Shopping can be a total wallet-buster, unless you know how to work it. Kim Zaruba, a stay-at-home mother of three, rakes in approximately $3,000 dollars a year consigning her old clothing and baby gear.
Her consignment savvy dates back to just a few years ago when her family was forced to shore up cash following her husband's layoff. "We wound up selling our wonderful home that we loved dearly…spending was pretty much at a standstill," says Zaruba. "We had to reevaluate and work with what we had." That meant no more expensive items for the house or upscale labels for Kim, who started looking for ways to cash in on her cashmere.
From a community flyer at her daughter's pre-school, Kim discovered Just Between Friends, a network of national consignment events for children, maternity and baby gear. Founder Shannon Wilburn started the organization in her living room 15 years ago. Today, the group spans 24 states with franchisees hosting events in the Spring and Fall. "Our consigners make 65% to 70% of whatever they're selling and then they get a check in the mail about two weeks later. Our average makes about $350," says Wilburn.
Alternatively, you can sell gently used items at local thrift and consignment shops, as well as on Ebay, Craigslist, and fashion sites like RecycleYourFashions.com. You can also find neighborhood swaps online at Swap.com, or host your own with friends to curb that shopping impulse. You won't make a profit but free isn't a bad price to pay for newish clothes.
[Related: How to stretch your clothing budget]
To earn top dollar when consigning, Wilburn says you want to make sure your items match the three C's: They needs to be clean, complete and current. Anything older than five years is probably outdated, or out of style (unless it's vintage). Seasonal items - such as coats in the winter and dresses in the summer - will also sell better.
Are you making money from consignment or resale? We'd love to know. Find me on Twitter @Farnoosh, with the hashtag #finfit.