One of my favorite ways to save money is to shop at a thrift store. Many stores have websites or social media pages that will let you know about their latest sales or promotions. My local Salvation Army has colored tag sales, if the item you are purchasing matches the color of the day it’s only $0.99. I often find some great items at thrift stores, like a complete set of Winnie the Pooh books for $1.00. However, there are also a lot of things you shouldn’t purchase at a thrift store, especially for a baby.
To Buy or Not To Buy:
Clothes: BUY! Babies grow so quickly that you may feel like all you are doing is buying new clothes for the first few years. Purchasing from a thrift store can save you a lot of money, just make sure you check the item completely. Look for any stains, holes, missing buttons, anything that will keep the outfit from being worn. Make sure you wash the item before putting it on baby!
Blankets: BUY! Blankets much like clothes can be easily washed, just check for any wear that would keep the blanket from being used.
Car Seats: PASS! Car seats should never be used if they have been in an accident. If purchasing from a thrift store you have no access to the seats history. Plus, car seats are always evolving to better protect your child, so do your research and purchase one new that is best for your family.
Cloth Diapers: MAYBE. This is a big maybe for me, I would not personally purchase a cloth diaper from a thrift store unless it was new in the package. I would however, purchase a cloth diaper from a garage sale where I could ask the owner how they were washed and how the elastic and PUL are holding up. Purchasing from a thrift store you run the risk of them not having been properly cared for and possibly leaking. Also, make sure you know your brands. Thrift stores may not be familiar with pricing on cloth diapers and may sell an $8 diaper for $10 without even knowing they were charging more.
Cribs: PASS! There are always great deals on cribs, and without knowing if all the pieces are there or if the crib has been recalled it’s better to just pass. Older cribs can have the wrong slats, and crib sides that are adjustable are no longer recommended.
Nursery Furniture: BUY! Looking to purchase a dresser or rocker? Buying used is perfect, just make sure it’s in good working condition and that the paint is not peeling or chipping before taking it home.
Toys: MAYBE. It’s always nice to save on toys, however if buying used make sure you thoroughly inspect the toy for any damage; cracks, broken pieces, anything that might snag. Also, make sure it’s something that can be fully cleaned. I don’t recommend purchasing stuffed animals new, however I know others who have no problem with it.
Overall, purchasing secondhand can be a great way to stretch your budget. Just make sure you are checking for product recalls, and that the items you are purchasing are safe for your child!