As I’ve revealed in the past, we’re expecting our first child (25 weeks and counting). Exciting! And, even more exciting is the sheer “cute” factor of baby gear. I was excited about the prospect of buying a whole slough of adorable onesies, a trendy travel system, and other essentials, because I wanted to be hip. What mama-to-be wouldn’t, right? Retailers like Babies R Us and WestCoast Kids dangle carrots in our faces, attempting to woo us into spending small fortunes and “keeping up the Joneses” of parenthood. It’s easy to be duped.
Thankfully, you’re not completely hooped. It’s possible to buy all of your baby essentials for a small fraction of the retail price. The catch? It’s going to be gently used. Babies and children grow out of everything in the blink of an eye, and you’re left with 0-3 month sleepers and no child to wear them. Many parents take these gently used items to consignment stores all over their respective cities, and others will post them to Kijiji and on buy/sell groups on Facebook.
If you’re like me, you were a second-hand maven before getting knocked up. I’m no stranger to shopping at Value Village, Goodwill, and consignment stores in Calgary. I even sell clothing to Trends Consignment, and it’s given my old clothing some new life – if not sold in-store, the clothing is donated to underprivileged women in the city. Either way, it gets another chance at making someone’s day.
Being frugal, there was no doubt in my mind that I could source baby items for less, so I took a few trips to notable kids’ consignment store Once Upon a Child. There are two locations in Calgary. It was at this store that I purchased onesies for $1 each, sleepers for $4.50 each, and our “new-to-us” Britax B-Agile stroller for $125. The same stroller retails for $280. My best find, to-date, is a used Baby Bjorn Active carrier for $20 – the same item retails online for $220. Sure, the carrier is used and a tad faded, but do you think your baby is going to notice? Not for one second. I’m sure they’ll still be content to drool on it, as babies are apt to do.
Don’t be afraid to adopt your friends’ old furniture and gear, too. We were fortunate enough to receive a change table and crib from friends. It’s mutually beneficial – they have the chance to clean out their homes, and you score a few freebies! The same concept applies – their kids grew like weeds, so there’s no reason to worry about clothing your baby in pajamas that were worn by another infant for 3-6 months. After all, do you throw your own clothing in the dumpster after a few washes, or are you like me – the person that wears the same garments until the seams start to fray?
There are a few things that we will purchase new. We’re not going to skimp on a convertible car seat, because safety is our top priority here. We will also purchase new crib bedding and change table covers, toiletries, socks, and other personal items, for hygienic reasons. I wouldn’t buy used socks or bed sheets for my feet, either.
Ultimately, how you prepare for your new family member is your decision. But, if you’re looking to save a few bucks, there is an abundance of second-hand gear available. In our minds, we’d rather spend less on the material goods and have the cash to travel with our kid(s). Both my fiancé and I believe that experiences are far more valuable than consumer goods – experiences create memories, not stuff.
What other money-saving tips and tricks would you share with parents-to-be? Let’s exchange ideas and help each other save money!
Once Upon A Child is located at 9250 Macleod Trail SE and 4625 Varsity Drive NW, in Calgary, AB. They can also be found at http://www.onceuponachild.com/.