CEO and Co-Founder, Just Between Friends Franchise System, Inc.
Part of being a mom is instinctual. The other part (don’t tell!) is trial and error. You learn as you go. You have nine months to prepare but there really is no way to truly be ready. We become mothers instantly. And, wouldn’t you know it, that’s also the very moment the reality of it hits.
Cue panic attack.
I still remember the birth of my first child. I remember that moment of instant love. That flutter around my heart. Followed oh so quickly by a serious punch in the gut. This little person in my arms was now completely relying on me. What was I supposed to do now?
Thankfully, even though I had never been a mom, I knew women who were amazing moms. I had been raised by one. That helped. Then there was the support of other mothers who gave me pointers here and there and told me when to panic (never) and when not to panic (every moment of every day for the rest of my life).
Welcome to motherhood.
It was the inspiration, guidance, and support of all the amazing mothers in our lives that initially gave my co-founder Daven Tackett & I the idea in 1997 to hold the first Just Between Friends consignment sale.
It has since grown into North America’s leading children's and maternity consignment sales event, all owned and organized by local moms and dads. So I decided to ask some of these amazing moms to share a little about their buying personas and what motherhood has taught them about what to buy new, what to buy used, and what not to buy at all. All of them agreed that every mother needs a baby carrier and rarely does any mother need a wee-wee cover. But the insight didn’t stop there. Here’s what they had to say:
JBF Middletown & Dover
Mom to Tony age 5, Leo age 3 and Hudson 9 months
Unless it’s on clearance, I’m not interested. That’s me. The bargain shopper. I’m the woman who walks right past all the displays and directly to the sale racks. Bargains are my mission.
Here’s how I walk out of the store with a big grin on my bargain shopper face:
1. Don't buy anything there is an app for. Also, side note, eventually you won’t need the app either.
2. Never buy pants with buttons down the legs. Are you kidding me? Nobody has time for all of those buttons.
3. Diaper disposal contraptions....Personally, I find it faster to simply walk the soiled diaper out to the trash in my garage.
4. Since I have three boys, ages 5, 3, and four-months, I’ve been given my fair share of wee wee covers. Let me just tell it to you straight, they won’t help.
JBF Georgetown/Round Rock
Mom to Rylin age 3 and Braxton, 9 months
We became pregnant with our first after years of infertility. Then, after our daughter was born, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Considering all the complications, it didn’t seem possible I could become pregnant again. Right? Wrong. We did. And after selling everything, we had to turn right back around and buy it again.
Here’s what I learned the second time around:
1. Buy your big equipment used. Strollers, swings, pack and plays - you can usually find a great one second hand already built for you. Have you ever assembled one of those suckers? It’s awful.
2. I’m a sucker for clothes. But all those cute clothes we purchased for our little guy? Let’s just say he stayed in his pajamas for the first three months of his life.
3. With two kids and two-stories in our home, I usually need to be in two places at once which makes a video monitor a must.
JBF Des Moines
Des Moines, Iowa
Mom to Noah age 4 and Blakely age 1
Call me the master of time management. It’s a necessary skill for my family’s survival. Between my job as the Director of Accounting for a software company, our family business as JBF franchise owners, and being a mom to four-year-old Noah and 1 year-old Blakely, if I can’t manage my time then my kids would end up living in their pajamas. Me, too, in fact.
Here’s what I’ve learned to help save money AND time:
1. Buy dual-purpose items. For example, if the top section of your pack and play has a bassinet, you don’t also need a separate bassinet. You’re covered!
2. Even though baby equipment is popular does not mean your child will love it.
3. Beware of the fluff items. There are tons of them. Like crib bumpers. They’re cute. And useless.
JBF North Bay
Santa Rosa, California
Mom to Alex age 7 and Nico – 18 months
I was the new mom with all the consumer reports stacked around the house. When it was time to buy a stroller, I didn’t read only one report. I read three or four. I analyzed. I dissected. I would know everything there was to know about what a mom should know about a stroller.
But, hey, that was with my first. As all moms know, things change between the first and second child. If I was to give my first-time-mom self some advice, this is what I’d tell her:
1. Not everything needs to be brand new. New is expensive! And not actually better. I know, I know. God forbid your precious baby play with used toys.
2. If you’re going to buy something new, stick to things like nipples for the bottles, because they deteriorate over time and your baby is going to chew them to pieces, and underwear for your toddler, because who wants to wear previously-loved underwear?
3. Baby equipment can be purchased for usually half or even more than half the original price when you shop consignment. Your husband, as well as your budget, is going to love the prices. Your baby isn’t going to know the difference.
There you have it. You can buy many gently used items and still spoil that baby - and save money along the way. And bonus: there are many opportunities for you to sell that baby equipment once your child has outgrown it and turn that "clutter into cash".
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