Baby On A Budget: Hand-Me-Downs and Second Hand Stores
Baby on a Budget is a series of posts that I'll be doing to share all the ways we've managed to save money while bringing up our baby. When I read the stats about how much money new parents supposedly spend getting ready for a baby and caring for a baby in its first years, I cringe! I can certainly see how it happens though.... These posts are meant to help you stay away from that awfully high number!!
We were ridiculously lucky to have a baby boy almost exactly one year after my sister had her own baby boy. This is not because our son would have a cousin close in age, though that's nice too. My thoughts are inclined to be more selfish in nature. I was mostly ecstatic about all the hand me downs I was about to receive!!
Over the course of my pregnancy, I amassed what must have been 25 diaper boxes full of clothing, shoes, boots, coats, mittens, toys, books, bouncy seats... If it could be marketed to babies, it was in my dining room. Throw in all the gifts from my excited first- time everything in-laws and there was no way I would need to buy anything for my baby for at least a year. Honestly. We were even gifted a diaper cake made out of 200 disposable diapers- and we were cloth diapering!!
I saved a lot of money by using every single hand me down I could get my hands on. I didn't just receive stuff from my sister either. We were offered things from cousins and friends as well. There were certain specific things that I wanted for our small home such as a high chair that straps on to a regular dining room chair and a fold up exersaucer and these things I either requested from family members who were planning to buy us presents or used gift cards that we received to buy.
Obviously, you can't go and intentionally get your older sister knocked up a year before you plan to bear children so for those of you less lucky than myself (it might not be so much a case of luck as a case of having the odds stacked in my favour- 4 older sisters is pretty well a stacked deck...) I encourage you to buy second hand. When I realized I didn't have a Bumbo, I found an awesome deal on Kijiji! When I find that there is something missing in my son's overabundant wardrobe, I go to Once Upon A Child- an awesome children's consignment chain in our area. It isn't unusual to find items with tags still on them! Children grow out of their stuff so fast that most of the time used items seem new anyways.
I have particularly enjoyed buying second hand toys for my son. I can go into Once Upon A Child and buy 4 things for $20 that would have cost me $20 each new- and my son loves them just the same!! Our local store steams the toys and packages them in bags with hang tags. My husband jokes that I intentionally leave the price tags on the toys for longer than I have to because I am so proud of what I paid for them.
It is easy to get sucked into the idea that you need to buy all these nice, new, expensive things in order to provide for your child especially when your hormones are all messed up and you're literally crazy in love with your kid. Keep your head clear though, and remember that your kid doesn't need everything you see on TV and it won't matter to your baby if the book they're reading has been read by someone else. You are going to need a lot more money to feed and clothe your kid down the road so you might as well save what you can now!