I know there are a lot of people who are turned off by the “green revolution,” and really don’t appreciate snooty environmentalists acting all elitist. Well, sorry folks. Here’s another hippy post, but I promise not be elitist.
In my last installment of “being a hippy mama” I talked about cloth diapers. A lot of the things we’ve decided to do to “be green” are beneficial for us as well as the environment: we’re saving ourselves some serious green, which is a huge motivator. Choosing to be kind to the environment can sometimes be expensive (there’s a reason they call Whole Foods “Whole Paycheck”). However, one of the 3 R’s is reuse...which is what I’m going to talk about today.
Most of the larger ticket items I’ve talked about in my recommendations posts have been purchased secondhand, which has saved us a lot of money. We buy a lot of our stuff used, but baby stuff in particular is very easy to find for very little money - at some point every parent gets sick of having loads of plastic crap in their house, and they often just want it gone (which means they list it for cheap!).
In most cases we’ve recouped the money we spent by reselling the items after we’re finished with them; in some cases we’ve actually made money. Here are just a few of our purchases, all found on Craigslist:
Fisher-Price Papasan Baby Swing - Retail $159.99
Purchased $40, sold for $40
I had a hard time justifying the purchase of yet another large plastic baby thing that I wasn’t sure we’d actually use (as it turns out, this swing saved my sanity - to the point where we bought another one for the living room!). The swing was in great shape and looked clean, but I was still able to remove the padded part and wash it - good as new! We sold this sucker for exactly what we paid.
2007 Uppababy Vista Stroller - Retail $679.99
Purchased $275, sold for $350
I bought the Uppababy Vista when I was pregnant, thinking I would love it (after all, everyone raves about it!). As it turned out, I didn’t. As a bit of a tangent, Uppababy is a great company that really improves its products year after year. Thus, the 2007 Vista is not nearly as awesome as a new one, and I think that’s most of the reason I didn’t love it. But I digress. As I mentioned above, I purchased this stroller for $275, and sold it for $350. How did I make money on the Vista? It’s all about timing. When I was looking to buy on Craigslist, there were a ton for sale. I was able to negotiate with a motivated seller. When I decided to sell it, mine was one of two listed (the other was nearly brand new and twice the price), and I wasn’t in a hurry. I found a buyer who was very excited to take it off my hands. Win-win, as they say.
Fisher-Price Activity Table - Retail $50
This was a recommendation from a friend. At this point, we’d already realized that we shouldn’t buy any popular baby toys new. Charlie loves this even still, so we haven’t sold it.
2005 Bugaboo Frog (now Cameleon) - Retail $979
I’m a little bit of a stroller fiend. I thought I couldn’t be pleased, but this bugaboo has stolen my heart. It’s amazing to me that a 6 year old stroller could be far superior to brand new strollers. And with such a great deal, I am thrilled with my purchase.
These are just a few of the many, many things we've bought on Craigslit (including the office chair I'm sitting in right now!). A couple of items we haven’t purchased on Craigslist, and why:
- Car seat - did you know that car seats expire, and if they’ve been in even a small accident, you need a new one? We didn’t trust people on Craigslist to be honest - after all, you truly risk your child’s life if you put them in a faulty car seat.
- Stokke tripp trapp - we would have purchased this on Craigslist, if we had found it on Craigslist. But again, this is about the timing - right now there are a lot of tripp trapps on our local Craigslist, so I'm sure we could have gotten a better deal if we'd been willing to wait.
Tips for buying baby stuff used:
- Look for stuff used. I know this seems obvious, but I truly think most people don't even think to buy stuff used. They think whatever they find will be gross or that finding it will be too much work. Hopefully I've convinced you that buying used is not too much work.
- Be patient, if time allows. In an ideal world, you should start before you need the item, so you’re not desperate and can afford to negotiate. Sometimes (as with the Vista or the Tripp Trapp), timing is everything.
- If you're looking for something specific, set up an alert on Craigslist. Check out how to do that below.
- Don’t just check Craiglist: local baby swaps and yard sales are great resources.
- Resell it when you're done with it, so you don't have a ton of crap around your house (and you have more money to buy other, age-appropriate toys!).
How to set up a Craigslist Alert:
Craigslist alerts are a great way to find items that aren't posted very often. I have ongoing alerts set up for this Melissa and Doug shopping cart, and medium/large gCloth inserts. Neither of these items are easy to come by on my local Craigslist. Here's how to set up an alert yourself:
- Go to your city's Craigslist, and click on "baby+kids." Then enter your search term(s) and (if you want), what you're willing to pay. When you're done, click "Enter."
- Scroll to the bottom of the page. You'll see an orange button with the letters RSS. Click on that button. You'll see a whole page of code in your browser window.
- Copy that page's URL and paste it into your feed reader. Now you can be notified via your feed reader every time an item is posted on Craigslist that meets your search criteria.
I also recommend (if you're serious about Craigslist) the iPhone app "CraigsPro" which has the ability to set up alerts in the app, and also makes searching from your phone really easy.
That's about it for me! Got any other tips?
During the day, we mostly use cloth, unless we're going out (more on that below). If you're doing cloth with gDiapers, you have two options: pre-folds or the gDiapers brand gCloth. Pre-folds are really cheap, and all you have to do is fold them in thirds and stuff them in the gPants. However, they make for a really big bum, whereas the gCloth is much more streamlined (it's basically flat, but really absorbent). We used gCloth when she was in size small gDiapers (I found them on Craigslist), and we now use pre-folds (because I'm cheap - gCloth is REALLY expensive).
At night time, I find that the cloth isn’t absorbant enough. Thus, we use a biodegradable gRefill, which is more absorbant. To soak up the extra night-time pee, you can either use another gRefill folded in half underneath the main gRefill (which gDiapers recommended), or you can stick a couple of cloth “boosters” underneath the gRefill, which is what we’re doing. Once again, this has a lot to do with our pocketbook. We use Amazon's Subscribe & Save for gRefills, but they still aren't cheap.
- After she outgrew size small, we had to buy a lot of medium gPants new (I recommend buying them at Babies R Us and doubling up on coupons). It’s an investment upfront, but saves a TON of money over disposables in the long run.
- If you're wondering exactly how we get the pre-folds in the gDiapers (or want awesome close-up photos of every aspect of gDiapers), check out this post from Joyful Abode.
- I like gCloth better than pre-folds, but the pre-folds are much, much less expensive. I bought the pre-folds to fit the medium size gPants, but in retrospect, it would make more sense to buy the gCloth for size medium/large instead of size small. She’ll be in mediums until she’s 28 pounds, and the larges use the same size gCloth. Definitely more bang for your buck if you're going to spend money on gCloth at all. Otherwise, just be cheap like me and buy pre-folds. Three dozen is more than enough.
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