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When you’re expecting a child, there are undoubtedly a huge amount of things that you need to buy. Most of this stuff – sleep suits, toys, toiletries etc. – can be bought over time, and so the cost can go unnoticed. There are a few larger items, however, that could scupper your bank balance if you haven’t planned ahead. Nursery furniture is definitely one of those things.
The first time we went in to a children’s department store we came away panicked because of the prices – a small wardrobe, a chest of drawers, and a cot equated to roughly £1000. It was then that we realised that buying new just wasn’t an option for us.
Now, of course, if I had that kind of money I would have considered it without much question – it would be lovely to have beautiful, brand new furniture when our bundle of joy arrives. Some friends of ours have really great looking nurseries with matching furniture in them, but the crippling force on our bank balance was not something we could manage. So, we started to look for the cheaper options.
The first time we went in to a children’s department store we came away panicked because of the prices – a small wardrobe, a chest of drawers, and a cot equated to roughly £1000!
We started with a good changing table from IKEA for £25, on the advice of some parent friends. It has stood us well for a few years now and we will be using it with our second child, too. We also already had some great IKEA shelving units (you all know the ones – big white boxy squares for fabric drawers) that, when turned on their side, provided storage for all the toys and toiletries, and a work surface for monitors, nappies, and anything else.
We knew we needed storage for the mountain of clothes and everything else she has, so we scoured sites like eBay and Gumtree, and charity furniture websites for anything that was in good nick. Thanks to a family member with an eagle eye, we were directed to a beautiful pine cot being sold for a tenner in one of the local charity shops. We raced round and snapped it up – what a bargain!
For a nursing chair, we found a chair from IKEA on the Internet for £10 – unused and boxed up – with an owner who desperately just wanted to get it out from under her feet. So, in we swooped, and we now sit on that chair every night for milk and a story.
If you can’t afford the big chain price tag then fear not – other, cheaper, recycling-friendly options exist that work just as well.
The only other thing left to get was a wardrobe – we were in no rush so we kept an eye out for a little longer. A beautiful pine wardrobe eventually popped up locally on eBay for only £25 – the same wardrobe was in the shops for five times that price, so we jumped at the chance. Minus a bit of turmoil getting it upstairs, the wardrobe was the perfect finishing touch.
By realising we didn’t have to please anyone but ourselves (the nursery generally doesn’t get seen by anyone else), we gave up the dream of a brand new matching nursery set. Our littlun’s room is perfect for her and, with a few dinosaur and animal wall stickers thrown in for good measure, she has a great bedroom for a fraction of the expected price.
With baby number two on the way, we have been able to plan for what we need without breaking the bank. The cot and chair from our first child’s room will be used again and we’ve got ourselves another wardrobe bargain locally off eBay. Knowing we can provide such quality furniture for not very much is very pleasing, and knowing that those items would have otherwise been thrown away is even more satisfying. If, like us, you just can’t afford the big chain price tag then fear not – other, cheaper, recycling-friendly options exist and they work just as well.
Part time secondary physics teacher, mother of one (soon to be two), and my financial hurdles are mostly parental based.