Babies grow so fast that it’s sometimes difficult to bring oneself to buy clothes new or at full price only to pack them away again a month later. If you want to find low-cost options, the fact that babies grow quickly works in your favor. Figure out where all of those high-quality, little-worn clothes go when the babies are grown. Some other baby’s old clothes become your baby’s low-cost baby gear.
In my family, boxes of clothes were passed among my mother and my aunts. I have quite a few cousins close to my age, and we all ended up in the same clothes. My children have also had clothes from their cousins. I thought I needed much more stuff with my first child than I really did, so I ended up with crazy excess. We’ve passed these clothes and diapers and shoes and gear to the little sisters of her friends. Then, as the boxes come back, they’ve gone back out to my friends’ babies. I think most of the clothes are circulating between a couple of my girlfriends right now. I love seeing their babies wearing the clothes I remember so fondly on my own daughter.
COST: Free, pays great goodwill dividends.
This gifting network gives a group of local people the chance to give and trade what they no longer need. Their motto is “Changing the world one gift at a time.” Start by joining your local group. You will be added to a discussion group. Then, build relationships. You may find that you you make buddies you can trade with . Go with the intention of giving as well as accepting gifts.
COST: Free, of course.
Craigslist offers classified ads sorted by city then by general area. There is no group to join, though you may begin to recognize others who post frequently. If you are looking for a specific item, a stroller by brand and stage, you might do well on Craigslist since there is generally a broad reach. If you find an item you want, you just answer the ad then make arrangements to pay and pick up the item.
COST: Usually low-cost, occasionally free.
Second-hand or consignment store
Making local connections face to face while supporting local businesses is always a great choice. What’s the difference between second-hand and consignment? A second-hand store owns the goods they sell you. A consignment store only pays the original owner once you buy the items. Usually, the clothes you find are in good shape, though you might have to sort through them to find the better-quality items. Best-case, build a relationship with the staff so they know what you are looking for and can tell you which of your items might sell to their customers.
COST: Usually low-cost, but consignment does not necessarily mean inexpensive.
If you are completely focused on one brand or other detail, give yourself time to find it. Look off-season, well in advance, so you can get better prices. If you are in a rush, be more flexible.
Keep your costs low by turning it back around. As your baby grows, sell, trade or give away what you no longer need.