Fugalista: Thrill of the hunt!

Yesterday was opening day for Just Between Friends Tulsa Spring Sale. I've been to four JBF events since November 2009 (two months before Libby's birth) and have always scored awesome deals. Like our gently used Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper for half-off of retail. Or her cute rolling/rocking pony for $10.00. She LOVES that thing! And I've always gone on the final day and snapped up all of the 50% deals, especially on clothing, where I have gotten full outfits for $1.00-3.00/each.

That said, I've never been on opening day with the general public. I did go the first time during the "new moms" time that is opened ahead of the general public. So, yesterday was quite the experience. It was PACKED! And frenetic. There were people pushing strollers full of items while they slung crying babies and toddlers on their hips. There were hugely pregnant women dragging laundry baskets overflowing with baby gear. The check-out line took 1.5 hours!

Armed with $100 bill and my list, I set out on my hunt. I am a major bugetzilla and frugalista. I love bargain shopping and think consignment is the way to go when you're a mom trying to keep up with a growing child! 95% of Libby's things are gently-used. Buying second-hand items are good for mama's wallet and good for mother earth too. I cannot imagine trying to fully outfit the nursery and layette and all of the things we've used in the 13 months of Libby's life if I had to pay full retail price!

I started with the toys and books. I snapped up this classic Fisher-Price Corn Popper Push Toy for $5.

And this awesome set of small, chunky board book ABC blocks for another five bucks. I had wanted to get this for her birthday, but hadn't gotten around to ordering it off of Amazon.

I got a slew of other books too. Libby's favorite things right now are books. She adores them. And we read through the ones she has over-and-over again, several hours a day. She has many of them memorized. She really likes the ones that have photos rather than illustrations and those are hard to find. So I snapped up three of those, including one with a built-in mirror that she can see herself in while she's looking at the pages. I also got two fabric, "quiet" books. One is peek-a-boo with fabric flaps that she can lift to find the characters. The other is a Taggie book, that is great for her to have in her crib.

Next up was clothing and shoes. Libby is wearing a 24 months/2T and her growth has dramatically slowed down since August. For the first half of her life she went up in size in her clothing about every 6-8 weeks! So by summer she was in a size 18 months! In December we moved her up to size 24 months/2 T. Carter's outfits tend to fit her really well and for quite a while, so I bought several cotton knit one-piece rompers and dresses with bloomers. The other thing I appreciate about Carter's is that their styling for babies and toddlers is age-appropriate. I find that many of the other affordable children's clothing lines (where brand-new outfits are $25 or less) are like scaled-down, mini-tween and teen designs. It's sad, really. Libby wears cloth diapers and is on the chunkier side, so she needs things that are roomy and stretchy. And even if she could fit in slimmer designs, I just don't get why babies and toddlers need skinny or boot-cut jeans and tops that look like mirco-versions of things that 18-year-olds wear.

Maybe it's because I am an "older" first-time mom and other moms are closer to being in their teen years than not, especially around here, but I just don't think it's cute at all to let littles dress like they're older. Even my tween niece wants to wear things that I would have worn when I was 16 or 17 years old! I feel like such a fuddy-duddy. I am not prude at all, but what's wrong with little girls looking like little girls? Even the shorts and things that are out now are super short! Like with a 2-inch inseam. And why do toddler's clothes not have fully-elasticized waists. I cannot find one pair of woven or denim bottoms that are full elasticized. So we're sticking with comfy, cotton knits. To each her own, but I think moms who let their little dress like they're older are going to be in a world of hurt once the kids are actually teens. I mean, if she's allowed to wear a bikini bathing suit at age 5 why not at 15? Daisy dukes are cute when you're 3 so why not at 13? I'm just not going to go there. If Libby is anything like her mama, she will develop early. And she won't need any help in the looking-older-than-her-age department.

*stepping off my soap-box*

To round out the spree, I got a darling pair of multi-colored sandals. Libby is really into shoes right now after she played with the corn popper push toy and looked at all her books she just had to try on the sandals! This morning, she wanted to put them on over her footed pajamas. Too cute! So it was $97.12 well-spent. Usually, I got back to JBF on the closing Saturday to get the 50% deals. But I don't think I will this time...even yesterday, her size-range was pretty picked over...probably all of the "early-bird" shoppers (those who volunteer, etc. get first dibs) and I am not interested in getting items that I feel are not really age-appropriate styling. That said, I think she'll be pretty well covered for this Spring and Summer, although I'd still like to find a swim suit. It's so nice to feel confident in her sizing...this time last year I had purchased 6-9 and 9-12 month clothing thinking it would last her through the summer and I was so wrong!