DIY Children Halloween Costumes on a Budget

By the time summer festivities come to an end and the new school year is under way, Halloween is right around the corner. Shopping for children’s costumes is stressful and expensive, as they are always for one-time use. DIY Halloween costumes are a great option for the crafty mom. Using old fabrics around the house, clothes your children has outgrown or transforming last year’s Halloween costume can be easy and save a great deal this Halloween.

“There is such a large variety of great costume ideas out there,” says Michelle Thompson, consignment expert of Swap.com. “With just a little bit of creativity and effort, it’s easy to save big and have your child stand out.”

Michelle shares this years best Halloween costumes for the DIY mom on a budget.

Mad Scientist:

More than likely, your little one will already have a pair of khakis and a plaid shirt. All you need is a white lab coat and lab goggles. Add a few finishing touches such as; a cute bowtie, yellow gloves and pens for pocket flair. Complete the look with a wild wig or if there hair is long add hairspray, and your little Einstein is ready to go!

Superheroes:

Superhero costumes are fun and extremely easy to make with items you already have. Take an existing track outfit or brightly colored, matching shirt and pants. Add colorful tape to decorate the outfit and make their favorite superhero sign. Another option; extra fabric around the house can make a quick cape, pair with comfortable leggings, purchase a mask or facepaint and you have a DIY superhero!

Raining Cats & Dogs:

This costume is super cute and fun to make. There are two routes for this costumes. The first, take a clear umbrella, you will need cat and dog stickers. Place the stickers on the clear umbrella, pair it with their favorite raincoat and boots. The second, take a few stuffed animals of cats and dogs and glue them to the umbrella and your kiddo will be the talk of school with their creative outfit.

Deep Sea Scuba Diver:

This is a great out-of-the box costume idea and easy to make with existing items. What you will need for the scuba gear; goggles, wet shoes and black gloves. Pair this with a black hoodie or long johns for underneath the accessories. For the air tank, take two 2-liter Coke bottles, and paint them silver or yellow. Duct tape them together and glue them to the back of a black sweatshirt. To add a finishing touch, you can use a tube or cord and cut a hole in the bottle and attach the cord to one side of the shoulder.

Little Piggy:

Take an old pink sweatshirt (2-3 sizes larger than your child), cut the arms and hood off. Sew or glue the edges showing to make a clean look for the arms, head and bottom. With the extra fabric and hood, you can make a hat and ears to pin to the hood. For the nose; you can paint on the pink, purchase a nose or cut a toilet paper roll and paint it pink. Pair this with pink pants or tights and a pink long sleeve undershirt.

Other Animals:

Follow the little piggy instructions above. Animals are super simple to make with existing items around the house. All you need is a sweatshirt that is cohesive with the animal’s color you are choosing, and extra fabric to glue for the specific markings of the animals. Take old tights, pants or play clothes to pair with, purchase a nose, ears and facepaint and you are set to DIY an adorable costume.

Thrift stores and consignment shops, such as Swap.com are a great option to find what you need at a low cost. Swap.com offers over 500 costumes from baby and toddler, girls and boys and even maternity costumes.

Buying Used Baby and Kids’ Clothes

There is something almost magical about baby clothes; they’re impossibly small, precious and sweet. It is hard to resist buying a pair of soft, organic cotton pajamas or tiny little socks and shoes. We might not even look at the price tag, initially. That is until we realize that, as magical as the clothing, is our baby’s ability to outgrow every item in the blink of an eye.

While most of us will indulge our craving for new sweet baby clothes with the first baby, many of us quickly realize that pre-owned clothes make more sense as our families grow.

Although kids don’t grow as fast once they hit the 2-year-old mark, they still go through clothes much faster than adults. A 3, 4 and 5 year old will still change sizes every season or even twice a season. Fortunately kids’ clothing styles are more stable than adult’s fashions, so a Spiderman t-shirts used by your 10-year-old 6 years ago will still delight your 4 year old today.

 

Like New and New

Newborns do very little other than eat and sleep – yes, crying too, but that still doesn’t ruin their clothes – so they barely soil or wear out their clothes. Add to that that they outgrow their clothes every month or two, and you have barely used clothes to pass along to your next child, family friend or to sell at consignment stores.

When you buy baby clothes at consignment stores, you can get that same adorable outfit you were eyeing at the brick and mortar store for a fraction of the cost and almost as new.

If almost new is not an option you’d like to consider, there is also an extensive selection of brand new, never worn clothes at consignment stores. New babies receive new clothes as gifts and many of them will never be worn, for a variety of reasons. This gives the consignment buyer the opportunity to purchase new-with-tags items at significant savings, without sacrificing the desire for new items.

 

Staying Power

As children grow, they won’t change sizes every month, but they might change every season – and sometimes twice during the season. That will leave you again with clothing that is barely used and in nearly new condition. Sure, you will have that favorite t-shirt or dress that was worn over and over, but you will also have the dressy shirt or dress that went to church or a family event once for a couple of hours, or something your child simply refused to wear – we have all been there.

Older kids are more opinionated about what they will and will not wear, which takes us to new-with-tags clothes available for older children. Everyone with kids will have clothes in their closets that were never worn because their kids simply refused to wear them. The reasons for this can be as varied as: “I only like to wear blue/pink/red/insert color,” “I only wear long/short sleeve shirts,” “I only like sports/super heroes/princesses/dinosaurs theme shirts.” The list is long and as varied as our kids’ personalities.

So, all those new-with-tags clothes end up at consignment stores for a fraction of the price. The best part is that, when we move on from super heroes to dinosaurs, we will be able to turn it all around, sell the old and buy new items, and we will still be ahead in terms of cost.

The benefits of buying used baby and kids clothes at online consignment stores are many: money savings, reusing already manufactured items and great selection are just a few.

When you choose an online consignment store like Swap.com you are adding the elements of convenience and ease to your shopping experience. Every item is already pre-screened for you for stains, blemishes, tears and imperfections. You can narrow your search to exactly what you want by size, style and brand, so you don’t have to go through racks and racks of clothes looking for specific items. Once you’re done shopping from the convenience of your home, all you do is wait and your clothes will appear, neatly packed in a box at your doorstep.  Shopping at Swap.com is so easy, convenient and economical that you will think it’s pretty magical.

 

By Marta Jiménez-Lutter

Back to School on a Budget

After months spent in the sun, without a care in the world: swimming, playing, barbecuing, traveling and having fun, the time finally comes each year to end the fun and start thinking of those three words that bring joy to the heart of many parents and dread to kids all over the world: Back to School.

Going back to school requires a significant amount of preparation that can cut short the summer fun activities. Kids need an extensive list of supplies to return to their academic life and also, in many cases, a new wardrobe to fit their growing bodies, their new fashion sense or simply to replace clothes that were too beat up by the end of the previous year.

Needless to say all these purchases are taxing on the family budget, especially for families with multiple children. After a summer doing fun things, back to school shopping can be an emotional and financial strain. It’s not easy to drag kids from store to store trying to find the items listed on their extensive school supplies lists and then from clothing store to clothing store trying on outfits and arguing with them out of sheer frustration and exhaustion.

Consignment shopping offers savings in money, time and frustration levels. When you shop online, it can also mean the difference between dragging disgruntled kids from store to store, to continuing your summer fun activities for a little longer. The monetary savings are obvious when it comes to consignment stores, shopping for school supplies such as lunch boxes and backpacks at these outlets can result in 50 to 80 percent savings versus buying the same items at retail establishments. These products can often be found in new or nearly new condition at sites such as Swap.com.

The same can be said about clothes. There is no need to overspend on clothes at brick and mortar stores when the same items can be easily purchased – again new or almost new – at consignment stores. Many consignment stores, like Swap.com, also do a thorough inspection of the clothes they sell, so you know that what you are buying is brand new with tags, in excellent condition, good condition or fair. In the case of online consignment stores, like Swap.com, the savings are compounded by the ease and convenience of the shopping experience. You don’t have to stop your summer fun activities and take your children shopping. You can just go online, let them pick some items, click, order and wait for your purchases to show up at your doorstep.

Since every article available at Swap.com is thoroughly inspected by a professionally trained merchandiser, your order will be exactly what you thought it would be; no unpleasant surprises, foul odors or misrepresented quality. You will always be satisfied with the products you purchase at Swap.com, or you can return what you don’t like and receive 100 percent of your money back – unprecedented in consignment store shopping. So you can continue to enjoy your summer until the very last drop of sunshine is gone.

by Marta Jimenez- Lutter

TO GARAGE SALE OR NOT TO GARAGE SALE? THERE IS NO QUESTION. SWAP.COM INSTEAD!!

Having a garage sale this time of the year might sound like a good idea. That is until you actually start organizing one and realize the amount of time and effort involved in pulling it all together. It will take hours of work to sort through every item you want to sell, price it, set up everything outside and then deal for hours upon hours with hoards of people haggling with you over a $1 item.

At the end of the two day garage sale ordeal, you will be left with some items, no patience and a little bit of money for hours upon hours of work.

So, how do you get all your outgrown and unused kids’ items out of your house and make a profit easily? You send them to Swap.com.

Swap.com will make the experience of getting rid of unused and outgrown kids’ items an easy, lucrative experience. Just pack your gently used items in a box, send it to us and, once you receive a link with the items photographed, name your price for the items. That’s it! You will receive a check in the mail when your things sell, no haggling, no bartering, no hours sitting in the sun or rain dealing with hoards of people.

Also, at Swap.com you can purchase new items to replace the once your kids outgrew or buy anything on your summer list for a fraction of the price at retail stores and you can do it from the comfort of your home. New clothes, toys, books, movies, games and sports equipment that have been thoroughly inspected to ensure quality are just a click away.

So, if you’re tempted to do a garage sale, save yourself some time, work and aggravation and just send your kids’ items to Swap.com, we will do the work for you, no haggling required.

Pre-owned Maternity Clothes, Almost Free!

The glow of pregnancy is a great concept that is not universally embraced by all pregnant women. At least in the sense that many of us don’t feel like we’re glowing as much as incredibly uncomfortable and huge as a house, but then again, I may be speaking just from my own experience.

One of the challenges of having your body change and grow over nine months is, simply enough, finding clothes that fit and don’t make us look like a tent.

Another challenge is that most pregnant women will go through different sizes as they move from trimester to trimester, so that cute pair of pants in a size small or medium you bought in your second trimester, might not fit when you enter the eighth month.

While there are some days when pregnant – and let’s face it, non-pregnant women too- just want to wear yoga pants and lounge wear, there will also be many occasions during those four to five months – when the belly is at its most glorious –  when we will want to look cute and stylish.

The changing sizes and the brevity of pregnancy (we know it doesn’t seem that way at the end) make buying new clothes seem almost wasteful. Also, buying maternity clothes when we need so many things for the baby might be a financial stretch for many of us. Yes, it is a tough balance: we want to look cute and stylish while being comfortable, but we also have a budget to consider.

That is why pre-owned maternity clothes are such a wonderful idea. For a fraction of the cost of new clothes, you can buy maternity clothes that, in most cases, are almost like new.

At consignment stores like Swap.com, every piece of clothing is inspected for quality, cleanliness and odors before being put on sale on the site, so you know that whatever you buy is as clean as if you bought it from a store. The quality of each item is clearly explained with the description of each garment, so there are no unpleasant surprises. You will know if you’re buying something that is new-with- tags, like new or in good or fair condition.

The selection available at Swap.com is also much greater than what can be found at a single brick and mortar store. Swap.com has more than 2,000 pieces of maternity wear from a variety of brands: A Pea in the Pod, Motherhood Maternity, Mimi Maternity, Liz Lange Maternity, Gap, Old Navy and many others.

The best part is that, when you are done with the clothes, whatever is still in great shape, you can wash,pack and ship back to Swap.com to sell. That way, you are not only saving money when you buy pre-owned maternity clothes, you are also making the money you spent back, which might make your maternity wardrobe free or very close to it.

So next time you get the great news that you are expecting, just enjoy and celebrate your good fortune, knowing that you’ll look your best for much, much less with the help of Swap.com. And yes, we also have yoga pants and lounge wear.

 

By Marta Jiménez-Lutter (a Swap.com employee and mother of two boys)

Traveling Fun For Everyone – Buy Card Games, Puzzles, Coloring Books…

Whether are going to your lake house a couple of hours away, on an airplane to a new destination or on a road trip around the United States, traveling with kids can challenge the most seasoned travelers.

Stocking up on movies, books, games and small toys can make the difference between a great experience and a nightmare to remember.

Summer traveling can put a strain on your budget, so finding economical ways to entertain the kids is often mandatory. Consignment stores, like Swap.com, offer the perfect solution for stocking up on everything you need to have a smooth trip, without breaking the bank.

Here are some ideas to pass the time easily on the go:

  • Movies are a great way to kill wait time at airports and keep kids occupied and quiet in the car. At consignment stores you can often purchase 4 or 5 movies for the price of just one at a regular retailer. The selection is often comparable to that of stores. Swap.com has hundreds of movie titles for kids and adults alike in its site.

  • Books are always fantastic options to keep everyone occupied for hours. Consignment stores offer hundreds of titles for young children, independent readers and adults alike. Books entertain everyone on the go and also once you’ve arrived at your destination.

  • Puzzles and coloring books can be used on the plane easily when you lower the food tray and also in the car using a cheap lap tray. Once you reach your vacation spot, kids can continue to play with these items during downtime, or bring them to restaurants to keep them busy during longer meal times.

  • Classic games such as card games are always fun and easy to transport. Consignment stores offer a variety of compact travel games such as Rush Hour Traffic Jam game, memory card games, dominoes and a variety of infant sensory toys, most of them under $10.

And last, but not least, don’t forget to check out the baby gear selection with infant carriers, blankets, bibs, travel changing pads, bags and a variety of like-new and new travel accessories for a fraction of the cost.

This summer, make traveling fun and memorable for everyone shopping at consignment stores.