I am expecting my third baby girl in April, and while I am not anywhere close to being a baby expert, I am pretty savvy at saving a lot of money on baby stuff. Many times, I even make a profit on my used baby gear.
Here are my tips and secrets.
Do Your Research on What Sells Best and Works Best for You
While I was frugal in my first pregnancy, I still bought several baby products that I never ended up using. This is inevitable for first time moms. It takes time to figure out what products you love and which products your little ones love. For example, I am not a fan of breastfeeding pillows, baby baths or muslin blankets for swaddling, but I need my Moby wrap and Rock n’ Play to survive.
Once I have my to-buy list, I research how much they resell for. For example, a quick search on eBay will show me that a Moby wrap resells for about $20, which means my goal purchase price is $10 or less. Do I always find items for my goal purchase price? No but when it does happen, I know that I am getting a great price and can make back my initial investment plus more, depending on the item. A Moby wrap earns a smaller profit because the original purchase price is not very high. However, once you get into bigger, pricier baby items, the chance for a return profit is higher.
For this baby, I jumped at the chance at an OfferUp deal for a free Fisher-Price Snugabunny swing (retails for $117). The swing was in great condition but didn’t work. A quick search on eBay allowed me to find a replacement motor for $10, and my handy husband fixed it quickly. When we are done with the swing, we will hopefully sell it for $50-60, which is a nice return on something we needed to buy and use anyways.
Where and How to Find Cheap Baby Stuff
Timing is your friend when it comes to finding affordable baby items. Throughout my pregnancy, I shop garage sales, thrift stores, OfferUp, Craigslist, and eBay to find the best deals on my wish list items. Many times, like the free swing find or several of the affordable strollers I have bought in the past, it is just being in the right place at the right time. I try to do a quick search once or twice a day on Offerup or Craigslist to snag items that are super low price. This strategy allowed my husband to snag a $700 drone for $60 last week and a $200 Britax B-Ready stroller for $30. Sometimes people receive things as a gift and don’t realize the resell potential it has, which my wallet thanks them for.
As far as thrift stores and garage sales go, I don’t go as often as I’d like. When I was pregnant with my first, I was able to go every weekend and score great finds. Now, life is a little busier, so I try to go once a month, either a few hours to garage sales or an hour at the thrift store. This is my fun shopping, and I go here rather than Marshalls or Target as a shopping trip.
At the thrift store, I look for two main things – things I need now or in the immediate future and things that can be quickly resold. For example, if I am already looking for clothes for my kids, I am also going to look for pieces that can be resold. This means I might take a quick peak at boy sweaters, no matter what season I am in, even though I only have girls. Once, when looking for baby girl clothes, I found a baby boy’s Burberry outfit for $1.99. I quickly resold that piece for $75, making all the other clothes I bought that day basically free.
See also: Make Money on eBay: Fast Tips to Start Making Money This Week
My Baby Clothing Strategy
When I shop for baby clothes second hand, I am an extremely picky, brand snob. I really only want to bring home brands that sell well. Baby Gap and Gymboree are my personal favorites, but of course, many other baby brands will bring in a bigger profit.
In California, thrift store prices can be a bit high, so I try to go on half off days and look for pieces that are $1-3 each that can be resold for double or triple, if not more. This way, my little one can look cute, and then when they outgrow the outfit, I can earn my money back or earn a small profit on my used clothing.
I try to list and sell the outgrown item right away, if the season is still right. I don’t save anything except for one favorite outfit, for other kids. For seasonal items, like the cute turkey shirt my toddler is wearing above, I pack it away with my fall decorations. I know that when I pull out my decorations for next year, I will be reminded that I need to list the shirt for sale.
Don’t Save Baby Items
Did you catch what I said? I don’t save clothes or items for other babies. I consider my house prime real estate and don’t want to waste it by storing items for potential future babies. Also, by saving an outfit or baby gear for two babies can make it too old to resell for the best profit. For example, buying a $500 stroller and holding on to it for five years dramatically decreases its value. You might have made more by selling your stroller when the model was still current rather than two to three models old. Of course, there are some baby items you will want to use and hang on to forever. That’s okay! I still have and use the umbrella stroller that I bought in 2013, with no plans to sell it any time soon.
To sum up my baby saving strategy that has saved me over $3,000 with each baby – buy high quality items as cheap as you can. Forget Walmart brands – shoot for the higher top of the tier for baby items. Then sell them for as much as you can as soon as you are done using them.
For some items, like baby clothes and baby swings, it is obvious when to sell them since the baby stage for these items goes quickly. Other items, like Pack n Plays and toys, you might hang on to longer because you use them so often. I paid $80 for a second hand Pack n Play in 2012. I am finally done with it for my second and want a newer one for my third. While it is still nice, I don’t expect to make a profit or even that much money on it, but that is okay because it was in constant use for the past six years. In this case, I will just bless another friend with it and consider it $80 well spent.
How do you save money on baby items, and what are your must-have baby items?