You can get high quality second hand baby gear at fantastic prices at an NCT Nearly New Sale – but you need to know how to play the game
Let's face it, everyone loves a bargain – and when you have five thousand and one things to buy with the imminent arrival of your new baby, getting a good deal can be even more sweet.
So buying good quality second hand items can be key. Of course you can try online auction sites, but the prices are sometimes very high and quality of goods can be a gamble.
Much cheaper local options are Nearly New Sales. The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) runs regular Nearly New Sales, which are usually hugely popular - it’s not unusual to see a queue of grimly determined mums and pregnant women outside an NCT Nearly New Sale, way before the doors open.
As the name suggests, everything sold at these sales is in excellent condition – it's all vetted before being put on sale, and anything not up to scratch is rejected – so buying at one of these can be an easy way of making sure you're buying something decent. You can also see and handle the goods and talk to the mum seller about the product.
But beware – they can get messy! The sales open early to NCT members, so if you're not a member you may be picking over the leftovers - although there are usually enough things on sale to still make it worth a trip.
As soon as the doors open, the buyers pour through and get straight down to grabbing things they want – a bit like the Next sale on Boxing Day! Here's how to make sure you get the most out of your NCT Nearly New Sale.
Get there early To make sure you really get what you're looking for, you need to arrive at least half an hour before the sale begins because otherwise you really will be picking over the leftovers
Make a list It's all too easy to arrive, wander round aimlessly and end up with nothing. But the sales are laid out in 'departments' rather than by seller so, if you make a list in order of priority, then you can make a beeline for the section you want most as soon as you get in there, giving you a fighting chance of getting what you actually went for.
Become a member of the NCT If you are considering joining the NCT, it's certainly worth it when it comes to the sales as you get in half an hour before everyone else! I was a member at my first NCT sale, and I felt like a VIP at a nightclub as me and a select other few were shepherded to the front of the queue and let in to pick our goods for a whole half hour before everyone else – and I got an unused travel cot for £30!
Buy clothes Most sellers don't bother with the lower-end brands because, as they are so cheap in the first place, it's hardly worth selling them – so you can get some good brand names such as Gap, Next, and sometimes even designer clothes for you and baby at rock-bottom prices.
Arrive late If you do, you'll probably go home empty-handed as there will be very little left!
Expect to get everything you went for If you make a list of everything you still need, then you really could grab some bargains. But if you go looking for just one or two items then the chances are you'll end up disappointed. Be realistic and aim to get as much as you can, and be prepared to buy the rest elsewhere, and you'll be fine.
Expect to fill your whole nursery with items bought at the sale - You can get lots of things, but don't forget there are hundreds of other people looking for the same things. Plus there are certain things the NCT don't let people sell, such as second hand mattresses, car seats and baby vests, so you'll have to look elsewhere for those.
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