Watching Your Wallet
On a budget? While you may want to get some of your big-ticket items new, there is no point in spending a lot of money on newborn clothes that could be found for much less or, better yet, for free. You'll find many gently used newborn clothes at garage sales, consignment shops, or from friends and family. Don't be shy about accepting these nearly new duds. Newborns don't really have clothes long enough to wear them out.
If you plan to shop at local consignment stores, visit them as early as possible, since it takes some time to weed out the good ones from the average ones. Many consignment stores will notify you when they get an item you're looking for. You should save anywhere from 20 to 50 percent buying used. The best buys at these stores are often hardly-worn baby clothes and toys. Again, you may choose to get the big stuff new—it's all personal preference.
Garage sales and the classified section of your local newspaper are other routes to money-saving options. If you're considering used items, such as play yards or baby swings, be sure to search the manufacturers' recall databases for safety considerations.
One exception to buying used is your child's car seat. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns parents-to-be not to base their car seat purchase on price alone. If a seat is used, you likely don't know whether it's been in a crash or not, and it may be unsafe for your little one. There are newer, affordable seats available, and car safety seats sold new in the US must meet strict safety standards established and maintained by the federal government.