How To

Outfitting a Baby Nursery for Under $260

The basic bargain hunting motto, “Buy ahead of need,” is perfectly suited for pregnancy. With a nine-month gestation period, there is plenty of time to wait for sales, accumulate coupons and pounce on hot freebies. Forget about paying retail and skip the baby gear traps. Here’s how I used time to my advantage and ended up outfitting my baby’s room for less than $260.

Crib

One of my earliest scores was a free crib. I was shopping at the local consignment store when the owner mentioned that she had a free crib. Free? The catch was that it was a drop-side model that had been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a government entity. Was the trade-off worth it? My husband and I researched the cribs, watched news reports and realized we could eliminate the crib’s failure mode by bolting down the drop side. Now the crib is a regular, non drop-side model.

Changing table

This piece of furniture took me the longest to acquire, mostly because I was particular about the way I wanted the table to look (white, wood and sturdy). I scanned Craigslist my entire first and second trimesters until I struck gold. About a 50 minute drive from my home, a man was unloading a white Pottery Barn changing table that originally retailed for upwards of $300. His asking price? Just $75. Sold!

Curtains

One of the few new items in the nursery are its set of two white curtains, which were $7 at Target. The hanging rod was $5 and the valance was a hand-me-down from my sister.

Breast pump

This was another score from the same man who sold me his changing table. It is a top-rated Medela electric double pump that he asked $20 for. We purchased a $32 kit, so the bottles, valves, and pumps are all brand new.

Glider chair with footrest

I couldn’t believe how many glider chairs were for sale on Craigslist. Brand new ones start at $250 and I have seen them priced in catalogs for upwards of $600. With the plethora of used listings on the internet, I was able to wait until I found a quality one for just $35.

Rug

We coughed up $40 at IKEA for a new rug. Even if it only lasts a year, I’m happy with the price. We also paid $3 for mini coat hangars and $2 for a trash can.

Diaper Gene

I got mine for free from my local Freecycle network! The concept is perfect: Give what you can, and take what you need. Either way, it’s totally free. We also scored a free Tigger bouncer that attaches to any door frame.

Decor

The mobiles, alphabet cards, and Babar poster were all hand-me-downs or gifts.

Books and toys

Every single one of these was also a hand-me-down or gift. The only exceptions are the four books I bought at a consignment sale for $6.

Baby clothes, blankets, shoes

The vast majority of these are hand-me-downs from my sister, who has three kids, but I did spend $31.50 on used clothing at a garage sale and at a children’s consignment sale.

Changing table baskets

I used a gift card I received as a weeding gift to purchase some white baskets, which are being combined with some aqua ones that I found hiding in the attic. The toy basket was re-purposed from a baby shower gift.

Boppy pillow

New ones retail for $30 or more, but I scored one for $3 at a consignment sale.

Quilts

All were made with love by my Aunt Sarah and Grandma Betty.

The total cost?

$259.50. Not too shabby!

Julia Scott writes the money-saving blog BargainBabe.com. By the time you read this, she could be a Mom!