I was always aware that babies are expensive little beings but I quickly realized just how expensive. It was an eye-opening experience setting up for baby! I am so grateful to our families for gifting us the big ticket items like the stroller, car seat, crib etc. Between those gifts, re-purposing furniture, building our own (thanks husband) and my own frugality – we have managed to set up for baby at a fraction of the ‘real’ cost. Hopefully this post will give you an eye for a great baby bargain just like I found in many stores.
I am not in any way stingy. In fact, I have champagne taste but live with a sparkling water budget. I would definitely call myself frugal. I shop around A LOT and a nose around Goodwill is not beneath me, especially when they carry department store overstock (OMG!). My favorite stores for great deals are Home Goods, TJ Maxx and sometimes, one particular Ross near my home. The gems to be found in these stores are hard to beat but it’s often luck of the draw with what bargain they may have in stock on the day you’re visiting. This is the perfect excuse to go often!
Where To Find The Best Baby Bargain
A year ago I walked into my local Goodwill (my first Goodwill trip ever) and quickly turned my nose up. I actually said ‘EW’. Fast forward to 2016 and while doing a donation drop-off at a brand new store, I gave it another chance and wandered into the baby clothes section. I am hooked ever since!
It hit me pretty quickly that bang in the middle of 4 different Goodwill stores in my locale are two Army installations. Army posts mean families moving in and out of the area constantly. This in turn means families purging their unwanted items often. The presence of military families also means there’s lots of babies around. While many, many adult garments at Goodwill may be ratty and suspect, the baby clothes are in a league of their own. Over the course of about 8 weeks I have purchased a hoard of completely unworn or worn-once onesies and full outfits. My total is usually under $6 and I come away with 6-8 outfits.
Honestly, I often feel guilty buying at Goodwill. I feel like I am stealing the eyes out of someone’s head. They have a ‘color-of-the-week’ offer which means that if you have a bunch of items on your arm bearing that color plastic barb, then that item is half price. In the infant section, this means your outfit could cost you just 49¢! On Sundays, ALL items with the color-of-the-week tag are 50¢.
Some of my Goodwill gold includes
- Enough adorable infant clothing to dress every baby in North America. I will re-donate any items I don’t end up using. Brands including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, GAP, Janie & Jack, OshKosh, Little Me, Carters and more (49-99¢ per item)
- V-Tech ‘Light & Move Learning Ball’ that has been thoroughly disinfected and is like brand new ($1.99 -versus- $14.99)
- Two soft fold-out books including a Winnie the Pooh clip on stroller book with a tag on. Both washed like a dream (39¢ each -versus $7-10)
- Brand new, unmarked board books and a complete Nursery Rhyme collectors book for baby’s library (39¢ each -versus- $10+)
- Playtex Diaper Genie still in plastic and boxed! ($5 -versus- $30)
- Four ‘What To Expect’ books including ‘When You’re Expecting’, ‘Baby’s First Year’, ‘Baby’s Second Year’ & ‘The Toddler Years’, all very recent editions! (39¢ each -versus- $11+ each)
- GAP Maternity/Nursing blouse with tags on ($4 -versus- $34)
Ok, while TJ is one of my favorite stores, it can be as hit and miss as Goodwill. Their inventory changes constantly so if you spot something you have to snap it up there and then. I promise you it won’t be there next week, or even later that day. I have found so many baby items at a fraction of the cost and though most of their stock is passed season or slightly flawed, some of what I got is still this current season’s styles and prints. Have a good look at something you like in case it is damaged (it probably isn’t) and put it in your cart pronto! Sometimes the flaw and reason an item is there is a tiny as a seam sewn off center. If you aren’t fussy, you will never even notice.
Expect to find great deals here on baby clothing & accessories, nursery storage solutions, toys/books, baby carriers, stroller accessories, changing bags and occasionally bigger items like swings, rockers and bassinets.
- aden & anais 2-Pack Original Muslin Swaddle Blankets, the big 47×47 ones! ($12.99 -versus- $32)
- Blankets ($6 -versus- $20+)
- Stroller bag hooks ($2 -versus- $10+)
- Stroller organizer ($6 -versus- $20+)
- 25 Pack Velvet Baby Hangers ($9 -versus- $15+)
At Marshalls you will find similar things to TJ or even the same. If you can’t find what you need at one, be sure to check the other.
I don’t shop here very often. In fact I have purchased something from a Ross store only twice. This past weekend I was looking for something specific so I perused my local and nicest Ross! I didn’t buy one because I have one already but they had Boppy Nursing pillows for $24! Granted, it wasn’t the cutest slipcover they make but those bad boys retail for $39.99!
I did buy a large faux sheepskin area rug for baby’s room for $30 versus the $60+ I’ve seen elsewhere!
I LOVE Home Goods. This place is the dream for kitting out baby’s room for a bargain. With goods much like Marshalls and TJ Maxx but with a focus on the decor side of things, obviously. Some of my finds include;
- More hangers!
- Storage boxes/Laundry Hamper ($4-25 -versus- $15-50+)
- Diaper caddies ($6-12 -versus- $20+)
- Clip on musical crib nightlight/soother ($6 -versus $20+)
- A-Z Bookends ($7 -versus- $20+)
Amazon may not be a discount store per se but as I am a Prime member it has been worth every cent. As a Prime member I qualify for free two-day shipping, unlimited free TV/movie streaming, unlimited photo storage, access to Prime Pantry (groceries on your door step? Yes please!) and more.
As a Prime member you are also eligible to become a member of Amazon Family. You can make an Amazon Baby Registry and qualify for a FREE welcome box choc full of baby items and free samples/coupons. As well as this you will receive 15% off an item of your choice on your registry and a number of other offers including a free Kindle e-book and discounted clothing.
For me, the best part about Amazon Prime are the subscription options. When you subscribe to diapers (you choose the frequency of their delivery) you get 20% off and a $2 off coupon on your first delivery. If you subscribe to a total of 5 items at once then the 5% savings on each one becomes 15%! The bargain price of sub $25 for 200+ diapers and peace of mind that they will arrive on my doorstep in 48 hours is especially worth it to me. I subscribe to dog food, baby wipes and other personal items which means I never have to remember them on my weekly grocery shop.
I am so happy with my baby bargain stockpile as I get such a kick out of having exactly what I wanted and still having a little extra cash in my purse! Off the top of my head, there is over $500 of savings just from the items I have listed (I haven’t listed every single item I have purchased on this journey!) including the retail value of the baby clothing from Goodwill.
How did you cut costs for your first baby set-up?