COLUMBIA — Columbia mom Lexie Cox has been a volunteer for three years with Just Between Friends, a group that hosts semiannual sales to help families save money on clothing and other children's needs.
Cox also does most of her shopping for her kids at the events.
WHAT: Just Between Friends sale
WHERE: Boone County Fairgrounds
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
ADMISSION: The cost is $2 on the first day and free on the other days. Group passes are also available. Fee information is available on the group's website.
OTHER: On Friday, untagged merchandise will be marked down 25 percent, and on Saturday all merchandise will be marked down 50 percent.
"I get about 75 percent of my boys' wardrobe at the sale," Cox said.
Just Between Friends will put on its 10th sale this Thursday through Saturday, just in time for the new school year. The organization offers consignment items including gently used children’s clothing, baby toys, playground equipment and children’s books and movies. The consigned items are sold at 50 percent to 90 percent off the retail price.
Just Between Friends is a national organization based in Tulsa, Okla., with smaller franchises across the country. Its stated mission is to provide financial assistance for families with limited budgets.
Another way to save money is to volunteer to work at the sale. Volunteers get to shop before the rest of the public and get better deals.
According to the group's website, parents can consign their merchandise and keep up to 70 percent of the proceeds. Just Between Friends uses the other 30 percent to help pay for the event venue, insurance, clothing bins and racks and marketing for the sale. Parents can also consign their children’s outgrown items in exchange for bigger sizes.
"You can find just about anything you need there," Cox said. "They have things from the time you find out you're having a child, until you send them off to college."
Just Between Friends also works with a local children’s charity and The Lighthouse Shelter, which is a crisis shelter for abused women.
“Most of these women come in with nothing and need clothes,” said Michelle Wiginton, event coordinator for Just Between Friends. The group donates all of its leftover clothing to the shelter. It also donates clothes, school supplies and money to children's charities.
Wiginton said the sale is a great place for Christmas shopping, especially for parents and grandparents on a limited budget.
“Everyone in the community is invited to participate,” Wiginton said. "All you need to bring is a laundry basket to shop with."