A North Carolina native, Jessica is a Tarheels fan by marriage. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and English and is the proud mom of 4.
You’re weeks or months away from the moment when you’ll finally get to see and hold the little body who’s been having a party in your tummy for quite some time. Congratulations! While babies are truly gifts from God and bring insurmountable joy, they can be rather expensive. Budgeting finances while getting the house and car ready for baby can be a daunting task. Just check out a brief list of essential items that baby needs along with some Walmart prices:
- Car seat (infant car seat) $89
- Stroller $49.50
- Crib/bassinet $39
- Baby bag $18.43
- Clothes (21-piece set) $38.50
- Bottles (Avent starter) $23.97
- Burp clothes (6 pack) $10.15
- Bibs (10 pack) $6.49
- Socks/booties (6 pack) $8.94
- Baby safety kit (thermometer, clippers, bulb syringe) $9.47
These items are just to kickstart the things that baby needs and doesn’t even include pampers, wipes, bathtub, bath items, etc. Based off the above-listed items alone, we’re already at a whopping $293.45 (and that’s before taxes!)
Used But Like New
This is why having a baby shower is an awesome idea, whether this is baby 1, 2, or 3 for you. But what I have often seen is that during baby showers, the expecting mother often gets loads of clothes, pampers and wipes. Every now and then, I’ll see the more expensive gifts popping up, like a car seat or a 3-in-1 crib/bassinet/baby changer, etc.
But what happens when you throw a baby shower and receive numerous gifts, but you’re still missing a few choice items? Well, for those of us who live on a budget, you may not be able to go out to the store and buy something brand-spanking-new for baby—and you may not even want to. Not when you can get something at less than half the price in such a lightly used condition that it’s basically new.
Why Choose Used Bassinets
- Bassinets are only used for 1st few months of baby's life
- Used bassinets are often found in mint condition
- I bought my bassinet for $20 (Craigslist.com)
Here’s a moment of truth that will probably leave many nurses and first-time mommies gasping. Let me whisper this because it’s like the biggest kept secret ever: many moms sleep with their babies, even with the bassinet right beside the bed.
Why, you ask. Well, for numerous reasons. Oftentimes, we put baby to sleep and just when we’re about to lay baby down, she pops up and starts crying again. Another reason is because we simply fall asleep while trying to put baby to sleep. Another reason is because baby sleeps on our chest better than she sleeps in her bassinet. There are hordes of reasons why mommies sleep with their babies against doctor’s orders, but let me make this disclaimer: it is best to let baby sleep in the bassinet to avoid the danger of rolling over on baby, baby falling from your arms and hitting the floor or baby getting her face buried beneath a pillow or cover.
That being said, many people have bassinets that are like new because they’ve barely been used. They’re not necessarily barely-used because baby slept with mommy. They’re sometimes barely used because baby outgrew them so fast. You must understand that bassinets are made to be used for newborns up to 3-4 months (or maybe 5 months). Since they’re used for such a short amount of time, why spend $100 bucks or more on a bassinet that your baby will only use for the first few months of his/her life? Save yourself the money and hassle and pick you up a lightly used, highly discounted bassinet from Craigslist (or order one from Amazon and save roughly $10). No one has to know you bought it used. Just tell them it came from Walmart. I bought my bassinet from Craigslist for $20.
2. Car Seats
My God, car seats can be expensive, and often time, it’s the one item you desire the most at your baby shower that you don’t get. Why? Because there are so many car seats out there that most people don’t know which one to get. Do I get a carrier or a convertible car seat? If I get a carrier, do I get one with or without the base?
Car seats can range anywhere from $40 - $179 and on up. The best car seat for an infant is the carrier car seat with the base. A carrier car seat gives you the advantage of easily transporting your child through the grocery store (car seat atop the shopping cart) and in the doctor office (car seat on the floor facing you). Carriers also provide a rocking motion so that you can gently rock your fussy baby back to sleep using your foot.
The snap-on base is a God-save. It saves you from the headache of having to strap your baby in each time you enter/exit the car. Simply snap the car seat into the already strapped in base, and keep it moving. I bought my car seat and base from Craigslist for $25.
It’s a good idea to purchase a car seat and stroller together, not only because the matching set looks more fashionable, but because the car seat can easily snap into the stroller. But in the event that you purchase the two separate, like I did, you can get a really nice used stroller that works just as great as a brand new one. In my case, I needed a double-stroller. My option was to buy an umbrella double-stroller for $70, or get a sturdier, more durable stroller from anywhere from $170 to $400. So of course, I went to Craigslist where I found a really nice DuoGlider stroller for $60. The lady who sold it to me used to babysit two babies who were a year apart, so she purchased the double stroller. But now she no longer babysits and the stroller has just been sitting in her garage.
Can find many items that are like new
Can find many items at extreme discounts
not EXTREME discounts
Can negotiate prices
Must meet/greet with seller
How to Use Craigslist to Find Baby Needs
- Step 1: Go to www.craigslist.com
- Step 2: Pick your state and the city closest to you
- Step 3: Under the "for sale" tab, search Baby+kid and Free (you'd be surprised what all you can get for free because people are trying to get rid of items in the way/taking up space)
- Step 4: In the search tab, type in the keyword "stroller" or "car seat" or whatever it is you are searching for
- Step 5: Barter as long as they aren't "firm" on the price. If they're asking $50, as long as they don't write "firm," email/text them and say, "Hey, I'm really interested in your bassinet and I wanted to know if you would take $40 for it."
How to Use Amazon to Find Discounted Baby Items
- Step 1: Go to www.amazon.com
- Step 2: Instead of searching "all" departments, filter search to only the "baby" department
- Step 3: Type in the item you're searching for. Ex. bassinet
- Step 4: Use the filter on the left side of the page to refine your search by price (so if you would like to spend less than $100, you would put $0 - $100.
- Step 5: Find the product you are searching for and then look for the "More Buying Options" which will show a few other companies who are selling the product at a lower price (sometimes saving you a few dollars or usually $10, sometimes $15 - $20 off for an open box)
Look at All Those Savings!
For a bassinet, a car seat, and a double-stroller, I spent a total of $105 when I could’ve spent hundreds of dollars more. If you’re expecting, or have already given birth to your bundle of joy, and you are living on a budget and are still in need of items, before running to Target, Walmart, or any of the other big-name stores to purchase what you need, consider checking out Craigslist or Amazon first. Also, don’t forget to pop up early on Saturdays and scout out yard sales. You can often find really nice items at yard sales for pennies on the dollar. I found a bouncer seat that lights up and plays tunes at a yard sale for only $3. My daughter loves it but can’t stand to sit in the bouncer that I spent $20 on from Walmart—perhaps she’s a penny-pincher in the making, just like her mommy.
© 2014 Jessica B Smith