How I Prepared for Baby Without Going Broke
For those of our readers who don’t know me personally, I’m having a baby! Now, for anyone who has been in my position before, you know announcing that you are pregnant comes with advice from every direction. While I could write pages and pages about the advice I have heard over the last 7 months, for now, I’m going to focus on the procurement of all the products 2019 says every parent should have.
Since this is my first child, I am relying primarily on advice from friends and customer reviews to figure out which products I need for this little bundle of joy. But what to do when the advice conflicts? Make sure you buy this product, my baby LOVED it. Don’t waste your money on that product, my baby wouldn’t even sit in it. Everyone’s experience is different and every baby is different. It’s impossible to know which bouncy seat my kid will love and which stuffed animal will terrify her.
So I thought to myself, how do I best prepare for what’s to come without spending my life savings on baby products? Anyone who knows me knows the answer was not going to be just buying the bare necessities and see how it goes. So I decided I would try to take everyone’s advice and started a list of all the products people had told me I just had to have; if a friend or family member endorsed it, I would give it a try.
But then there’s the cost. How is one to acquire such a mass of supplies? All these little things add up quick! And of course I want the best products for my baby, which sometimes means paying the price for a premium brand.
One piece of advice that seemed to come up a lot was that kids grow so fast, whatever items you choose, they won’t use it long enough to wear it out. Then why not take advantage of the items other kids have outgrown, but not worn out?
So I started checking out local second hand groups to see what I could collect. I signed up for a couple of groups in my area that people can post on, and if anything on my list came for sale and the price seemed reasonable, I would snag it. Sometimes the items would be free, and sometimes they would be a fraction of the cost. Lots of times the items would look brand new, or almost new. Sometimes, they even still had the tags on them.
I also realized early on that people trying to offload a particular piece of baby equipment probably have other baby related items they no longer need. With this in mind, when I would message sellers about listed items, I would also mention that I’d be interested in looking at anything else they wanted to get rid of, if they had plans to post other items. Sometimes people said this was the last of their baby products, or they had given everything else to a friend or family member. Other times, I felt like I hit the baby product lottery. A couple of people had all kinds of things to offer. The benefit to me, of course, is that I got to peruse without any competition from other buyers – certain hot products get plucked from these groups within seconds of posting. The benefit to the seller is that they save themselves the trouble of posting each item and only have to coordinate one pick up time, which can often be the most arduous part of online resale groups.
My one rule was that items must be fully washable if they are coming to me second hand. They must either be dishwashable, or can be wiped down completely. If the items have cloth parts, they have to be able to go in the washing machine. Lucky for me, baby items are usually made with this in mind, so this didn’t exclude many items from my list. If there were items that couldn’t be fully washed or cleaned, I saved those for buying new. There were, of course, also a few items that never came up for sale, so those got added to the buy new list as well.
Overall, I collected well over $3000 (at retail price) worth of items for just over $500 cash. On average, I paid less than 17% of the retail value. Everything from baby bathtubs to Bumbo seats and everything in between. I’ll check back in once the baby is born and give an update on which products I use and share some of my favorites.