If there is one thing I’ve learned in parenthood it’s that second-hand toys, clothes & shoes are a huge blessing (and money savers)!
I know everyone has different views on “hand-me-downs” and while there are certain things we don’t accept or politely say “no” to (personal hygiene items, etc.) For the most part, we don’t turn our noses up at anything. I grew up with an older sister, so for me, hand-me-downs were something I was used to and learned to expect.
Growing up, my family was (and still is) REALLY into a Disney. (I mean, who doesn’t love Disney and all the magic that comes with it?) I have some amazing memories of my siblings, cousins and I spent the night at Nana and Grandpa’s house. Being crowded and cuddled up in Nana’s bed watching Disney movies or playing board games was something we always knew to expect when going over. There were countless times I would go to my cousin Jessica’s house and we would sing karaoke while dressed up as Princess Jasmine or any other Disney Princess. They were some of the BEST times ever.
Now that I am an adult I still remember all of those fun times and try to make similar memories with my own daughter. We love to sit and read books together. Evenings spent cuddled up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn in our lap and a Disney movie or two are a staple. And days with friends and a spontaneous fashion show are always exciting and welcome! It’s all great fun and I love being able to do those things.
However… toys can be ridiculously expensive. Especially big name brand toys like Disney. (We just went to a birthday party where BJ & I learned that a L.O.L Doll Toy is NOT cheap. I mean wow! I was not expecting those itty bitty toys to cost so dang much!) It’s crazy. Knowing that kids have a tendency to play with toys for a few weeks before getting bored with them, makes me appreciate the fact that my parents taught me that second-hand anything is not something to be ashamed of. For us, buying things brand new doesn’t always fit our budget – and that’s okay. Sure, it may not be “new” but it is “new” to us and to Scarlett (who doesn’t know the difference, anyway). We could easily spend money buying all of her clothes, toys and shoes brand new. But what would be the point? At the end of the day, she would eventually grow out of it, lose it, break it, whatever… And we would be out X, Y, Z amount of money. The thing is, accepting hand me downs has taught me to be humble and appreciate the thoughtfulness behind it. We have so many amazing friends and family who have passed down toys, clothes, shoes – you name it, and we are so thankful for it all And BJ & I have definitely paid it forward along the way. I think it’s a great lesson to teach our kids and it’s good to start them young.
Don’t get me wrong there is NOTHING wrong with buying everything brand new. If you can afford it, go for it! In fact, I find things BRAND NEW in store for a GREAT price sometimes. While other times that same item is being sold online, used and a little beat-up at regular price. It all depends on the person I guess.
For me, bargain shopping is another tool I’ve found useful in parenthood. Like I said we are huge Disney fans, but Disney merchandise can be pretty pricey. So anytime I’m on the hunt for something specific (like the Disney Princess dresses pictured above) I always try to check online garage sale pages, or thrift shops first. Would it be easier and less time consuming to just go to the Disney store online or (the store loved by all mothers) Target? Sure! But there is something about the time spent “hunting” for a certain toy for Scarlett that I enjoy. (Finding it for a reasonable price that I can afford is always nice too!)
So mama, (or daddy) if you are struggling and feel like you HAVE to give your child ALL things brand NEW. Don’t stress and let those silly thoughts go. In the end, it doesn’t really matter HOW an item came to be in your possession. It doesn’t matter if it’s new or used, bought straight from a store or a hand-me-down. What really matters are the memories you and your child/children make together.