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Despite being the spendthrift I am, when we first found out we were expecting a baby I was completely against buying second hand. I guess lots of new mums and mums to be will relate to that – you want the best for your baby, obviously.
Thankfully, I quickly changed my tune and embraced hand me downs and second-hand because having a baby is DAMN expensive business!
We also had the blessing of a reflux baby – so in addition to the fact that babies rapidly outgrow their clothes, our little darling spent the first 9 months constantly throwing up on herself. Aren’t I glad I didn’t spend a fortune kitting her out in brand new next?
Obviously, our financial situations are individual and some of us, despite wanting to, may not be able to afford pricy outfits from top brands for our little ones. And even if we can, some of us might just want to be frugal!
There are a number of ways to save money on baby clothes, without skimping on the look and quality of the items.
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There are lots of places you can shop for second-hand baby clothes – charity shops, NCT sales, car boots, Facebook, eBay… the list goes on. When I used to think about second-hand baby clothes I would grimace and imagine faded and off colour, stained garments, when actually you can find some fantastic things!
As I mentioned earlier, babies rapidly outgrow their clothes and quite often, you’ll find yourself with an accumulation of outfits that didn’t even get the tags removed. You might also receive gifts that you don’t particularly like, are the wrong size or wrong season and therefore little one doesn’t wear it. So what do you do with these items? Sell them.
So if you’re looking to pick up baby clothes, despite the fact that they’re technically second-hand quite often you can find items that are barely if not completely unworn.
The supermarket’s baby clothing ranges are brilliant. Particularly Nutmeg at Morrisons, which is where a lot of Elise’s clothes came from – and people would often comment on what a lovely outfit she was wearing. So disregard the assumption that supermarket clothing looks cheap – they actually do a lovely range and for great prices too.
Even better, at the end of the season you’ll find sale rails stuffed full of marked down items – have a rifle through it and buy the sizes up to put away for next year. You can save a fortune by stocking up now.
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If someone offers you a bag of baby clothes take it! There is zero shame in accepting hand me downs and believe me the giver will be happy to be shot of it. The amount of clothing you accumulate for a baby in it’s first year is ridiculous so people are quite happy to reclaim some storage space.
We were kindly gifted a huge black bag of girl’s clothes from a friend of a friend. It saved us a fortune as it saw her out until about 8 months (it was newborn clothes up to 3-6m – and because she is little she stayed in smaller sizes a lot longer). It was also very gratefully received given the speed at which we were getting through clothes due to her reflux.
We then passed a lot of these clothes on to my best friend who had her daughter 11 weeks after me, unfortunately Elsie has long outgrown Elise so she doesn’t get hand me downs anymore!
My friend also passed the clothes along to her cousin who had a little girl, so these clothes have seen half a dozen owners and are still going strong!
In the first year, babies aren’t really interested in toys – if you haven’t had kids yet, save your money and trust me that it’s true. So when special occasions roll around (Easter, Birthday, Christmas), ask gift givers for the clothes size you need or money to put towards clothes.
People much prefer to give gifts that are actually wanted (I know I do!) so ask for what you need and you won’t have to deal with an influx of toys you have no room for that won’t get played with.
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Having a baby is expensive business, but it becomes a lot more manageable when we take off our snooty hat and put on our sensible one and appreciate that baby really doesn’t need a £28 dress!
I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about all things money with a little life organisation thrown in for good measure. Join me!