Calling all Thrifty Moms…
Having a child can be very expensive. There are so many unknowns and so many small costs that add up fast. This can be quite a stress for parents, particularly new ones. And can be a source of tension in your relationship. Luckily, IT’S 2017!!! Which means there are lots of ways to be thrifty and get great clothes, toys and books for your little one without spending a ton of money.
Besides the go to usual places, Ebay (which isn’t really a great place for a deal that often anymore) and Craigslist (a good place to find a specific item you are looking for, usually in good condition and at a negotiable price), here are a couple other ideas. (***DISCLAIMER: I get nothing from any of the following companies in order to list them here. There are many options out there and these are just a couple I’ve found to be helpful.)
- Online sites or apps: There are a ton of consignment based sites/apps out there where you can find great deals and/or make some money as your little one outgrows their clothes. One such is threadUP (which has kids clothes, shoes, accessories as well as women’s clothes). threadUP is particularly easy to sell on as they will mail you a large postage paid bag that you fill and drop at the UPS or USPS near you. You don’t have a say in the price your items sell for and you don’t get back what is not accepted but it’s a good way to get rid of a large amount of things and make money for very little effort. You can then get a check or use your money to buy other gently used items on the site.
- Consignment Stores: These will, of course, vary from state to state and within areas of the state. In Connecticut there are both independent consignment stores as well as a chain called Once Upon A Child. All you have to do is google “kids consignment store” and your town/state and most of the time some options will pop up. Again, similar to the online sites, you generally do not have a say in the price your items are sold at. The upside is that you usually get your money upfront, before the store sells your goods. The downside, they are usually picky about what they accept and you only get about 35% of what they think the item will sell for which is a very small amount. Again, these can be great places to get well maintained clothing, toys, books or baby items for a great price. If you are someone who likes to try different strollers, baby carriers, or other items, this can be a goldmine.
- Consignment Sales: If you are lucky enough to live somewhere (like Hartford County, Connecticut) that has some local Consignment Sales, they can be a real blessing for parents. If you want to sell at them, you have to do some work (though some have tagging services that do the work for you) to list your items in a database and tag it. If you just want to buy, get there early and have a list of items you are looking for prioritized from most to least important. The upside, if you are selling, you have control over the price of your items, you usually get unsold items back and you can make from 60%-75% of the sale price at most sales. The downside, it can be some work to sell and you are at the mercy of what is available that year (sometimes there are tons of pack n plays, sometimes none). If you are in the Hartford, CT area, check out http://www.cutekidssale.com or Latimer Lane School Consignment Sale. Both happen in Spring and Fall each year.
- Libraries: Kids can go through books very fast. And if you are a parent who enjoys reading to your kids, it soon feels like you could recite every book in the house from memory. Although owning some books is always a good thing, the library can be a wonderful resource for rotating new books through the house every 2-3 weeks. It is a great chance to find some books from your own childhood that you remember fondly and want to share with your child. And a great way to engage your child in developing their own interests. Also, it allows your child to read books that you may not otherwise want to buy as many children’s interests change frequently. Many libraries also have audiobooks, dvds, and some have games or toys you can borrow as well. Also, many of them have free museum passes and the ability to download Ebooks from your home using your library card. Free books, movies and games!
- Tag Sales: Free family adventure to hunt for cheap finds! Spring is the start of Tag Sale Season in New England. Upside, your kids are cute and will probably get you a deal on toys or other kid items that they want. Downside, you are often shopping blind and will need to hunt around to find things if you are looking for something specific. Also, if you check Craigslist or your local papers, you may find specific tag sales listed along with some of the items that will be sold. This can give you an idea of if it is a sale you want to check out or not.
- Swaps: Again, depending on where you live, these may exist or not. The most common is a Cloth Diaper Swap. A great place to trade or buy cloth diapers. (especially if you are trying them out for the first time). If you can’t find any toy or kid clothing swaps in your area…START ONE! Whether you make it large or small, I’m sure you’ll find other moms desperate for new clothes, toys, books or other items. You can keep it intimate and familiar by just getting together with a few mom friends or advertise and take the first 15 women who respond. However you choose to structure your swap, it’s a wonderful way to get to know other moms and get fresh items for your LO for free!
- ASK AROUND: If there is something you want to try out such as a baby carrier, stroller, specific toy or something you only need once such as a fancy pair of shoes for a holiday outfit for your LO, as around. Send out a group email (people will understand) to moms/families you know, or a FB posting specifying what you are looking for and asking if anyone happens to have it available to loan. You would be surprised what people keep up in their attic long after their child no longer uses it. And, if you use something like Craigslist, try listing your own post, specifying what you are looking to buy, the condition you would like it in and the price (approximate) you are willing to pay. People sometimes don’t even realize they still have something until they see that someone else wants to buy it.
When all else fails, prioritize what you really need for your little one, shop sales and when grandparents ask what LO “wants” or “needs” for a holiday or birthday…be honest! If there is something you want for your child or that your child wants, say so. People ask because they want their money spent on something that will be appreciated, used and loved. Let it work for both you and them.
Hope some of these ideas are helpful…Happy bargain hunting!