By Claire (@claireysweetie)
If you’re expecting a baby or already have children at home then you’ll know that parenting can be expensive. Coupled with low maternity payments, a rising cost of living and often crippling childcare costs, it can be hard to know where to begin. As part of our ongoing commitment to share money saving tips for mums, we invited mum-of-two and brilliant pre-loved shopper, Claire, to share her top tips for shopping for second-hand baby and children’s kit with us! You can find Claire at www.claireysweetie.com.
Being parents is a blessing, but it can be very expensive, particularly in the beginning. When we were preparing for the birth of our first child, we started from scratch in sourcing what we needed: travel system, clothing, cot, steriliser etc. While we weren’t on a budget, my husband and I still only spent what we felt was necessary and looked for the best deals.
I like to refer to this period of spending at the beginning (of starting a family) as ‘set up fees’ because it’ll be a reasonably big initial outlay, but most of those things you’ll need to only buy once and they’ll last you for however long you need them, and either reuse for future children, or sell on.
And to be clear, there is nothing wrong with shopping new, particularly for your first baby because there’s so much to learn and understand what you need, that purchasing from baby retailers just makes things easier.
I discovered Facebook Marketplace late in my pregnancy when I still had a few things to get, and I don’t think I was specifically looking for anything, I just happened to be scrolling through at the right time. I was chuffed to bits when I found the bedside crib, I’d had my eye on, listed for half the price it was in the shops and brand new! I was also able to get a baby bath and a few other things which helped save on costs.
Second-hand baby stuff doesn’t have to mean used, or in poor condition. For some the thought of sourcing things second-hand feels dirty. Therefore, I much prefer the term ‘pre-loved’ because when it concerns children particularly, those items have already been loved, and it is simply time to pass them on for another family to love.
New parents are often gifted more clothes than they can get through and buy more items for baby that they think they need that end up being unused, so even though some things may end up on pre-loved sites, they are unworn, or worn and used only a couple of times with plenty of life left in them.
And as any parent will tell you, babies and children grow out of things faster than you can keep track of! In many cases those second-hand baby items are still in a good wearable and/or usable condition, so it makes total sense, (not to mention doing your bit for the planet), to pass them on to other family members, friends, neighbours, donate to local charity shops, and of course list on pre-loved sites and try and recoup some of that initial set up fee spend.
5 Top Tips for Shopping for Second-hand Baby Things
- Make a list
Start by writing down all of the things you want and need for your new baby.
- Do your research
What products do you want and how much do they cost? Which do you need straight away versus in 6 months time? Which are wants and which are needs? There is a lot on the market for babies and children but you’ll find your style and priorities.
- Refer to your list and now decide:
- What do you want or need new?
- What would you be happy with sourcing pre-loved if you can find it?
- What can you confidently find pre-loved?
- How fussy are you on brand – or are you looking for the item?
- Begin the search!
Vinted, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, local Facebook groups, Gumtree, and charity shops are your friends! For online, you can easily set up saved searches that will notify you as soon as something you want is listed. You can also make (reasonable) offers and use a service like Shiply if a collection-only item is further away.
This is a great option for nursery furniture. Maybe you already have a spare set of drawers you can put in the baby’s room, but have you considered second-hand furniture shops? The British Heart Foundation has furniture shops where you can find quality pieces that may just need a lick of paint to give them a new lease of life in your home.
As your children get older, you’ll want to buy them toys and books and eventually they’ll make very specific requests which can make shopping preloved harder, but not impossible! While they’re young, a new toy or book to them doesn’t necessarily mean new from a shop.
It’s important that we approach more things in life sustainably when there is already so much available to rehome and reuse.
So, before you automatically head to Amazon, or any of the big retailers for baby and children’s items you need, with a bit of patience, so many things can be sourced for a fraction of the cost pre-loved.
It would be great to hear about some of your best pre-loved finds so please do share them in the comments. Good luck!