If you're a new, first time mum then you're probably bamboozled by the sheer choice of baby products available on the market. You need a car seat, but, oh my! There are thousands to choose from. You need a pram, but again, which of the hundreds of products on the market is right for you?! Which nappies should you use - hundreds of different packages stare out at you from the shop shelves, each one promising something slightly different! Baby listeners, car seats, educational toys...so much choice!
The broad choice available is quite simply bamboozling and life is too short to evaluate every product against dozens of criteria in order to ensure you make the right choice.
Well, here's some news...it needn't be that difficult. Here are two simple tips to help you wade through the aisles:-
(1) Remember that all baby products have to pass rigorous safety standards. This means that all products available on the shelves in our shops are fit for purpose. The £800 super-duper-buggy-stroller-expandable-supermarket-trolley is no more worthy than the £100 version that just doesn't have padded handlebars and dayglow wheels. They are both suitable for babies, they both do the job. The decision is just whether you want all the features promised by the high end version.
Decide on the feature set for whatever product you want to buy and then narrow your field of choice by those products that support the features you require. Be guided by price, cheaper products will still be up to the task.
(2) You're not the only new mum in the world...there are literally thousands of you. ...and you're all going through the same buying cycle, getting hold of all the new equipment required for your baby. A lot of these mum's are writing about their experience in blogs, but it's almost impossible to find all of these for any products that you want.
Instead, head to Amazon - they are shifting more products that anyone else in the country and act as a great barometer for which products to buy and which to avoid. They also receive and post reviews on their website, reviews written by real people and based on real experience. Go to Amazon, search for the product type that you are looking for.
Filter your search for products with average reviews of 4* and higher - these are the products that others are rating. Look at these products, sort by price if you wish. Be wary of any products with just one or two reviews, there isn't enough feedbcak to be meaningful. Instead, select from the products that are highly rated and that preferably have tens of reviews, if not hundreds. These products are the ones that everyone seems to rate well, make your selection from these.
Look at the individual reviews for the product that takes your fancy and check out the worst reviews - there are bound to be a few 1* and 2* ratings. Look at why they are bad - if the negative points they raise don't put you off, then you can probably bet that this product will serve you well. Of course, you don't have to buy it here from Amazon, you can now buy it from wherever you wish, either online or in the high street, but you may well find that Amazon offers the best price, and you can probably have it delivered in just a few days for free.
We're only just past the summer solstice, marking the middle of the year, but there's no better time to starting your Christmas shopping than right now! Retailers in the high street and online are suffering poor sales - we don't have money to spend and we're not buying. Shops are currently launching into their summer sales, many starting earlier than usual. Now is the perfect time to bag yourself some bargains rather than waiting for Christmas.
Particularly good value at the moment are children's audio and video offerings. Family DVD's and CD's are cheaper at the moment than they will be at Christmas. Amazon and Play are selling many Disney DVD's for between £5 and £8 at the moment. Come Christmas time, they will probably run the same Buy One Get One that they have for the past couple of years, but suddenly all their titles will be retailing at a much higher price - you'll feel like you're getting a bargain but in truth you'll probably end up paying more than you will for the same titles right now.
Many toy retailers are also offering discounted goods at the moment. Grab yourself some bargains, pick up stocking fillers and stock pile gifts for friends' birthday parties now! Every parent takes advantage of discounted toys to give at parties, shop efficiently and you can save yourself a small fortune!
As your baby grows into a toddler and on into a child, you'll eventually want to shift all the baby paraphernalia that you have amassed over the previous years. There are clearly no hard and fast rules to state what will and what won't sell well, but anecdotal evidence from other Mum's suggest that there are techniques to help improve your earnings in second hand markets.
Online market places include services such as eBay and Amazon who allow you to sell used goods through their websites. There are also local market places such as Gumtree, NetMums and more specialist sites focused on local communities. Clothes and branded toys tend to sell for better returns online than they do in direct markets such as garage sales or boot sales which in turn are good for disposing lower quality items that you have - either poorer condition or from less known brands. Clothes sell seasonally so don't sell as soon as your babies grow out of them, wait until the relevant season is about to start and then sell them. Online, clothes sell well in bundles rather than as single items.
Car seats and buggies tend not to sell well second hand at all. The safety requirements of car seats makes many parents wary of buying second hand. Also most parents buy the latest buggies for the arrival of their first child, and this will often suffice for further children. Double buggies on the other hand do hold a premium because by the second child, no one wants to buy a new double buggy as they are more expensive and mayonly be a stop gap for a short time!
If you have equipment that you simply can't sell, why not give it away instead? Freecycle offers the most comprehensive network for donating goods to others.