I wrote the bulk of this post in March, 2009,as a guest post for Money Saving Mom days before I started my own blog.  In fact, I had so much fun writing this post, I decided to start Mom’s Plans a few days later.  I have updated the post and have decided to run it on my blog in part because of the large response I received about my great stock up at Gymboree yesterday.

I love Gymboree clothes.  I love their cute designs, especially for girls.  However, I do not love their retail prices. Yet, when I shop at the back of the store, I find some clothing that is discounted as much as 80%. Pants that would normally cost $28.00 are marked down to $6.99.  Beyond shopping the sales racks, there are plenty of other ways to save on Gymboree clothing which I want to share with you all:

::Buy only clearance items and always use coupons. Many magazines such as Plum and Parents Magazine offer 20% off coupons. I subscribe to the Gymbohaven Newsletter to learn what magazines are currently offering coupons.  (Check out the deal at Mamapedia to get Parents Magazine for as low as $1!!)

::Buy during Gymbucks earning time, but only buy items that are on clearance. If you purchase $50 worth of clothing during Gymbucks earning, they will give you a voucher for $25 off your $50 order during Gymbucks redemption. If you purchase $100, you will receive a voucher for $50 off your next $100 order. 

Gymboree offers Gymbucks about six times a year. Typically Gymbucks earning periods run about 6 weeks long and redemption periods run about 10-14 days. During the Gymbucks earning period, it is not unusual for Gymboree to have sales where they drop the price of shirts to $3.99, pants to $6.99, dresses to $6.99 to $9.99, and shoes to $4.99. If it is at the end of a season, I always buy my kids clothes for next year in a size up from what they are currently wearing.

::Use eBay to make money back on your kids used Gymboree clothes. Even though it is possible to dress my kids for a fraction of the cost of retail at Gymboree, it is still not that frugal until eBay is added in.

For the last few years, once my children have outgrown their Gymboree clothes, I sell them on eBay, usually for the same price I bought them for or sometimes more than I paid! For instance, when my son was two, I fell in love with a pair of black corduroy overalls with a train on the front. I bought those and a matching turtleneck and socks (both with the train image on them) and spent approximately $22 on this outfit, and he wore it for his pictures, for Christmas, and to church.

After he had outgrown it, I sold it on eBay for $24.95! Basically, he wore this adorable outfit for an entire winter and then I got all of my money back. I dressed him for free!

A few tips for selling your children’s clothing on eBay:

::When buying at Gymboree, make sure to avoid plain items. For example, I bought my son a blue striped tee shirt and khaki shorts. Even though it is cute, because it is plain, I am having a hard time selling it on eBay.

::If possible, try to buy a set of clothing. Each line of clothing that Gymboree makes has a specific theme. The overall outfit I mentioned earlier was part of a line called “All Aboard.” Because I bought all the pieces with the train on them, they were more valuable for resale on eBay.

If you can find them, try to buy the matching socks or hair accessories (or for a baby, the bib), but don’t pay more than the discounted price for them because it is not worth it to pay full price for these items. I would rather go without the accessory than to pay full or nearly full price for them.

::Be aware that eBay shoppers follow the same seasons as retail stores. So, for instance, in February and March, when it is still cold, shoppers on eBay are snatching up spring and summer clothes.

If you try to sell your used summer items in May or June when kids will actually use them, you won’t make much money because most parents already have their kids’ summer wardrobe. By July and August, they are moving on to buying fall and winter clothes.

::Sell your clothing as a 30 day buy it now listing. Ebay gives you the choice of creating an auction for 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 or 30 days.  I always pick 30 days so my clothes can get maximum exposure.  If the outfit doesn’t sell in the first 30 days, I lower the price some and put it on auction for another 30 days. 

::Price your clothing competitively.  I generally don’t make much money on auctions, so I list all of my clothes as buy it now.  I give one set price, and the buyer purchases the item at that price.  For instance, if you bought a dress for $9.99 and it is still in very good condition, you could put it on a 30 day auction with only a “Buy It Now” price of $12.99, so you know for sure, if it sells, you will get your money back. Or, you could auction it with a “Buy It Now” price of $12.99 and also allow “Best Offers”. (Allowing “Best Offers” means that potential buyers can e-mail you with the price they are willing to pay, and you can accept or reject their offer.)

If you do want to run an auction because you want to get rid of the item quickly, try to always pick the 7 day auction.  Some people believe that if you start your auction at $0.99, you will get more bidders and will sell your items at a higher price. I usually do not find this to be true.  Instead, if you want to make sure you recoup the majority of your purchase price, I would recommend starting with a price of at least 50% of what you paid. So, using the same example of the dress you bought for $9.99, I would start the auction for at least $4.99 and offer a “Buy It Now” option of say, $12.99 (assuming the dress is in very good condition). 

::Make sure your auction description is precise.
I bought a four-piece set of Janie and Jack clothing (the upscale sister store of Gymboree owned by Gymboree) for my son off of eBay two years ago for approximately $18.00. I got it this inexpensively because there was a small hole in the knee of the pants.

I stitched up the hole, and my son wore this outfit for two winters. I sold it for $12.99 even though I honestly stated in my auction that it had the mended hole in the knee and two small stains on the shirt (compliments of my son). Because I gave an honest description of the item and took pictures of the flaws, the buyer left me positive feedback and was pleased with the transaction and so was I. My son wore an outfit for two years and it only depreciated $5, despite the addition of stains.

Gymboree is not your only source for buying Gymboree clothing. I have had good success buying gently used Gymboree clothes from second hand childrens’ clothing stores and then selling them on eBay after my son outgrows them. 

If you remember the buying cycle, eBay can also be a good place to pick up used Gymboree clothes, as well. I have purchased several of my son’s summer outfits in May or June for a very reasonable price because the seller didn’t sell within the correct eBay selling season and there are just not that many buyers for summer items sold in June.

I hope that these tips and ideas have encouraged you that it is possible to dress your child in Gymboree clothing without breaking the bank. And if you do it right, you can dress your child for free!

Since so many of you expressed interest in Gymboree clothing and selling on eBay yesterday, if you have further questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments or e-mail me momsplans*at*yahoo*dot*com and I can run a post explaining in further detail.

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