Babies grow so fast, it’s a shame to pay retail prices for their clothes and gear which they will only use for a few months. A previous article recommended buying baby clothes in garage sales, which is a great idea. Here I recommend garage sales, eBay, craigslist and thrift shops for getting quality used clothes and other baby items for a fraction of the price. I only buy barely used items – you can really find great used stuff that is practically new!
Before you start bargain hunting, you need to do a little research. Look up online how much the clothes and gear you are interested in cost new. Once you know how much you would pay otherwise, you are ready to find bargains!
I recommend that you go to sales in the morning, as soon as they open to get the best stuff. Also I suggest that you go to the more expensive neighborhoods in your area to find the best brands.
In addition to clothes, you can look for baby gear at these sales, such as high chairs and entertainment items (such as exersaucers, which are used for short periods of time). In general, a rule of thumb for baby gear is that you should not pay more than 50 percent of the retail price if you buy the item used. Baby clothes tend to lose their resale value even more abruptly, so I never pay more than a $5 for an item of clothing (and in general I only pay $1-2 for each piece of clothing).
Especially good selection can be found at rummage sales sponsored by churches and other non-profit organizations. Check the paper and also watch for signs when you’re driving around.
Items like Bumbo seats and Jumperoos, which are extremely popular, tend to be sold for slightly more than half the retail price. Once again, know your prices before you hit the road.
I think eBay offers tremendous deals in certain baby items and terrible values for other stuff.
In general, very popular items tend to be over-valued on eBay, and therefore you should buy these elsewhere. Arms Reach co-sleepers and Bugaboo strollers, as well as anything by Pottery Barn Kids, go for outrageous prices on eBay, for example.
But baby clothes can be found on eBay for great prices, if you do your research and look carefully. Just like bidding on anything else, make sure the seller has good feedback and the description is complete.
If you have questions about items on eBay, ask those questions before bidding. Lots of clothes are often great values, and you tend to save on shipping too.
I have bought bathing suits and bunting for babies for nearly nothing on eBay. Just your research, take advantage of the “watch” feature on eBay that allows you to track auctions without bidding, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t find what you want right away or if you keep getting outbid.
You will find good cheap stuff if you have patience.
In addition to being a good source of information about garage sales in your area, craigslist is a terrific source of cheap quality items for your baby.
Keep looking at the “babies + kids” section, as new stuff appears all day long. Once again, you need to be informed about the retail prices so you don’t get taken, and you need patience. Keep looking and what you need will eventually be listed.
I found an Amby baby hammock on craigslist, nearly new and for about half the retail price. I also found a bouncy chair and a Bumbo seat and a Jumperoo. All of these items took weeks of searching every day to find them in great condition and at a good price.
Just like garage sales, you may find great stuff or nothing, it’s just a matter of luck and persistence.
You never know when the good stuff will arrive at a particular thrift shop, all you can do is drop by and look. Thrift shops tend to be slightly more expensive than garage sales, although it depends on the thrift store. Just like with garage sales, better neighborhoods tend to offer better brands of barely-worn clothes. You need to experiment with different neighborhoods to see which ones have better quality items and when.
Happy bargain hunting! I hope you find lots of great cheap stuff! I know I do.