When you’re expecting your little bundle of joy, you have visions of a sparkling new Pottery Barn nursery dancing in your head.
Then reality sets in and you realize you’re probably not willing to forgo Junior’s college education for that swanky new suite of furniture, which, let’s face it, he’ll grow out of sooner than you can say, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
The solution? Stock your nursery with barely-used items all those other starry eyed new parents bought, and for a fraction of the price.
Sure, there are a few things you should only buy new (car seats and nursing pumps, for example). But here are seven crucial pieces of baby gear that are perfectly acceptable second-hand deals.
1. Clothes. Cute baby clothes are irresistible, but once the baby is born, he or she will immediately get to work on the task of growing so fast those cute clothes are too small after just one wear.
Parents spend an average of $600 per year on clothes for children, but buying up barely worn clothes at garage sales, second-hand stores or getting hand-me-downs from friends are great ways to shrink that price by 75% or more. Savings: $450 per year
2. Stroller. Deciding what kind of stroller to buy will consume hours of research and heated debate between you and your partner. It’s now possible to spend thousands on the latest trendy model. Luckily for you, you won’t need to. Used strollers in good condition can be found all over, from consignment shops to parent swaps, Craigslist and garage sales. Maybe you’ll be the lucky parent to find a used Bugaboo Cameleon (retail: $900) for $50 at a garage sale. Hey, it’s been known to happen! Like many used items, strollers can be sanitized
fairly easily for your new munchkin. Savings: $50-$100 or more, depending on the stroller brand
3. Linens and blankets. The bonuses of buying used baby sheets, blankets and burp cloths: 1) you won’t feel bad about the inevitable spit-up stains; and 2) they tend to get softer over time – all the better to swaddle your sweetheart. Savings: $25 or more
4. Swing. Baby swings can be priceless tools for getting screaming babies to calm down and fall asleep. But they are pricey: $100 or more at full retail. And baby will grow out of it in less than a year. What to do? Get a deal on a used swing (or better yet, nab that outgrown swing your friend or sister bought last year), and you won’t feel bad passing it on to the next deal-savvy mom in a few months. Savings: $50 or more
5. Toys. Here’s a secret experienced Moms already know: Babies prefer your car keys and cell phone to any actual “toy.” But let’s be honest; you need your car keys and cell phone to function, so you’ll have to distract baby with something else. Here’s an idea: Instead of spending your money on brand-new toys (to the tune of $20 to $40 per month), find nearly new ones via Craigslist or through a local mom-to-mom swap. Savings: $200 per year
6. Books and videos. Brand new baby books and videos can really add
up, and babies can be voracious consumers of both. Buy used instead — if
it turns out your baby isn’t a fan, you don’t have to feel bad about
casting them off. Savings: $100 or more per year or more
7. Crib and other nursery furniture. Furniture for your nursery can eat a huge hole in your budget (expect $500 to $1,000). Well-made furniture is built to last and can easily hold up through more than one owner – especially an item like a changing table that is only used for a few months before the baby gets too squirmy to change on a high surface. While shopping around, make sure any prospective used crib complies with Consumer Product Safety Commission standards (including no drop-side cribs). Savings: $300 or more