Happy, Healthy, Frugal Holidays! by Heather Bowles

This week, for Tabitha’s weekly outing, I decided to brave her first Christmas shopping experience. It’s early enough in the season that I’m not taking my life into my own hands by picking up that toy every grandmother has her eye on, but not so early that what I pick up will be out of style on December 25th. I went with a girlfriend of mine, and she suggested this little upscale consignment shop across town called Children’s Orchard.
I used to be too snobbish for secondhand shops, but particularly when it comes to baby things, I have learned that buying new often means that my child’s beloved item winds up recalled, and if I don’t have the receipt even six months after purchase, I’m not getting the money back, or the part I need to make the item safe. Buying from reputable consignment shops almost completely eliminates this issue. Not only does the store in question only buy items in new or like new condition, but they are very careful to monitor the baby market recall lists, so it’s a relative certainty that I’m buying an item that is in good shape and tested well after market.
In addition, my daughter is getting more bang for her Christmas dollars. The economy has torn a gaping hole in my family’s buying power in recent years and I know we’re not alone. Buying secondhand means Santa won’t have to cut back on our children’s joy this year. They certainly have been a good little girls and boys, after all, and I think they deserve the world, don’t you?
In buying from a consignment storefront, we also eliminate the inherent danger of person to person sales, such as can be found on Craigslist or the local want ads. Whether buying or selling, the last thing someone wants is to invite a stranger to see the inside of their home and it’s contents this time of year. That’s an open invitation to would be thieves and other miscreants. Lastly, buying secondhand is much like recycling, and anything bought used eliminates the need for a new item to be manufactured, or for the aforementioned, previously loved item to take up space in our already overly full landfills.

In short, what’s good for the wallet also makes for a happy child, and a happy planet. What are you doing this holiday season to make it a frugal and happy one?

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  1. 3 Responses to “Happy, Healthy, Frugal Holidays! by Heather Bowles”

  2. It took us a good six months before we realized that anything we could possibly want or need for our baby could be purchased used for much less money! I just bought Charley a fisher price activity table for her birthday for 20 bucks!! You also got to check out your local just between friends sale. They usually happen once or twice a year and you can get great stuff for cheap!

    By allison on Nov 11, 2012

  3. I have been extremely lucky with buying “like new” items from Amazon. One item happened to be brand new minus the outer wrapping and the other was a $50 Wii in excellent condition and with all original components!

    Because I haven’t a clue when this gas rationing is going to lift, I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of internet shopping. And my son may have to come to the realization that there really isn’t a Santa Claus. He’s old enough to deal with the realization though.

    By Cara Meyers on Nov 11, 2012

  4. Allison, Tabitha was 7 months old this past week, so I guess I’m right on target for getting real with our expenses! :)

    Cara, that’s a shame. From your stories of him, he seems like he could handle it, though. I haven’t decided if we’re even going to present Santa as real person to Tabitha, actually. This year, it’s kind of a non-issue, as she won’t be talking quite yet, and babies her age tend to be more afraid of bearded strangers at the mall than anything else! hahaha

    By Heather Bowles on Nov 12, 2012