Am I a Bad Dad to Be?

baddadSo my wife Em and I are having a baby! Woo Hoo! We are so excited to meet our little girl Selma this July. We already have pink Converse All Stars for her in case you were wondering. And while we’ve been super pumped about the baby, the ever daunting “how do we pay for this” question hangs over every decision. Babies are expensive!

I used to think that weddings were the industry to be in if you wanted to make some legit cash, but capitalism seems to have run even more rampant in the baby sector. So to combat this free wheeling, high spending, wallet draining industry I have decided to use Craiglist to my full advantage.

I know that most of you wouldn’t call me a bad guy for purchasing used things for my daughter BUT there is one thing I wasn’t quite sure about – car seats.

We did a little research and found the #1 Consumer Reports (which I majorly respect) car seat, base, and stroller combo on Craigslist. The retail price for this baby toting combo is a staggering $350 but we found it gently used for $80. Big savings! My wife was on board by the way, I didn’t go rogue (like Sarah Palin).
pink chucks bad dadNow we did discover that car seats have expiration dates (typically 6 years after the manufactured by date) and don’t you worry – I didn’t buy an expired one. BUT, Consumer Reports did say that you shouldn’t purchase a used car seat from someone you don’t know and trust because you just can’t verify that it hasn’t been in an accident.

So now I need your opinion. Was it worth the $270 savings? Is there any chance that this means I’m a bad dad?

Do you have any other money saving tips for me as I begin my trek into fatherhood?

30 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    April 04, 2013

    That’s a tough one! If you meet the people and directly ask them if it’s been in an accident, and you get a good vibe off of them, then I’d say go for it. If it’s some guy with piles of car seats in his basement, maybe not (that’d be creepy anyway). I’m pretty sure all of my siblings and I used the same car seat; there’s 6 of us spread over 12 years. But I also never donned a helmet while riding a bike, so maybe we were just lucky.

    I like that you’re getting a bunch of stuff of Craigslist. Babies are small and need very few essentials. One’s house doesn’t need to be overrun with baby paraphernalia. If they don’t have all new toys, they’ll never remember anyway.

    You’re right people lose their (financial) minds over kids and weddings! I’ll add pets to that list.

    Reply

  2. Avatar
    April 04, 2013

    I agree Josh. I feel like I can read people pretty well. I can tell by talking to a them about why they are selling their used baby wares if they are an upstanding citizen or not. I’m glad I didn’t run into one of those dudes with massive amounts of car seats in their basement – definitely creepy. One example of how over the cliff the world of baby accessories has gone is burp clothes. Yeah, they sell fancy burp cloths for like $20 in a 3 pack. Those are pieces of fabric that babies throw up on! Just crazy man.

    Reply

  3. Avatar
    April 04, 2013

    Bro, if your wife agreed to this, you definitely found the right gal for you!

    Happy parenting!

    Reply

  4. Avatar
    April 05, 2013

    I think it is a wise buy (and I agree with the reply about getting a good vibe). I have sold all my expensive car seats on Craigslist and none of them had been in accidents. They also had some good years’ use left in them. In hindsight, I wish I would have looked on Craigslist before I bought the carseats. With my first child I was more inclined to want new and I bought into the fear that baby stuff companies instill in a new parent so they will sell more products. I didn’t have any problems with the products I bought second hand. It is good to do your research though, in case there are recalls.

    Nowadays, I try to buy as much second hand. Why spend more money when you can save a ton and get the same products?

    Best wishes to you and your family!

    Reply

    • Avatar
      April 06, 2013

      Nicole,

      I think you hit the nail on the head. The companies that sell baby gear really do feed into the fear that new parents feel. The promise of “safety” really seems to trump everything else. And most new parents really feel as though you can’t overpay for safety. I want my new baby girl to be safe. That is a HUGE priority for me. But I really do think that a lot of the safety thing is overblown an just a fear tactic – although I think I’m in the minority with that opinion.

      So that being said, I totally agree with you. Thanks for your thoughts!

      Reply

    • Avatar
      April 15, 2013

      We bought tons of stuff used for our first child. And by the time the second (and third and fourth) came along, all that stuff was “used” again. New is over-rated, especially when it comes to something they only use for a relatively short time. Oh, and don’t take too many pictures of the birthday gifts. If you get rid of them in a fit of cleaning frenzy, that’s when the little darlings get out the photo album, or whatever new parents these days put their images in/on and want to go find that “special” toy they had forgotten about for two years!

      Reply

  5. Avatar
    April 06, 2013

    First of all, congratulations! This is just my opinion but I would not buy a car seat or a crib second hand. I’m probably more cynical than most, but, as you know, car seats are expensive and I feel that some people will say almost anything to recoup the 100s they spent on a car seat. FYI, some car seats, like Britax, have an accident indicator on them so you might be on the look out for that.

    Everything else can and, IMO, should be bought at Goodwill, a consignment sale or Craigslist. Good luck!

    Reply

    • Avatar
      April 06, 2013

      Thanks Genevieve. Great thoughts – very interesting about the accident indicator. I appreciate it.

      Reply

  6. Avatar

    More important that the actual car seat is how it is installed. Take it to the nearest fire station and have them install it for you. That is very important and it costs nothing.

    Reply

  7. Avatar
    April 06, 2013

    First of all, every darn decision you make as a new parent will get you the stink eye from someone, so don’t worry about being a bad dad. Second, I would buy new just in case, and I would skip the stroller all together. Everytime I use mine I end up carrying my baby anyway because she screams like a banshee if I push her around for more than a half hour. I highly recommend an Ergo Baby carrier. It’s the best money I have spent on baby stuff because it’s made well, washable, and adjustable so anyone can use it and the child can grow in it. Also, babies are present magnets. You will be well-stocked on clothes and toys for years to come. Beyond that, your thrift store is bound to have all the rest of what you need,

    Reply

    • Avatar
      April 06, 2013

      Heather,

      Wise advice – everyone has an opinion on the baby thing, and usually a strong one. Thanks so much. And you are definitely right about the present magnet thing.

      Reply

  8. Avatar
    April 06, 2013

    I think buying things on Craigs List is just fine. My wife and I buy things for our 5 month old baby from there all the time. Since this is our last baby and we buy things and sell things for the same price or a little bit more when she out grows them. We also save a lot by buying diapers and formula at Costco, so it’s not like all of our stuff is used. My wife goes to consignment sales too, and there is a lot of baby stuff there for super cheap!

    Reply

    • Avatar
      April 07, 2013

      Nice. From the research I’ve done it looks like Costco has the best deal on diapers. We are going to make the attempt at cloth though. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll definitely be writing about that.

      Reply

  9. Avatar
    April 07, 2013

    For peace of mind, before buying a used carseat, know you will need two by the end of the 1st year or very early into the second one. The infant seat doesn’t accommodate the longer heavier baby. So, first check out the “Recalls” in Consumer Reports- (at local library?)and keep that list with you while you scope out used seats. Maybe you’d benefit from the online subscription because there will be a lot of choices in your future.

    The crib may be something you might think of buying new, especially the mattress. Some of them convert to a toddler bed or headboard for a twin.

    Most areas have baby resale shops, because so much is given to newborns and so little is “worn”, either clothes or furniture or toys.

    Reply

  10. Avatar
    April 07, 2013

    Thanks Val. I appreciate your thoughts.

    Reply

  11. Avatar
    April 08, 2013

    Craigslist is a good place for baby items also try the yardsale pages on Facebook.

    Reply

  12. Avatar
    April 13, 2013

    My wife and I buy (or are given) everything preowned when it comes to kids stuff except for the car seats. Both times bought new. It’s just too risky. Statistically a car ride is the most dangerous thing most people in this country do. The muscular skeletal development of an infant or toddler is very poor at handling impacts from a car crash. A trustworthy car seat is a must. This is coming from two parents that hate to buy anything new.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      April 15, 2013

      Thanks for your thoughts Steverino. Good things to consider.

      Reply

  13. Avatar
    April 14, 2013

    A car seat is one of those items that I expect to bite the bullet. As an expectant father, we have tried to find so many things Craigslist and at consignment, but baby car seat is one thing to buy new.

    I have found clothes, cribs and beddings at closeouts, consignment shops and craigslist. Even a clearance sale at Babies R Us. However, this is one thing that you never know about. Even buying new, there could be damage in shipping.

    Reply

    • Avatar
      April 15, 2013

      Thanks Edwin. I appreciate your thoughts.

      Reply

  14. Avatar
    April 15, 2013

    I am currently expecting as well, so this is a similar question I am asking myself. It sounds like you got an infant carrier rather than a convertible carseat. Also, car seats are considered “crashed” if they have ever been checked by an airline. The infant carriers are good for only about 6 months before they grow out of them. Convertible car seats are good from infancy through about year 3. I say you got your money’s worth because of the cost of the stroller alone, but when looking for the convertible car seat, I would make the investment to purchase new. We will be using a used carseat for my MIL’s car, but for primary use we will buy new. By the way, they say the two things you should always buy new are the carseat and mattress.

    Reply

  15. Avatar
    April 15, 2013

    Congrats Stephanie! It is a fun time. Good thoughts – and good luck with your pregnancy.

    Reply

  16. Avatar
    August 05, 2015

    My wife and I buy (or are given) everything preowned when it comes to kids stuff except for the car seats. Both times bought new. It’s just too risky.

    Reply

  17. Avatar
    August 10, 2015

    A car seat is one of those items that I expect to bite the bullet. As an expectant father, we have tried to find so many things Craigslist and at consignment, but baby car seat is one thing to buy new.

    Reply

  18. Avatar
    August 13, 2015

    For true serenity, before purchasing an utilized carseat, know you will require two before the end of the first year or right on time into the second one. The newborn child seat doesn’t suit the more extended heavier infant. In this way, first look at the “Reviews” in Consumer Reports-(at neighborhood library?)and keep that rundown with you while you investigate utilized seats. Possibly you’d profit by the online membership on the grounds that there will be a great deal of decisions in you’re future.

    The lodging may be something you may consider purchasing new, particularly the bedding. Some of them change over to a baby bed or headboard for a twin.

    Reply

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