3 Worst Things to Buy New for Kids

Save money and headaches by purchasing these items used.

Kids cost a lot to raise. During the first 18 years of a child’s life you’ll spend on average about $245,000 for food, housing, child care, education and other related expenses. Considering how costly it is just to provide them with the essentials, it makes financial sense to look for ways to save on the things your kids want but don’t actually need. One easy way to do this is to buy used rather than new.

Here are three things that you should avoid buying new for your kids to cut costs.

While older children might balk at the thought of wearing slightly used clothing, little kids won’t know the difference. You can save big by buying gently worn baby and toddler clothes at consignment sales hosted by your local church or by going to an actual consignment store. You can even look online. At ThredUp.com, the online consignment retailer sells more than 4,000 kids’ brands in like-new condition for an average of 65% off the original retail price.

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Kids tend to break or lose their cell phones pretty easily, so it could be a waste of money to buy a brand new smartphone that costs hundreds of dollars. Instead, you could buy your child a pre-owned phone for much less. On Gazelle.com, for example, you can buy pre-owned phones that have gone through a 30-point inspection for about 40% less than newer models. You can also find refurbished phones on Web sites like Glyde.com or Overstock.com.

Your son or daughter may like a certain sport and want to join a team, but they could lose interest after a few tough practices. And even if they remain committed, they will probably outgrow equipment quickly. So it would be wise to buy most sporting equipment used rather than new. One mom we talked to saved 50% on boxing, lacrosse and horseback riding equipment she bought at resale stores such as Play It Again Sports. Some sports leagues even have trade-in days when parents can swap kids’ equipment at no additional cost.

Check out five more of the worst things to buy new for your kids.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Contributing Editor

Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and was a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is Director of Member Services, at the National Association of Home Builders.