Thrifty mummy: Buying second hand baby items
Ok, I’ll first admit that I’m not the thriftiest mummy around. I mean, I love bargains and freebies as much as anyone else, but when it comes to the actual items, I have a tendency to fork out a bit more for stuff that I think look better design wise or are a tad more functional. And honestly if money is no object, then I’ll probably go for brand new items all the way. But reality being what it is and me having such expensive preferences… sometimes second hand just seems to be the way to go…
Anyways so far by scouring the online classifieds/ads in Singapore I’ve gotten:
- A used/preloved Leander cot
- A brand new cot top changer from Mothercare
- Two used/preloved Bloom Coco Baby Stylewood Lounger (in cappuccino and natural)
- A used/preloved Red Castle Cocoonababy (FYI that these come with waterproof covers so the foam bits should be relatively clean)
- A used/preloved Schoenhut toy piano
By buying second hand, I estimate that I’ve saved a few thousand dollars so far (mostly thanks to the Leander cot…). And that’s quite a bit of spare cash ya?
In case you haven’t tried buying 2nd hand before, there are a few tips on buying 2nd hand items online that I found quite logical/useful:
Generally I steer clear of certain items like:
- Stuff that are still pricey used – Babycentre advises 1/3 of the original price or less for 2nd hand items, but I see loads of sellers try for 40% off or less from sticker prices. Erm. Considering that the risks that buyers are taking by purchasing from an unknown seller, I would expect a far greater discount. Not to mention that these are USED items that we are talking about… no matter how gently used/”near-new” they may be.
- Stuff that aren’t too pricey brand new – I’ll buy new if that’s the case, like a baby bathtub for example.
- Toys – Especially those with loads of electronic stuff. I know how babies play with toys (think lots of saliva) and seriously I see lots of online sellers that advertise toys that are not even in full working condition and/or have missing parts. Am still on the fence about wooden toys though.
- Prams/strollers – Not sure how to clean the cloth portions. Plus somehow I think that all babies puke/pee/poop on strollers (ok, probably I’m too paranoid). This could be a “maybe” one day…
- Car seats – Ditto above plus buying new ones just seems safer somehow.
- Breast pumps – Oh, I can go on and on about them but used pumps can be quite unsanitary, especially those that are not closed systems like the Medela ones. You really don’t want to have stale milk flecks or even mold in the milk right? Read this blog post to find out more (if the images of mold/dried up milk flecks from inside an opened Medela unit doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what else will).
- Baby carriers – Just cos I don’t want to risk getting a fake/imitation carrier. Yeah, apparently there are loads of imitation carriers/sellers out in the market since each carrier can cost over S$200.
As for my favourite “haunts”… I’ve had some luck with ads in Gumtree and Craigslist. The local mummy forums also have loads of “wts” ads but they take quite a bit of wading through cos there is no items category to help with narrowing down the items to browse through. I do wish that jumble sales are common in Singapore (I know they are in the UK and you can really find some great gems/bargains in jumble sales there) but I have no idea if there are places/events in Singapore where 2nd hand baby items are sold (if you know, pls do share!). And while I have heard of specialised expat forums/groups where unwanted/unneeded items are offered, think such forums/groups have limited access based on nationality.
Anyway if you are a potential seller, then here’s potential buyer’s perspective on how to make the sale/bait after going through literally hundreds of ads:
- Include photos of the actual item – That is such a fundamental requirement, I’ve no idea why so many sellers don’t even bother to make the effort.
- Include the asking price of the item AND the sticker price of a new from store item – That helps in giving an idea of how much savings a buyer may have, or even how great a bargain the item is. I have seen items that were asking for hundreds of dollars. But compared to sticker prices of say, thousands, they could actually be considered great bargains.
- Describe the age AND current condition of the item – Know your lingo such as BNIB (brand new in box), NWT (new with tag), etc. If used, describe the current condition e.g. if it’s gently used, or give some ratio e.g. 9/10 or 6/10 to let your buyer know how great (or bad) the condition is. And be honest. If there are scratches, missing parts, etc, it’s only fair to mention it. Ditto the age of the item too.
- Explain why you are selling the item – E.g. received as gift, kid didn’t like it, was a spare, etc. I mean, honestly sometimes I wonder why an item that was used for say a month is being sold. E.g. is it that bad that the seller/kid hates it?
- Ask for a REALISTIC price – Seriously, don’t ask for 20% off a brand new item cos then we could wait for a sale and get from a reputable store where they know the item is brand new. And for used items, then don’t expect more than half your cost price back. I see so many ads languishing and repeatedly being posted probably cos the sellers have such unrealistic asking prices.
And here’s my haul so far, not too bad ya? 🙂