With the market saturated with millions of baby items, it’s easy to spend thousands on your new baby. Clothes, shoes, toys, nursery décor….the list is endless. But is spending so much really practical? Imagine spending $20 on shoes for your newborn, and two weeks later, they no longer fit. That’s a cost of $10 per week to wear those shoes. Not very practical. In fact, it’s downright silly.
But your baby needs things, and those things cost. So how can you get what your baby needs without spending a ton of money? Let’s discuss….
First of all, it’s okay if your baby’s things aren’t 100% new, especially when you think about how fast babies grow. There is absolutely nothing wrong with passing along, and accepting, used baby clothing, shoes and toys. In fact, it’s clothing that is passed down and found in thrift stores may be the clothing that is no longer manufactured, meaning your baby will have unique clothing that perhaps not many babies have.
Several years ago, I began shopping at thrift stores. I initially wasn’t too keen on the idea…rummaging through things that had belonged to other people, and never dreaming I’d find anything I could use, let alone dream of purchasing. It didn’t take long to discover how very wrong I was.
The retro clothing, which has made a huge comeback in the past several year, hung neatly on hangars in row upon row. Racks and racks of baby clothes, some with the tags still on them! Shelves of baby toys were endless, waiting for me to take home, disinfect, and delight my children!
If you’ve never shopped at a thrift store, promise yourself to do so. You really will be surprised at what you’ll find, the prices are sweet, and you’ll find so much more than baby clothing and items. In fact, so much of my large country home are decorated with antiques that I have found at thrift stores. Plan on taking your time at thrift stores. Although they do their best to sort things according to size and gender, customers don’t always put things back in the correct spot after looking at them or trying them on.
Another great way to come across much-needed items for your baby is using the barter system. For example, a friend of mine knew someone who had spent a fortune on clothes for their baby daughter. My friend loved the clothing, and really needed clothes for her daughter. But her budget was tight. She knew her friend had much of the baby clothing simply stored away in bags in the garage. So, my friend decided to use the barter system. She approached the woman she knew and told her that she had greatly admired the baby clothes and the good taste in clothing, and would love to use them for her own daughter. She stated that although she couldn’t really afford to buy them, she would love to barter for them. She offered to cook one meal a week for the family for three weeks in exchange for the clothes. The woman, who worked full-time, jumped at the offer, as it meant one whole night free of cooking. In addition, she knew the clothes would go to good use and she didn’t have the time to tag them and host a garage sale anyway. In the meantime, my friend planned three meals for the woman and her family, with each meal costing only about $20 each (homemade pizza with salad, spaghetti, etc.). So, for $60 and a small amount of her time, she came away with a huge bag of beautiful, most like new baby clothes.
There are also bartering sites to find what you need in exchange for something you have or for a service. You can offer to clean someone’s house, or if it’s someone you know, offer to baby sit their children for an evening. Do some searching on your favorite search engine for bartering web sites.
Hit the garage sales as soon as the season starts. Baby items go fast, so start early. Check the garage sale listings in the newspaper and plan out your route. Remember to haggle on prices, too! As a cautionary note, avoid buying used car seats. You don’t know its history – if it’s been in one little fender bender, it may not protect your child as it should. If you buy a crib at a garage sale, make sure it meets federal safety guidelines. Avoid older model cribs.
Check out clearance sales at department and wholesale stores. At the end of summer, there’s going to be a lot of little summer shirts and shorts on sale. Shop for your baby’s wardrobe for next summer! Do the same at the end of winter…shopping a whole season ahead of time is a great way to get fabulous bargains, and the clothes will keep!
As far as toys purchased on garage sales or thrift stores, always disinfect them before allowing your baby to play with them. Never buy used baby bottles or pacifiers….just like car seats, these items should be purchased new.
Craigslist is still free and has a great section for “items wanted.” Make a list, and post it! After that, check out the section offering kids and baby items for sale. Also check out the “free” section in communities near you.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. There are plenty of ways to save on baby items, and once you convince yourself that not everything needs to be new, you’ll be very happy with how much money you’re going to save.