Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Craigslist and Baby Supplies

Thinking about all the costs associated with being a parent can be overwhelming. I remember feeling this way as my wife and I were preparing for the birth of our baby and doing the requisite research into just what kinds of things we needed to have in our house before this little person was allowed to set foot. One of the first things we learned (and we had an inkling of this already) is that you don't need most of what the Baby Industry tries to sell you. A lot of things are nice if you can afford them. Other things actually seem to be a lot more trouble than they're worth.

A very short list of things are absolute necessities: You need (you must have) a car seat, you need a safe place for the little one to sleep (though the industry really tries hard to sell you a Cadillac of cribs, which you don't need at all), you need whatever supplies will be involved in feeding her, some simple clothes, burp cloths, and a few other items. For a great way to calm yourself way down about the responsibilities and supplies associated with a new baby, check out the book Baby Love: A Tradition of Calm Parenting by Maud Bryt from your local library, or buy it online. This book will really put you on an even keel once What to Expect When You're Expecting sends you into a frenzy of terror.

The trouble with a lot of these things is that you'll use them for less than a year and then have to buy all new things for your now much larger baby. That's another thing you don't think about before actually having one: babies come in different sizes, and your baby will at some point be all of them. We found that a great place to get rid of these items and take in some extra cash for buying the next round of stuff is Craigslist. This, you may know, is super-easy, free online classified advertising. It beats eBay for a lot of the big baby stuff since the shipping costs on such items would be quite hefty. Sales are done informally and all your buyers are local, so you just need to arrange a time for them to stop by and hand you some money for a tiny baby swing that your now nine-month-old child could bend in half with his bare hands like Superman would a lead pipe.

A while back, my wife discovered an almost unbelievable deal on baby food. We stocked up, though we mostly made our own baby food, as this deal was literally almost free and it's always good to have backup if you can. Recently, after using some and giving a good deal away to other friends with babies, we sold what was left on Craigslist and actually made a profit. Okay, so this story is kind of a rare, extreme example of making money off your old stuff. Most of the time, you can only hope to get a little bit of your initial investment back to put toward something else your baby needs, but even so it's still well worth your while to look into it.

1 comment:

Maud Bryt said...

Thanks for the mention of my book, Baby Love: A Tradition of Calm Parenting. And it's great to see this blog for dads!