Savings & Investment, Smart Spending

Guide to Buying Secondhand for Baby

Often times, you may gasp at the price of equipment for a baby.  This sends a lot of people looking for alternatives to the boutiques and fancy big box stores.  One of the most important things to remember when buying everything your little one is going to need is the amount of time the item will be used.  The items your infant will grow out of the fastest include bassinettes, clothes, toys, swings, and walker/bouncers.  Fear not, you can find all of these and more in a few places you might not have previously thought about for a lot less by buying secondhand.

The most common place people may think to shop for used items is Ebay.  This method has it pros and cons, just like any other place you would shop.  The biggest positive is that you can score lots of loot for great prices.  The setbacks are not being able to physically see and touch the items before purchase, shipping costs, and waiting for your product to arrive.  When using Ebay, make sure that you check the seller’s rating and review any negative feedback they have previously received.  Make sure you are looking at a picture of the actual item, not a professional picture from another site that may sell the product brand new.  If you wind up with an issue, make sure you contact the seller.  If the issue is not resolved, you can then contact Ebay’s customer service for help.

Another popular form of secondhand purchasing is to visit a consignment shop, Goodwill, or Salvation Army.  Most of these stores will sell baby furniture, clothing, toys, and more.  There are even some consignment shops that sell items specific to babies and children.  When shopping at any of these places, you are sure to find a good deal.  A great positive to consider here is that most stores will offer you a full refund if something is wrong with the item (make sure to save your receipts).  Among other positives are no shipping fees, you are getting to inspect the item before purchase, and you can take the item home with you on the same day (unlike online purchases).  The negative of using these services is that it will most likely not be one-stop-shopping.  You may have to visit multiple stores several separate times to get all of your necessities.  If you prefer to shop from the convenience of home, you can search online for consignment shop websites that are now becoming more popular, since owners don’t have to pay for a storefront.

Yard Sales and Flea Markets are another great place to shop for used items.  You never know what you may find when browsing through.  The positives are that you can usually find everything you are going to need over the course of a single weekend, these are typically the best prices you will find because there is no middle man as with consignment shops, you can usually get a lower price than what the seller is asking, you will have the item on the day of purchase, and you won’t incur any shipping fees.  The negatives can be among some of the worst for purchasing secondhand.  If something ends up wrong with the item when you return home, there is likely no way to return it as most sales are final.  Do a thorough inspection of the item to make sure it functions properly and safely, and expect to purchase it as it.  Sellers may also try to tell you an item is a brand that may sell for more than the true brand.  Do your research.  It is best to take a smart phone or tablet with you.  This way you can look up information to find out the item’s true worth.

While buying used items is a great way to save on all that expensive gear and clothes for your next little one, there are some items you should never purchase used.  The number one item you should always buy new is car seats.  This is because you will have no way of telling whether or not the car seat has been in an accident prior to your purchase.  Most car seats are only built to withstand a single accident, and they should always be thrown out or repurposed afterwards.  You should not purchase a breast pump used.  This is due to the fact that many people may not properly clean and sterilize the many pieces involved.  Also, there is no way to clean and sanitize the inside of the tubing of the pump.  Bacteria can build up and mold can grow.  If you still decide to purchase a secondhand pump, make sure to thoroughly sanitize it and replace the tubing before use.  Never buy a crib with a drop-down rail as these can pose serious hazards to your newborn.  As with any used item you may purchase for your baby, make sure to inspect it completely for safety and check for any recalls.  When you bring your items home, make sure you wash and sanitize them before your baby begins using them.