I am a big fan of buying used items for my baby. There are very few items that people recommend you get new (breastpump, car seat, mattress, etc) which leaves a TON of things to pick up secondhand (furniture, toys, clothes, swing, etc). Below is a list of places you should check out. Different communities will have better choices for each one.
Facebook Buy, Sell, Swap Groups
I call these my "Minivan Drug Deals." Picture pulling into the Kohls parking lot, window to window with another parent, counting out the greenbacks, and then passing a trash bag of baby clothes through the window. I think this is by far the best option for a few reasons.
- You can search for items from home without packing up your little one "just to see what they have."
- You are buying directly from another parent. People will donate things in poor shape to Goodwill or take things to consignment just to see how much money they can get. Since you are meeting another parent face to face, they are more likely to have second thoughts if their internal dialogue is "hmm, that walker is a real death trap" or "hmm, I wonder if they will notice the poop stain on the back of that."
- You can work out where you want to meet someone. Where I live, I am about 20 minutes away from most of the big retail stores to buy things new. However, I usually meet other parents at the grocery store one mile down the road.
- You can click on someone's profile and see if they look like a serial killer. Seriously, it is nice to see that you have mutual friends with someone or that they work at a place you know in town. Now people can absolutely lie on their profiles, but this is still more than you get on CraigsList or other online sites.
CraigsList is similar to the Facebook groups except with a bit more anonymity. One advantage of CraigsList is that you will usually see more "big ticket items" as well as large lots of items sold together. I had a lot of luck on CraigsList when I was pregnant and needing to fill an entire nursery full of furniture and decorations.
Consignment stores are really good for clothes and it's nice that they are usually organized by size so you can walk over to the 6 month rack and see what they have. Some consignment stores also have furniture and toys but it depends on your area. Most good consignment shops will have some method for updating customers on when they have new items (email newsletter, text alerts, Facebook, etc), so definitely sign up for that.
Thrift Stores and Goodwill
This is probably the cheapest choice other than garage sale, so if you are on a tight budget you need to check-in with these. These tend to have more limited inventory so you will see more generic type clothes like onesies and basic toys.
Garage Sales have the best deals bar none, but it does take some work. It is a lot of stopping at random garage sales, hoping they have baby/kid items. You also need to get up early and get there right as they start because there are a lot of other parents driving around in circles looking for the same thing.