Monday, February 27, 2012

Baby on a Budget Guest Post: Turning Your Current Belongings into New Baby Items

You might remember Liz from her guest post in the On Marrying Young series, Married Young in New York.  When she wrote it, she and her husband had recently decided that they no longer had reasons to postpone pregnancy and now they are expecting their first little one!  Now she has the experience to contribute to the Baby on a Budget series too!

When Liz sent me a draft of this post asking me if she thought it would fit in with the series, I was thrilled!  Not only does it fit perfectly, but it's on topic that I know nothing about.  While I do consider myself pretty savvy about saving money, I haven't explored making money with current belongings beyond selling a few items on Ebay over the years.  I can't wait to go through my own books to see what baby items I can turn them into (although I admit I'm a book hoarder and will have the hardest time separating with any, even if they haven't seen the light of day in years).


My husband and I are expecting our first child in May and we couldn’t be more excited. One of our major concerns has been our financial situation due to our student loans. Right now, we are both working but I plan to be a stay at home mom if possible. Therefore, we are trying to save as much as we can.

One of the ways that we have started getting ready for the arrival of our little one is by cleaning out all of the things we don’t need or haven’t used in a very long time. My brother is “King of Saving Money”. He is an economist for the U.S. Treasury Department, so you could say he knows a thing or two about finances. He led us to Amazon Trade In.

Amazon Trade In is possibly the easiest site I have used recently. They accept used books (mostly textbooks/nonfiction), electronics, video games and DVDs. The hubby and I both have attended graduate school/law school, which has resulted in a dramatic amount of books that we no longer use. As a student, I always thought I’d keep my books because I’d need them down the line. I’ve been working in my field since before graduation and have never touched them. The time has come to get rid of them. I do not believe in throwing away items that are in good condition and can be used by someone else. This is where Amazon came in.

Amazon will instantly give you a price for any item that they will accept. You will print out a shipping label. You will drop your box off at UPS or USPS. Amazon will receive it and process it. Once your box has been processed they deposit a virtual gift card into your Amazon account for the amount that they offered. Thus far the hubby and I have accumulated enough gift cards to purchase our car seat and our crib mattress completely free. Larger items qualify for the Amazon Super Saver Shipping therefore, it works out to be completely free!

Another fantastic way the hubby and I have found to purchase items for our little one without spending extra money is to use Coinstar. We both have a lot of change and we put it into a large jar. I find it hard to carry around large amount of change in my purse (especially now). Coinstar usually charges a few to change your coins into dollars. However, when you choose the gift card option, they fee is waived. Guess which store is listed as an option? BABIES R US! I was so excited!

Coinstar does not give you an actual plastic gift card. They give you a voucher/receipt that has a gift card number and a pin number on it. You can use the voucher online or in the store. We used our first one recently and it went smoothly! I can’t wait to see what we can turn our change into next!

Liz is a New York native, married to a wonderful man. He is a Maryland native who moved to New York in 2005 to further their relationship. They were married in July 2010 and are expecting their first child in May 2012. She blogs about their life together at Tales From Astoria.

Please check out the other posts (including some great guest posts) in my Baby on a Budget series.  


  1. I haven't had experience with the Amazon buyback program or Coinstar, so it's great to read about someone's personal success with both!

    I have been selling used text books online since I was a freshman in college (2002-03) with great success. Tip:  If you go to yard sales or book sales, watch for inexpensive textbooks. I think that this is best accomplished by having a book scanner or smartphone to check prices with, but if a textbook is only a year or two old, it's probably still worth enough to make it worth your time. I have never run into any problem selling directly to buyers, while making more money than I would have with the buyback program. I've also had excellent success selling items on eBay, although I'm only comfortable selling items that I would lose a very minimal amount of money on (worse case scenario), with the current eBay buyer protection policy and PayPal controversy. 

  2. I sold all my college books online. I can't tell you what websites I used though. The books I couldn't get any money for I never could figure out amazon so I just sent them to a program I found that is always looking for books to help reduce illiteracy.  I love this series to see what other people are doing.
    P.S. Mandi I LOVE your new header! Super cute!

  3. Thanks, I worked really hard on it! Yeah, I've sold a few of my textbooks but it seemed like they were already an "out of date" edition by the time I was done with most of them, so I ended up donating a few. I kept most of my education ones though because they had a lot of suggestions to use in the classroom...who knows if I'll ever use them though. I'm thinking of trying to get money for some of them while I can - I could always buy newer, up-to-date ones later if I REALLY need them.

  4. I have heard that you can make decent money if you know what kind of books to look for and then resell them online, but I've never had any kind of fancy phone that could help me. You are right though, if I checked copyright dates and found something fairly recent, that would probably work!

  5. The sad thing is it's about 10x easier to look up the information online. I can remember when I was packing finding books and notes that I had looked for years ago that I ended up googling because that was faster/easier.


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