The moment you discover you are expecting, a new world of products and possibilities opens up. For as tiny as babies are, they require a lot of stuff. From playards to walkers and car seats to cribs, babies require a lot of gear to get them through their first years and beyond. It can be exciting to walk the aisles at a big-box store, soaking up all the new and enticing products and accessories aimed at making your role as a parent just a tad bit easier. But it can also be overwhelming.
Acquiring all the products and items you may need in the first year or two of parenting can make you want to run for the hills. Car seats can cost you more than a car payment, and let’s not get started on strollers. Some products might feel worth the investment because you will get so much use out of them, especially if you plan to have more than one baby. Others might feel extravagant or even wasteful, not only on your wallet but also on the environment. So, how do you know when to splurge and when to save?
Baby Gear by the Numbers
OfferUp put out a report in 2020 detailing the impact that parents have on the economy and the environment. We all know that having a baby is wonderful but expensive, but let’s look at what the numbers tell us about baby gear and our bottom lines.
In 2019, the average spend per child was $1,016. By 2024, that number is projected to be $1,391 per child.
For the first-born child, parents spend an average of $1,790 on baby gear.
The average yearly cost of raising a baby is $12,680 from birth to age 2.
The average price an item on a baby registry increased 24% from 2015 to 2018.
Baby Gear and Its Environmental Impact
We need baby and kids gear. But what about its environmental impact? What happens when your baby outgrows this item? Do you donate it? Resell it if it’s in good enough condition? Toss it out? Used baby gear is tough on the environment.
One in 10 parents have thrown away a used but functional item. Nine percent of parents have thrown away brand new, unused baby items.
Over a 10-year time span, 23.69 million functional items are thrown away.
If those tossed items were resold instead, we could eliminate enough waste to fill 17.3 million trash bags.
In 2019, if parents had resold their used items instead of tossing them, they could have made $84.5 million.
The Best Baby Products To Buy Used
The good news is, if you are looking to buy preloved baby items, the time has never been better. The reasons to consider buying preloved instead of new are really twofold. You can save money (sometimes 50% or more!) off regular retail purchases. You can also save an item from a potentially environmentally-damaging fate, such as a landfill (not to mention the environmental strain the item imposed when it was first manufactured). If you purchase from a recommerce site such as GoodBuy Gear, you also support other parents who are looking to recoup some of their costs on baby gear their kids have already outgrown.
So which items are best to buy used?
Clothes. Almost 75% of parents admit they purchase used clothes for their baby. And it makes sense! Kids outgrow clothes so quickly. Even if they don’t outgrow them quickly, the chance of them being soiled or ripped is significant because kids are tough on clothes. You can save a good chunk of money by shopping second-hand for clothing.
Bassinets and co-sleepers. These items tend to be used for only a short amount of time with babies. And some bassinets can cost upwards of $400 brand new! Not only do they take up a significant amount of space in your home, they cost a good amount of money relative to the amount of time they can be used, which is typically only until your baby is about 4-5 months old.
Strollers. Prams, buggies, strollers… These must-have baby accessories have come a long way in the past few decades. Today’s strollers are high-tech and fancy. Some can convert from a single stroller to a double, some fold down compactly for travel, some even allow you to plug in your phone so your kiddos can listen to music while you stroll or jog. But all these fancy features can come with a fancy price tag. If you want the top stroller but not the top price tag, consider purchasing used.
Highchairs. Kids won’t sit in highchairs for nearly as long as you might like to think they will. As soon as they are able, they will want to climb out and sit at the dining room table like a big kid. You might find skipping the fancy highchair- or simply opting for one that straps to a dining chair or clips to a counter- is better option. Not only does it take up less space, it also costs a lot less. Especially if you buy it preloved.
Activity centers. When your baby is first starting to move and babble, you will find an activity saucer an invaluable piece of baby equipment to take up residence in your living room. But that feeling will only last a few months, because your baby will grow like a weed and no longer want to hang out, stationary, in an activity saucer. Skip the big price tag and buy preloved. And when your baby finishes with it, don’t toss it- pass it on.
Changing Your Outlook
There can be a stigma with buying used baby items, especially with your first child. But, according to Forbes, Generation Z is adopting upcycling and buying preloved like no previous generation has. Perhaps it’s because the next generation is being raised with the awareness of climate change, or being made to understand what it means to be environmentally aware. But when we shift our focus from “buying used is for people who can’t afford new,” to “buying used helps the environment and my wallet,” we can start to affect change for the better.
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