baby steps.jpg

7 Ways to Have a Fashionable Baby for Less

Your child can look fancy and you can still save money.

baby steps.jpg

Gently-used baby clothes are relatively easy to find online. 

By + More

One of the perks of having babies is that you get to dress them up in cute clothes and they don’t have a say in the matter. However, babies grow out of their outfits very fast, as most little ones triple their birth weight and increase their length by about 50 percent during their first year of life, according to KidsHealth.org.

This means that if you want to dress your baby in designer duds beyond those you likely received as baby gifts, the cost of the cute little outfits can quickly add up. The good news, however, is that precisely because babies grow out of their clothes so fast, they barely wear their little outfits, making gently used baby clothes a great option for those who want a stylish baby on a budget. Here are seven ways to find budget-friendly and fashionable, gently-used baby clothes:

1. Facebook is your friend. Facebook isn’t just for connecting with your friends – it’s also a great way to score cute baby outfits from other parents who live near you. Here’s how you do it: Search Facebook for groups containing your local area and words like “Sell It,” “Mommy Swap,” “Swap and Sell,”  “Swip Swap,” “Mom Swap” and “Yard Sale,” and you’ll likely find a host of local Facebook mommy group devoted mainly to the buying and selling of used children’s gear.

2. Join local parenting email listservs and online message boards. Local mom groups (like the Golden Gate Mothers Group in San Francisco) and local parenting email listervs (such as Yahoo email groups) can be great resources for answering your new parent questions, finding great caregivers and scoring gently used baby clothes for less.

3. Think thredUP.com. At this five-year-old site, which specializes in selling gently used clothes, you can find a host of “practically new” designer baby duds for less, like Ralph Lauren dresses and button downs for more than 77 percent off. And don’t be fooled by the fact that the kids’ sizes start at 12 months – many little ones are wearing 12-month sizes well before their first birthday – and when you’re done with the clothes, you can always sell them back to thredUp, assuming the outfits are still in good shape, and get cash or online store credit. Meanwhile, a somewhat similar site focused just on kids’ clothes that may be worth checking out is FlipSize.com.

4. Try traditional and online swaps. There are a host swap events (like the Little Swappies events in New York) devoted just to swapping old baby gear (like clothes) with other parents, so look online for one in your neighborhood. In addition, check out swapping Web sites, such as DoubleDutchery.com and Swapbabygoods.com.

5. Don’t forget the old staples. Any roundup of buying used gear would be remiss not to mention craigslist and eBay, where you’ll of course find loads of used designer baby duds.

6. Or the brick-and-mortar approach. If your neighborhood is anything like mine, there’s a used kids’ clothing and toy shop somewhere nearby, where you may be able to find good deals on gently used outfits. And an advantage of this approach over many of the online options mentioned here is that you’ll actually get to see the clothes in person before you have to decide if you want them.

7. Hand-me-downs are your friend. Your friends and family likely have a whole stash of cute gently used baby just waiting for their next owner (i.e., your baby). If you’re lucky, like I was, people will offer to let you have (or at least borrow) these old clothes. In that case, just say “yes, I’ll take it and thank you” without hesitation. But if the offers aren’t rolling in, don’t be afraid to ask those you know with slightly older little ones if they have any spare clothes they wouldn’t mind lending you for a bit (you can remind them your nursery is free storage).

To be sure, going used isn’t the only way to get designer baby clothes for less. There are ways to score deals on new baby clothes as well – stayed tuned for more on that in a future Frugal Shopper post.

In the meantime, what budget-friendly ways to find fashionable, gently-used baby clothes did I lose?