Keeping Costs Down
Knowing where to find the best baby bargains is important for new parents trying to make ends meet after the little one has arrived. New babies need clothing, bedding, and baby furniture to be comfortable, but buying these things new at a retail store costs a bundle.
There are ways to save lots of money on the things you really need for a baby. To keep your costs under control, you need to know wha they are and check them out.
Second Hand Stores
We all know that second-hand stores exist, but shopping at these stores for baby items like clothing and toys is a great opportunity to save lots of money.
The great thing about baby items is that many people only have one or two babies, so their baby clothes, toys, and baby furniture is often very lightly used. Much of these gently used items are too much trouble for people to sell individually or to sell at a garage sale, so they will drop them off at the local second-hand store as a donation.
If you arrive at just the right time you will find what you need for baby in brand new or hardly used condition. These items can be found in high quality for a fraction of the cost that you would pay in the store.
Shopping at a second-hand store for baby items takes patience. If you can, start before baby arrives because you will need to check back often to score the best deals. That is because the best items go fast. Unlike a store with consistent inventory, second-hand stores carry whatever comes in the door. That means you may find nothing of value to you for a few visits in a row and then a mountain of goodies on your fourth. You have to put in the time to get the deal.
Another great spot for the best baby bargains is at garage sales. Much like the second-hand stores, baby items are typically for sale at garage sales once parents finally decide to clean house. That means it is feast or famine at garage sales when you are shopping for baby.
There are two ways to tell if a garage sale is worth your time with regards to baby items. First, if you check the paper or online and see an items like a crib, a changing table, or a baby swing, you know the parents have reached a point in their mind where their child is no longer a baby. That means they will also be releasing hold on their baby clothes as well. Think of it this way. Once they let the crib go, everything is for sale.
The other way is to do an early drive-by. Like reviewing the ads, you are looking for baby furniture. If you are shopping for this directly it is easy to spot but, remember, a parent selling a crib is also getting rid of all the clothes and toys, so to stock up for baby you should hit that garage sale.
You can generally expect to pay about half price for items at a garage sale. You will pay a bit more for quality furniture and less than that for typical clothing. Overall, you will do very well once you find the right sale.
Friends and Family
This one seems obvious, but some people do not feel comfortable asking for things from friends and family. You need to drop that attitude now. Most people are more than happy to give things away that they don't need, especially if the alternative is running it to a second-hand store or holding a garage sale.
If you are expecting or have a new baby and you know friends or family with children just beyond that age, you need to ask. Ask about the old clothes, bottles, high chair, cloth diapers, and everything else. They may be happy to lend you some pricier items with the agreement that you give it back. For example, they may lend you the crib knowing you would use if for 2 years since they don't plan to need it for 3-4 more years when they hope to have another child.
Keep your ears open around friends and family. Even if you are a few years from trying to have a baby with your spouse, if you hear conversation from parents stating they need to get rid of some baby things you need to jump in. It would be worth the time to take it off their hands now for free so that you could use it down the road. You can't beat free.
If you're really lucky you have a friend or sibling with kids older than yours. In this case you can set up a pipeline of clothing that passes from them to you.
Buying clothes for your baby on clearance is just smart, but it is hard to do. It is difficult for two reasons. First, you have to mentally prepare yourself to buy cute things that your baby can't wear today, since items on clearance are for the season that is ending. That means you will be buying shorts in the fall for next summer, so you have to buy a size up.
Second, buying on clearance requires you to get the right size. If you buy the next size of swimming suit for next summer and your baby's growth is more or less than you predicted, you might end up with a bad fit. Still, the savings are easily 50% or more this way so you can afford to be wrong once in a while.
The best time to buy clothing on clearance is just before the seasons change. Expect kidswear for winter to be on sale in late winter and summer clothing to be on sale in late summer. If you are ready when the clearance sale is, you stand to come out way ahead.
The Best Baby Bargains Are Out There
If you use this strategy of shopping second-hand stores, garage sales, communicating with friends and family, and paying attention to clearance sales, you will save huge money on baby items of all kinds and get the best baby bargains possible.