Have you looked into nursery equipment lately? Cribs, strollers, diaper changing stations, toys, baby monitors, diaper trashcans, cute decorations and much more will set you back a couple bucks if you buy them new and at the local Baby Store.
But, as a frugal parent, you realize most of the stuff you buy will be useless in a few years, if not months. So you decide to do it on the cheap.
Before you head out to the nearest garage sale and start buying willy-nilly, make a list of things that you will actually need. What To Expect The First Year has a fairly comprehensive list of items most new parents need. You could also visit Babies ”R” Us and look at their suggested registry list. Think carefully about what you need and talk to your friends with small children. They may have good suggestions for you on what items work best and which ones are useless.
You might be lucky enough to have a baby shower thrown in your honor. Many couples register for necessary items at stores like Babies ”R” Us and Target. Make a list and ask around before you do the actual registering and then save the receipts after you receive the gifts. I know one couple who scoured garage sales for several weekends in a row and ended up being able to take many things off their registry. This left the more important items, and ones less likely to be found used, on their registry like the car seat and breast pump.
One of the best paces to get baby items are yard sales. Look for neighborhoods with younger parents, yard sales by retirement homes probably will not help much. You may be able to find fantastic deals. Cribs for pennies on the dollar and more newborn toys than you actually need. Be sure that what you buy, though, is up-to-date with the current safety standards. Car seats and crib mattresses are often better found new.
Make sure to clean your items with anti-germ supplies, non-toxic for the baby, when you bring them home. You will be amazed at how much stuff you can find. Also, check out craigslist or ebay for other items. Sometimes parents sell an entire lot of stuff, enough to outfit the entire nursery for next to nothing. Be careful they don’t try to gouge you on shipping.
Another place to find used baby gear is a consignment store. Go to ones in nice neighborhoods and you can usually find trendy items for low prices. That Eddie Bauer diaper bag can be yours for a song!
The cheapest way to get those gently-used toys and other baby items is as hand-me-downs. Ask your friend with the two-year-old if they would be willing to do a baby-stuff swap with you. Call your cousin and ask her to send all of her kid’s outgrown clothes. Borrow a high chair from the neighbor who is transitioning her kid into a booster seat.