When shopping for your family and your home, you don’t have to buy everything brand new. Of course there are things that you shouldn’t buy used for safety reasons (for example, car seats — you don’t want one that’s been in a crash). Then, there are other things that I personally don’t buy used for “icky” reasons, such as shoes. However, you can buy a great number of other things that are gently used at a fraction of the cost of new items, from furniture to toys to clothing.
Start at resale shops
Thrift shops, antique stores, consignment shops and an assortment of other brick-and-mortar stores sell used items. You can also often find a good selection at garage sales and estate sales in your local neighborhood. When shopping for used furniture, pay attention to the “bones” of the item rather than its outward appearance. You can always reupholster or add a new coat of paint. Second-hand clothing at resale shops is often nearly new, as kids grow out of apparel so quickly. For clothing, check that zippers are functioning and the fabric is free of stains. Be sure any tears are on the seam and can be easily repaired.
You can also by almost-new and gently used goods online. Craigslist and eBay are a good place to start, but don’t miss sites like Freecycle Network where you get baby gear, toys and other essentials for free or in trade.
Hold a swap
Another great way to save money on clothing and toys is to host a swap party with friends who have kids of similar ages to your own children. Everyone brings items in good condition that they want to swap. It’s a great opportunity for your kids to get new toys and clothes, plus get rid of those that they’ve outgrown or tired of.