Raising a baby on a second hand budget: Already loved baby gear, a dream come true

I was in the middle of my pregnancy when my husband pulled up to our little house, his red pickup truck loaded down with goodies. It felt like we had won the lottery.

There was a crib, mattress, sheets, changing pad and covers, a high chair, excercauser, toys, books and clothes.

He hauled everything into the nursery where a bassinet, bouncy chair and Bumbo seat awaited. The nursery was full and we hadn't paid for any of it!

Yesterday we talked about ways to get cheap kid's clothes. Let's talk about baby gear.

Again, my sister and my friend, Heather, had loaded me down with there genorosity. But what if you don't have generous people in your life?

My number one peice of advice: Ignore all the lists of things magazines and books tell you that you need to have a baby. You only need as much stuff as your budget can handles.

Here are the musts:

  • Crib
  • High Chair
  • Changing pad
  • Blankets
  • Stroller
  • Car seat - extreme caution should be used if puschasing a used carseat. I would advise against it. Here is why.

Here are somethings that are great to have but you could do without them:

  • Bouncy chair
  • Boppy Pillow
  • Baby gym

Now, I say you don't need a bouncy chair, but considering my son slept in that thing the first month of his life, maybe I should move it to the must have spot???

And here is one thing you don't need:

  • A changing table. - Seriously, put the changing pad on a dresser and move on with your life. You don't need an extra piece of furniture you will need to get rid of later.

SO how do you get the must have for cheap?

  • Craigslist- This online garage sale has a ton of great stuff! I have sold a car, a couch, a bed, a refrigertator and given away a litter of puppies on Craigslist. And there is baby stuff galore. This morning I saw a stroller, monitor, highchair and bouncy seat on sale for a combined $20! You can't beat that. Click here for tips on how to buy on Craigslist.
  • Garage Sales - This sounds like no brainer, right? It is June, so garage sale season is in full swing and many of them have tons of baby items. If you go to a garage sale make sure you have cash on hand. Be willing to haggle. While a garage seller wants to make cash, they also want to get rid of their stuff, so they will probably be willing to cut you a discount, especially if you are buying multiple items. Most local papers run a garage sale section in Friday's paper, so it won't be hard to find one.
  • FreeCycle - If you live in a rural area like I do this might not be an option for you. But if you're a city dweller, FreeCycle is a great place to find, trade and get rid of baby gear for free. Free is in the name!
  • DIY - Stores like IKEA or unfinished furniture stores offer great deals on baby furniture if you're willing to put in a little work you can get some BIG savings.
  • Buy for the future. Your baby doesn't need tiny furniture just because they are a tiny person. Go ahead and get your child's dresser, book shelves, etc. now and use them as baby furniture. That way when your child gets older they already have the furniture they need and you won't need to buy two sets.
  • Understand that everything you get doesn't have to be shiny and new. A used crib can be painted, polished and shined. A great set of colorful sheets or a colorful changing pad cover can dress up a room. Your baby doesn't care if he or she has the latest, greatest, trendiest things. They care that you love them, feed them and change them.

I found out a long time ago that when I stopped trying to impress people with what I have and how I live I was a lot happier.

Remember one of my favorite verses:  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:20-21


Part I: Raising a baby on a second hand budget: Clothing on a dime.

Part III:Raising a baby on a second hand budget: Toys for boys (and girls)

Part IV: Raising a baby on a second hand budget: Don't forget Mom


Raising a baby on a second hand budget: Clothing on a dime.

No one can deny that having a baby is expensive. But it doesn’t have to break the bank. I was amazed when registering for our baby the amount of things people think you need.

Guess what?
You don’t.

I am not a brand snob. By any stretch of the imagination. I thank my mother for that, she raised us on Payless shoes and the Dollar General.

When my husband and I were planning on having a baby our financial circumstance was a far cry from what it is now. - Within two months of my son being born my husband got a great job with great benefits that allowed me to stay home. We moved closer to my parents for said job and we paid off all $10,000 of our credit card debts and the bills we racked up from having our son. I know, it has God written all over it.

We were looking at paying for this baby on a shoestring budget. And thanks to some generosity from friends and family- we did.

So, I am breaking down to you our second hand baby. Wow, that sounds sad.
Clothing- 99 percent of my son's clothes are second hand. And we didn't pay for any of them. My sister and my friend Heather were kind enough to give us clothes. For real!
Heather's baby was born one year before mine, and like my baby he was a chunker, so his sizes match my son's in season.

She gave us great, name brand clothes. Everything from jammies to onesies and some things even had the tags on them. When I tried to pay her she shook her head and smiled.
My sister did the same thing, handing over a giant plastic container of clothes. When little bit out grows one set of clothes I break out the plastic container and restock. It is like shopping.
But say you don't have an awesome big sister, or generous friend. What can you do?
  • Thred Up - This is a great website where you can get clothes, shoes, books and toys. The clothes are always in great condition and are 70 percent off of retail. They also have this great service where you can sell your kids clothes. They send you a bag, you fill it up with name brand, gently used clothing and they pay you.

** Thread Up used to have a flat rate, but as Kristen from Trial and Error Homemaking (a terrific blog) points out "Thred Up changed the way they do things. It's more like a consignment store now - where you purchase individual items. For instance, when I went to their site just now, the first item was a plaid shirt in size 4 for $14.49. They list "retail values" to try to justify their prices (this shirt was apparently 72% off). In my opinion, it's not nearly as great of a deal."

  • Be a sales rack Diva! I got a free subscription to Parenting Magazine through a couponing site. Each month they have a 20 percent off coupon for Gymboree and Crazy 8's. If you combine that with the Gymboree sales rack at the end of the season and buy ahead for next year, that is some big bucks. I am talking corduroy pants for $2 people!
  • Buy ahead - last week we went to Target where I found pants for $1 and shirts for around $2. (I paired that with a gift card I had gotten from ebates so basically my stuff was free.) The sizes I purchased were 12 months and up. My son won't wear those for a few months, but I have put them in his closet and when he gets bigger we will be ready to go. 
  • eBay! -  So why was Heather so willing to just hand over bags and bags of kid's clothes? Because she got them for a steal on eBay. You can buy kids clothing in bulk. Need to outfit your child for the summer? No problem, just type in a size and season and many, many eBayers are selling a garbage bag full of last year's summer clothes.
  • Consignment sales- In January my husband and I went to a HUGE consignment sale in Mobile. It happens twice a year and we made off like bandits. Plus the sale was running a Living Social special so that made it even sweeter. But, a little warning, when dealing with boy clothes, consignment sales aren't always a good deal- I think boys, even as babies, are hard on their clothes. Want to find a consignment sale in your area? Check out Consignmentsalfinder.org.

What have you done to save cash on clothing those kids?