Raising a kid is not cheap. According to a report released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs $233,610 per child, to be exact. And even though that’s spread over 18 years, it’s a lot of cheddar. Oh, and this doesn’t even include college. (Breathe, just breatheeee). Considering such numbers, it’s no surprise parents rarely say no to a bag of hand-me-downs or that there’s a thriving secondhand market for baby and kids’ gear. Anywhere parents can save money and cut costs makes a big difference. Luckily, there are money saving apps that work to make it easier.
To help zero in on those savings, we rounded up the best money saving apps for families that help you buy both new and used kids’ clothing, toys, and baby gear at steep discounts. Some apps operate like online garage sales, where buyers and sellers deal directly with one another. Other smartphone apps operate more like curated consignment stores. Still others sell only baby clothes, and one reveals which restaurants give away free kids’ meals. All of the money saving apps are designed with one goal in mind: help parents bring that $233,610 kid price tag down a few bucks.
Hollar is essentially an online dollar store but with better stuff, most of which start at $2. (So more of an online two-dollar store.) Unlike other money saving apps that peddle in secondhand wares, Hollar sells all new and cuts across pretty much any category ⏤ from toys, baby, and clothes, to household, home & kitchen, and school supplies. It’s like shopping at a cheaper, online-only Walmart or Target. As an example of the savings, Melissa & Doug’s WaterWow! coloring books regularly cost $5 in stores and on Amazon. Hollar sells them for $3.75.
Secondhand clothes. Firsthand fun. That’s the slogan of the world’s “Largest Online Consignment and Thrift Store,” ThredUp, which advertises up to 90 percent off more than 30,000 different brands. You can shop for boys, girls, or juniors and there’s even an under $10 section that boasts more than 11,000 items. And while there is no designated baby section for adorable zip up pajamas, the app does have a few other plusses: first, all the clothes are professionally photographed so you’re not looking at a bunch of bootlegged pics taken on somebody’s bedroom floor (they only accept new or gently used items); and second, they offer a full 30-day refund for store credit, so it’s pretty much like shopping at a real store. To sell old clothes, you simply request a bag, fill it up and send it in, and get paid for what they keep.
Similar to the website Babierge, the goBaby Travel app lets parents rent gear ⏤ from cribs and strollers to car seats and Pack ‘n Plays ⏤ when they go on vacation or visit another city. That way you don’t have to haul a car seat on an airplane or buy a high chair when you arrive. All the gear is safety checked ⏤ so there’s no risk of renting a product that’s been recalled ⏤ and it can be delivered right to the airport.
The Varage Sale app (virtual garage sale, get it?) works through Facebook so buyers and sellers connect directly and everybody knows who the hell they’re dealing with. Not only that, but users can be reviewed (or “praised” in the app’s parlance) and it even lists their average reply times. So your feelings don’t get hurt when they don’t reply right away. Sellers can post for free and all items are sorted into categories including baby gear, clothing, electronics & entertainment, etc.
Assuming you can look past the frustrating “For Moms. By Moms.” tagline that implies dads don’t buy their kids clothes, Kidizen is a popular money saving app for parents to buy and sell everything from used clothes, shoes, and diaper bags, to toys, books, and baby carriers. Plus, baby essentials. It’s organized by “Girl,” “Boy,” “Toddler,” and “Baby,” and there’s even a section that showcases all the trendy styles the hip tots are wearing these days.
Kids Eat Free
Nothing worse than paying good money for a kids’ grilled cheese only to watch it congeal while Junior stuffs french fries into his face. With this clever crowdsourced money saving app, parents can easily locate restaurants in the area (by city or zip) that offer free or discounted kids meals. You can filter by mileage and day of the week, as well as post your own favorite spots or flag deals that have expired.
Another online consignment app where parents can buy and sell clothes, Poshmark leans heavily on newer (and gently used) items and even includes a “New with Tags” search option. You can shop by brand (over 5,000 in the system), price, and trending styles, check out using Paypal, and even list all that stuff in your basement for free. They advertise savings up to 70-percent off retail but, again, only peddle in clothing, so don’t expect deals on bottles or bibs.