If you have kids, the chances are that you're also on a budget with the high costs of kids clothes and toys regularly eating into your savings. If you've not checked out your local second hand store, you might well be surprised on what's on offer, and also what tremendous range of pre-loved items you can pick up there.
Photo: ProfDEH, Wikimedia Commons
I recently visited the local Salvos shop, and the local Vinnies charity shop to drop off a clothing donation and whilst I was there I was struck by how many quality items you could get that would be just perfect for kids to play with.
Here are a few ideas for the things you can find in your local second hand store:
Kids Clothing - Pre-worn clothing isn't everyone's cup of tea, but in our local store, many of the kids clothes still had labels on and hadn't been worn at all. The babies clothes particularly were of excellent quality as many infants simply grow too quickly to get any kind of proper use out of clothes. Items were priced from 50c upwards, with some gorgeous items available. If you're kids like playing dress up, this is also a great place to find different sorts of outfits for creative dressing up play.
Books - There were literally hundreds of children's books in my local charities stores, and many in tip top condition. Priced from 20c upwards, this is a great way to build up your home library with very little outlay.
DVD's and CD's - Priced from 50c upwards, there was a decent selection of kids DVD and CD titles including the Wiggles, Ben 10 and In the Night Garden. When buying CD's or DVD's it's worth having a look at the disc to check for excess scratches, and choosing the ones that look to be in the best condition.
Jewellery - charity shops sell a good range of mixed priced necklaces and bracelets that would make perfect 'dress up' items for little girls. In the stores I visited, the plastic jewellery items were priced from 50c so for a few bucks you can provide your little girl with a whole lot of bling to play with.
Toys - Kids grow up and out of toys fairly quickly, and lots of parents donate their unwanted toys to charity shops rather than see these pre loved items end up in the bin. For this reason, charity shops are often a great place to pick up quality toys, often in great condition. Before purchasing, you want to check the condition of the toy to ensure that there are no broken components. The same goes for jigsaw puzzles and board games; have a quick look inside to check you've got all the pieces that you need.
Tea Sets - If you've got little kids who enjoy playing make believe tea parties, or pretend kitchens, then the charity shop can be a great place to pick up some cheap kitchen items, including cups and saucers.
Have a look in your local area and see what charity shops are available. Many larger cities even have second hand shops dedicated to children's things. Here's an article listing children's second hand shops in Melbourne, where parent's can even source cots, bassinets and car seats from.
What bargains have you picked up at your local charity shop?