t get one.

A push present is a gift the dad gives to the mom for carrying around a baby for 9 months and then pushing it out. Don’t worry, having the baby removed via C-section is just as deserving of a push present. Perhaps even more so considering you get cut open while wide awake.

What did I get, you ask? Nothing. Why? Because I didn’t tell my husband about it. Though, to be fair, he did send me beautiful flowers at about the 8 month mark with a card saying that I’d been doing a wonderful job carrying our baby. So that was very sweet and unexpected.

The typical push present is jewelry. But I do have a friend who actually got a car! I think it had a little to do with the fact that they needed a safer car anyway, but it still counts.

Here are some unique push present ideas.

Hospital or In-Home Massage
Many hospitals now offer massages right in your room. This is a great way to help the new mom relax. If your hospital doesn’t offer it, see if you can find a massage therapist who will come to your house. That way mom doesn’t have to leave the baby.

Newborn Photos
Again, many hospitals now have newborn photographers who will come right to your room. We took advantage of this and I’m so glad we did. You get great looking professional photos of your little bundle of joy before you even leave the hospital. Also, I don’t think I would’ve been up for a trip to a photographer’s studio in the first couple weeks that I was home. But, if your hospital doesn’t offer this, you can also find photographers near your home and even some who are willing to come to your home.

Maid Service
Get a one-time cleaning or sign up for monthly visits for a few months. This can be a tricky one. You have to present it in a way that doesn’t say “I think you’re doing a bad job keeping the house clean.”

If you’re going to stick with jewelry, try to find something unique, like a necklace or bracelet with baby’s name or initials.

And moms, don’t forget to drop lots of hints if you know what you want.

5 Unique Baby Shower Gift Ideas

First, I think it’s important to note that I am a major proponent of buying shower gifts off a registry. But I know there are people out there who just can’t seem to do it. They have to come up with something unique or creative or different, regardless of what the expecting mother wants.
So here are my ideas for some unconventional shower gifts that will actually be appreciated.

HBO or Netflix
HBO Go provides every episode of every season of HBO shows as well as a huge selection of movies. When I was on maternity leave I think I made it through every season of Big Love in about a week. It made the middle of the night feedings a little easier to handle. I’d settle into the nursery rocking chair and place my iPad on the ottoman. Once my little one was a few months old he started getting distracted by the iPad. So even 1-3 months of one of these services would be nice.

An iPad
See above. Not only does it make it super easy to watch shows and movies (without searching for different remotes or camping out in the living room), you can also check Facebook a million times to see what’s going on in the outside world, see if anyone has emailed you, search for information about how to raise a baby … you get the picture. This could also be a good push present.

Hospital Gown
I received the cutest hospital gown and matching robe during my pregnancy. I decided not to wear the gown during labor and delivery because, as you probably know, things get messy. So I wore the gross, thin hospital-provided gown the first day. The second day I put on my adorable hospital gown from Dear Johnnies. My nurse commented on how nice it was and said she was going to get one for her friend who was going through chemo. It had snaps on top of the shoulder – instead of ties in the back – so it was much easier for nursing. Plus, I was able to look at least halfway decent in all the photos we took and I put on the matching robe when walking the hallways so I felt more covered up.

Massage Gift Certificate
Nothing beats a massage when you are carrying around an extra 40 pounds. Make it completely stress-free by including the tip as well.

Zoo Membership
At some point during maternity leave, you start to get bored. You need to leave the house. But, if you’re like me, you get really nervous thinking about where you will be able to nurse your newborn while you’re out. Because of this, I was limited to two-hour trips. I’d have the car packed and ready to go so I could leave as soon as I was done with a feeding. I recently discovered that the zoo in my area is super new-mom friendly, complete with a special nursing area. Check into memberships at your local zoo, aquarium, etc.

What other items do you appreciate that aren’t usually on a registry?