Chances are if you’ve had kids, you’ve either uttered those words or have heard them from other well-intentioned parents.
With the average cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years of age estimated at approximately $245,000, it’s no wonder that that phrase gets uttered often.
With my husband and I expecting our first little one, we vowed we would do everything we could to keep costs to a minimum.
As first-time parents, we of course first wanted to buy everything brand new and top-of-the-line, but we soon realized that that mindset was dangerous and was ingrained in us through the commercialism that plagues our country and the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that gets many people into debt.
While we are doing well financially now, we do not want to sacrifice contributions to our retirement, annual family vacations, and child’s college education fund in order to purchase brand new baby items or clothing that will get used only a handful of times.
That’s why we’ve decided to be frugal and purchase a lot of our items used, including big-ticket nursery items, equipment, and even clothing. Here are five online sites for buying used baby gear.
Varage Sale, which means virtual garage sale, is an online site and app that allows you to buy, sell, and connect with people in your neighborhood. You can sell items as well as browse items that other locals are selling.
Unlike Craigslist, you are forced to connect with your Facebook profile, ensuring that you’re dealing with real people and, for the most part, non-shady people as well. You can also read reviews on sellers to decide if you want to do business with them. Think of Varage Sale as the much safer and improved cousin of Craigslist.
One of the best ways I’ve found of buying used baby items—and to save money on shipping—has been to shop local! If you search on Facebook for mom groups in your area, chances are you’ll be able to find groups that focus specifically on buying used baby items. I’ve saved between 50-75% off retail by purchasing from local moms, and many of these items are in excellent condition. I bought a used mobile for $15, from the original $60 price tag, and a B.O.B. jogging stroller for $150 as opposed to the original $385 price tag.
Search for “(Your City) + moms” or variations such as “baby sale” in order to find groups in your area.
I love consignment stores, but the thought of having to shift through racks and racks of items with a baby in tow is a little much to take. Enter online consignment store, Swap.com, an online consignment store for baby and kids’ items, as well as women’s apparel. You can buy and sell used items, and search for items based on size and condition. No more plowing through racks and racks of unorganized clothing! And they carry lots of name-brand clothing as well.
Buy used clothing, toys, books, blankets, equipment, furniture—basically, anything you can think of baby-related! At RockaBuy Gear, you buy directly from other moms who have posted their items to sell. Think of it as the baby-only section of eBay, but without auction pricing. Payments are made through Paypal, similar to eBay, which offers buyer and seller protection.
Trading Cradles lets you either buy locally from parents in your area, or have them shipped to you. You can find new and gently used baby items for up to 60% off retail by browsing through items and then messaging the seller and making an offer on their item. You can also sell your own used items as well, and listing an item takes only 30 seconds. There are no fees associated with buying or selling an item.
Buying used is a great way to not only save money, but to help the environment by diverting items from landfills. If you do buy used, make sure to check that there are no recalls for any of the baby items you’re purchasing by doing a simple search online. With all the money you save, you can easily contribute more toward your child’s college education, or help fund your own retirement.