Friday, 20 March 2015

Mommy Money Matters: The FAQs of Mom Swap Shopping

At WIYDB, we love a bargain, so you'll often read about how we've pinched our pennies on everything from diapers to toys and beyond. One of the ways we do that is by establishing when an item can be bought second hand (see our article here). If an item is large and plastic, or otherwise easily washed, I'm always willing to have a look and see if the price is right. A fantastic place to do that is at a local mom swap - a sale at a community venue, usually hosted by a mom group or a charity, as a fundraiser. Often when I talk about ones I've been to, or plan to attend, I get asked a lot of the same questions. Here are some of them, and hopefully some helpful answers to encourage you to have a browse.

How often are swaps held?

Since it's a community event, you can find one just about anywhere at any time. In your own community, however, they are predictably held approximately 2-3 times a year. Your best bet is spring and fall.

Where can I find one?

If you are already a part of a mom group such as Ontario Early Years, Momstown, or Yummy Mommy, they can usually point you in the right direction. Other good places to look for ads are parenthood charities (like our friends at Beginnings Family Services), churches, and the community events listings in your local newspaper.

What can I buy there?

It depends on what the individual moms have hanging around! Good bets are; clothing, sleepwear, large play centres, strollers, books, and toys. You can sometimes find; furniture, high chairs, maternity clothes, breastfeeding supplies, and a whole lot more. It's helpful to come with a list and look for your essentials first, so that you don't get distracted by the wide array of goods!

Can I haggle?

Sometimes... Often sales are set up as individual tables with the mom/owner of the stuff right there. This is a prime opportunity to ask questions and haggle, but might be a little more awkward to really examine the feet of each pajama set, etc. Other sales are set up in a more consignment store style, with items tagged to credit the mommy, but she's not standing right there. This is better for scrutiny, but makes asking for a price reduction a little harder. Not impossible though. The owner might be taking cash at the end and can be asked, or the representative on the floor might have been given some wiggle room. Bottom line? ASK!

What if I don't like what I bought?

This is the tricky part. If you buy something battery operated and it doesn't work, or bought a onesie with a great big stain, you're pretty much stuck with it. If you're still within the sale, you might be able to go back and explain - people are reasonable - but if you're already home, that's that. The thing is, the prices are so much lower than store prices, it's generally worth the risk. That toy might be fun, even without the bells and whistles, for $5. And that $1 onesie? You can try some stain remover, or just throw it out and call it a $1 lesson in checking better next time.

Have some more questions about how to score a great bargain? Have a story about an amazing mom swap find? We want to hear about it! Comment below or message us on Facebook!

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