Ok, so I am a bit biased. I run nearly new sales so obviously I think they’re great, but I have loved nearly new for much longer than I’ve been running the sales. Before I had children, other than the occasional car boot sale (occasional because that was a time when Sundays still meant a lie in) I’d never really shopped nearly new. I suspect that’s the case for a lot of parents. Once you realise how much “stuff” a baby gets through, and how fast, nearly new starts to make a lot of sense. So here are the top ten things I love about shopping nearly new.
Guilt Free Shopping
I love a nearly new shopping because it’s retail therapy without the guilt. You can go around, grab anything you fancy, come out laden with stuff and still have change from a twenty pound note. Plus you get the warm glow of helping the environment by stopping some “stuff” from going to landfill.
Nearly New has No Packaging
Plastic wrapping, tags, coat hangers. Getting clothes you’ve bought from the shop out of their packaging can take forever. Plus it leaves you with yet more rubbish, plenty of which isn’t recyclable. Toys are even worse, masses of cardboard, cellophane, cable ties, treasury tags and even screws are often involved. Buy it nearly new and someone else has already dealt with all that stuff for you, leaving you with a toy ready to play with.
A sense of community
A sense of community is something that is often said to be lacking these days. Buying the things we need from other members of the parenting community who no longer need them makes you feel like we’re all in it together. I love nearly new because everyone benefits, sellers make money, buyers save money, it’s a win, win.
Dealing with Toy “phases”
Last month my daughter found some old playmobil. It was like someone had given her the Crown Jewels. She played with it for hours and begged me to buy her some more. While I’m always keen to supply any toy that will make them leave me in peace for 5 minutes to drink my tea I wasn’t keen to spend a fortune as I suspected it was a “phase”. We’ve had a lot of “phases” in my house. PJ masks, Sylvanian Families, those awful squishes, to name but a few. Luckily I had a sale coming up and was able to cheaply buy her some more Playmobil to test my theory. (Which turned out to be correct, she was back to Lego in a few days).
Supplying the Grandparent’s Houses
If you’re lucky, you have parents or in laws who tolerate you visiting. If you’re truly blessed and they let you actually leave the children there. It can make things much easier if you have some stuff at their house. In the early days it might be a travel cot and a highchair. As time goes on it’ll be more toys and books. It would be expensive to buy all this extra stuff new but if you shop nearly new you can have the convenience without the cost.
You can Treat the Kids
My kids love coming to my sales. I didn’t let them for a long time because I knew they’d try to spend every penny I made before the sale had even finish. Now that they’re older I can give them a few pounds each and they can choose how they want to spend it. It’s a great way for them to learn the value of money without me having to worry that they’re going to waste their £20 Birthday money on yet another watch/fidget spinner/giant stuffed dog. Even before I let them come to the sales, on rubbish rainy days I’d take them in to my local charity shop and let them choose a little toy or a book each (it’s no wonder I have so much stuff is it!)
I can Spend my Money on Experiences
I would always rather spend my money on experiences for the children than things. Days at the farm, weekends at theme parks, theatre trips, meals out. Unfortunately my kids have the innate greed of children and want things, things and more things (at least I hope it’s innate and not just mine?). By buying nearly new the kids get their toy fix and we can still afford the fun outings that I know they love really.
My Money goes to other Mums
If I buy some new toys in Smyths, I’m helping the rich get richer. If I shop nearly new I’m helping another mum have more money to spend on her family. Not to mention the fact that I’m kindly removing stuff that’s cluttering up her house so that it can clutter up mine instead. Warm glows all around.
Nearly New School Uniform
If you’re children are small then you have this joy to come. It wasn’t so bad when it was just Boy Child in infants. He was quite happy to wear the uniform from the supermarket rather than the stuff with the school logo on.
Last year, things changed. He started Juniors, where they are required to wear a jumper with logo. They will lose these at least 3 times a week. This means you either have to have 5 or send them to school cold and be judged. Girl Child also started infants and insisted she couldn’t possibly go to school without the logo on everything she owned (thank god they don’t do knickers). This wouldn’t have been so bad if it were not for the fact that she likes to wear both boys and girls uniform. I now have a full, logo’d set of each. I wasn’t bankrupt by all of this only thanks to the wonders of the school’s uniform sell and swap Facebook group.
Like a Scout, buying nearly new means I am always prepared. For the next growth spurt. You never know what you’ll find, when, so I always buy stuff I like when I see it so that it’s ready when they reach that size. Welly boots starting to pinch? Here’s a bigger pair. Outgrown all of T-shirts? Here’s 5 “new” ones. Trousers all making you look like Micheal Jackson? Here’s some longer ones. I should probably put a limit on how far in advance I buy, for storage purposes if nothing else. When Girl Child was 4, I bought an opened pack of knickers in 11-12. Only five more years until I can use them.
You might also enjoy these tips about saving money on your family’s clothes.