Nothing can be more overwhelming than the world of baby gear. Well, aside from having an actual baby, that is. Once the reality of things has finally set in it can be a bit daunting to digest all the new things you’ll need. And do you really need everything you’re told you “must” have? It’s easy to wonder where all that money will come from, so today I’m sharing six tips for saving money on all those things you need in the first few years.
1. Check out your local baby consignment store
These stores can be a goldmine! They’re a fantastic place to buy those pieces you’ll need (but only for a little while), like walkers and bouncers. You can also find unopened nursing gear (storage bags, flanges, bottles, etc.), baby proofing gear, clothing, blankets, playpens, baby carriers, you name it. Some things may look a little worn, but in the grand scheme of things it’s a smart and easy way to save some money.
2. Join online resale pages
Love smocked clothing but don’t have the budget to buy it brand new? There are countless resale pages online that are just for you! Or do you like the look of certain brands that are on the pricier side? There’s a resale page for you too. These pages are fantastic because they’re a great resource when you’re looking to shop and save some money, and they’re also a wonderful way for you to sell items your children no longer need. These pages often revolve around clothing and footwear, but be sure to also check out your local community buy, sell, and trade pages for larger items. This is how we scored our double jogging stroller and our structured hiking child carrier. We saved hundreds of dollars and have been more than satisfied with both of them. Just be sure to do your due diligence when inspecting the item in person and also make sure it hasn’t been recalled.
3. Don’t snub the thrift store
The thrift store is the best source for cheap toys! Some of my kids’ favorite items were $1 thrift store finds, and after being thoroughly sanitized they’re practically good as new. It can be easy to want the best and newest thing, but remember that a toy is a toy and most children won’t care if it’s new or not, all they care about is that it’s new to them. This is also a great way to build a “treasure chest” of toys for your child to earn for good behavior or helping out around the house.
4. Select pieces that will grow with your child
One way to save money in the long run is by purchasing items that will last your child longer than one short phase. Get a low dresser instead of a changing table (just put a changing pad on top of it) and you’ll have a piece that can carry them through adulthood. When choosing a crib, look for convertible options—ones that can transform to toddler beds once they’ve learned to escape their cribs. Additionally, do a little research and find a dual-sided mattress. These are designed to be firm on the infant side to help reduce the risk of SIDS, and then you can flip it over to the softer toddler side once they’re a bit older.
5. Shop end-of-season sales
I’ll caveat this by saying that it can be hit or miss if you misjudge sizes, but it can save you a lot of money if you get it right. We live in Hawaii so I always shop end-of-summer sales because the prices are so good and I know we always have a need for summer clothes. I’ve also learned that most kids can wear size 2T for about two years (at first things will be long and tight on them but then they get taller and leaner so they can still wear them!), so if you’re going to shop end-of-season sales I’d recommend not starting until they’re around that size … they grow out of those smaller sizes so quickly!
6. Embrace hand-me-downs
If you have friends or family members that have older children, let them know you’d be interested in hand-me-downs once they’re ready to part with their baby stuff. Nothing beats free, especially when you have young children.
The baby and toddler years are short, but they’re also very intense and expensive. When sourcing all your gear don’t fall prey to the advice you hear about things you must have. The best thing you can do is wait to see if you actually need it, and then get a little creative when it comes time to buy it. A little extra work and a dose of creativity can save you so much money!