Having a baby is an expensive time. Newborns need stuff. Most working mothers face a maternity period where they’ll be on a reduced income. And families have to work out how to live for less. When I had my little boy, I bought lots of second-hand baby stuff to try and make our money stretch further. I was also conscious about the impact on the environment. Why buy something new if there’s still life in something old?
If I had my time again, there are some things I’d buy brand new. But there are other items I’d absolutely buy second hand. Here’s my top 5 list of second-hand baby buys.
1) Second hand clothes
“They’re in them for five minutes”. How many times has that line been uttered to an expectant parent? It’s true though. Kids grow in and out of clothes very quickly. In fact, sometimes, if you’re not careful, you’ll miss your window of opportunity and that green baby grow that you were waiting for your baby to grow into, will no longer fit. With that in mind, I think it’s nuts to buy lots of brand-new clothes. In fact, I’m a big advocate of clothing the whole family on a budget.
As babies quickly grow out of things, you can find second-hand baby buys that are in fantastic condition. I bought my baby boy a second-hand Ted Baker jacket in a charity shop. It looked as good as new. He only actually wore it four times, but as it had only cost me £4, I didn’t mind.
Everybody has a different style when it comes to dressing their baby. Many of my pals dressed their little boys in jogging bottoms and t-shirts from being very small. However, I must preferred cotton babygrows. This is something that I only came to realise after having my little one. But having some unused second-hand jogging bottoms and t-shirts wasn’t too much of a worry, because they didn’t cost me much in the first place. I just passed them on.
When you find out that you’re pregnant you’ll also be surprised by how many people gift you baby clothes. Before you know it, you’ll probably find that you have quite the collection. So although you might want a special outfit to bring your baby home in, I personally wouldn’t spend lots of money on brand-new baby clothes. I found that Preloved and eBay were both great places to buy cheap kids’ clothes.
2) Changing table – don’t buy a new one
We’ve used our changing table every day since we brought our son home. We found it really useful having a place to change him and having all of his baby supplies organised underneath.
I raved about how handy it was to my friend, who was due to have her baby six months after me and she bought a changing table due to my recommendation. However, she didn’t get nearly as much use out of hers. Changing tables aren’t for everybody, but if you’d bought one second hand for £15, then you wouldn’t be too bothered if you didn’t get as much use from it as you’d expected. But if you’d bought a brand new one, you might be upset that the purchase hadn’t worked for you.
Most people that are selling their changing tables just want it out of their house. They are finished with it, so they will sell it on for cheap just to clear some space. Our changing table was in perfect condition. We bought it on eBay for £15.
3) Baby bath – buy it used, it will be as good as new
With a newborn, we found that having a baby bath was a handy piece of kit. I did some careful research about which bath would work for us. However, when I searched for the bath second hand, I found that lots of people locally were selling them on.
I bought our baby bath for £5. And once I had cleaned it up it was as good as new.
4) Your pushchair doesn’t need to be brand new
I hadn’t even thought about buying a second-hand pushchair. But one day my friend, who had a three year old, said that although she’d bought a new pushchair when her baby was born and it had lasted, she’d seen lots of them available second hand in great condition.
Pushchairs are, of course, one of the biggest baby buys. But what happens if you buy one that you don’t really like? What happens if you buy it but you hardly use it? You can spend upwards of £1,000 on a new pushchair, which is a lot of money to invest when you’ve never used one before.
With my friend’s words in mind, we decided to look at new pushchairs, find one we liked the look of and source it second hand. We bought an iCandy Peach for a tenth of the full retail value. It was in great condition. We travelled a distance to pick it up, but we didn’t mind doing that, as we saved a small fortune.
When our son was about four months old, I was asked to review a new pushchair for a company. This meant that we had two pushchairs, so the one we bought second hand was passed on again.
I realise that I ended up with a brand-new pushchair, yet I’m advocating buying a second-hand one. However, that was due to luck and I wouldn’t buy a new pushchair in future. Not when I know that if I shop around, I’ll be able to find a pre-owned pushchair in great condition. I have more to say on this, so I’ve written about the 6 advantages of buying a second-hand pushchair.
5) When it comes to toys, you should buy a used Jumperoo
A Jumperoo is a bulky contraption that enables your baby to bounce and play at the same time. My little one started using his Jumperoo when he was around six months old. It was brilliant. It kept him occupied for 15-minute bursts, which were golden at the time.
The Jumperoo retails at between £75 and £120. But we picked one up on eBay for £25 and it was probably one of my favourite secondhand buys. Again, it was in great condition. We bought it from a grandparent who were keen to get rid of it to clear some space. We then cleaned it up and you wouldn’t have been able to tell it was second hand.
However, after six months, our boy became disinterested in the Jumperoo and would cry when we put him in it. As he was about to turn one and we knew that he’d be getting some new toys, it was time to pass the Jumperoo on. It was still in great condition, but we didn’t want to save it for any other potential babies as it’s so bulky. So I put it on Facebook Marketplace. For £20. And it was gone within the hour. If we were to have another baby, I’d absolutely buy a second-hand Jumperoo again. And I’d probably sell it on again too.
Nearly new sales
You can pick up some nearly new items on Preloved, Facebook and eBay. But look out locally too, as there are baby markets that take place regularly around the country. Here you’ll find items that are almost new, they might have been used just once or twice before.
Is it worth buying baby items secondhand?
By researching baby products and shopping around, we’ve been able to pick up some great products and pieces of equipment second hand and we’ve saved hundreds of pounds in the process. Doing this has also helped me to budget for maternity leave.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but kids stuff doesn’t have to be expensive, you just need to scour the market. There are plenty of other pre-loved things that we’ve used, including a travel cot and I’m glad we went down that route, because the money we saved is better spent elsewhere.