Friday, January 2, 2009

TFT: Giving used gifts

I found this Q&A on Baby Cheapskate and I thought I'd poll my readers to see where the consensus falls.

The question: Would you/Do you/Have you given used gifts? If no, why not? If yes, does it matter the age of the recipient? Does it matter how close you are to them or is everyone fair game?

My answer: Yes, I do give used gifts.... mostly to my children and nieces and only to people who I know would still appreciate the gift regardless of if it is new or not.
Now, before I go into "why" and state my opinion, I'll be upfront and say that I know many people who don't shop resale or garage sales... either they think its disgusting or they just never think to go hunting for deals or they don't believe in buying used. I am not trying to come off in this post as "You're an idiot if you pay full price" because honestly, its your money. But for me, I try to stretch my dollar, so this is how I shop...

I love to shop at resale shops and garage sales... there are so many great deals to be found. And kids seem to get so bored with toys that it seems ridiculous to me to spend $40 on a toy that they might play with for 10 minutes a few times a week. Plus, you can really get a lot of bang for your buck... as you've seen... my kids have a whole playroom full of toys- and any toys in that room purchased by me were probably bought second hand or garage sale. I can buy more and spend less... I love it! (another word.... there are many of those toys bought new by family/friends for our baby shower, P's birthdays or Christmas, so its not like my kids have never received new toys LOL!)

I rarely, rarely buy my kids brand new toys (same for clothes too... I hardly ever buy kids clothes full price, and I shop a lot at resale shops). If I do, it has to be on sale or a good price or something that I can't find at a resale shop or on Craigslist or something like Playdoh or markers or coloring books. Holidays and birthdays are not off limits either. And they probably won't be for a few more years to come. Once they are older and are more into electronics or items that aren't best bought used, I'll adjust my shopping habits but for now they don't care where the toy came from. This year I got this Melissa and Doug train for Hudson for $2.50, this hippo flashlight for 50cents, a Cars puzzle for $1.00, for P's first Christmas I got him the Drop n Roar Dinosaur for $15 (a steal over the msrp of $40!), and I've seen the popular LeapFrog Learn n Groove Musical Table for as little as $8 at resale shops.

My nieces also received some resale finds for Christmas, but only because I knew my sister and SIL were totally cool with it (and in return, my kids also got some resale toys from them). I got Lia a whole slew of books for under $1 each, Aubri got a Cinderella DVD which cost me $5, Addisen got the Baby Einstein toy bar that cost me $2.25.

I guess, in my mind, it seems silly to buy brand new stuff- especially for kids. They grow so fast, their interests change so quickly and it seems so wasteful when there are so many toys in great condition at great prices! Like I said before, everyone has their own ideas for what is acceptable for gifts... and that's great! I love reading comments where there is a variety in opinion. Maybe you just don't think its kosher to give used gifts, maybe you don't have resale shops in your area, maybe your kids are older and used toys can't be passed off as easily.

So, what is your opinion on giving used gifts?


  1. i don't think i've ever given a used gift. we only got max one toy for christmas this year and two toys for our nephew, and i bought them both new. i don't know if i'd give something resale as a gift or not... it would really depend on the condition. i guess, honestly, it's never really occured to me?!? i think growing up in a really small town with no resale shops, i never really had that option, and while we might have a couple decent ones in the bigger town i live in now, it's still mostly garage sales here. i don't really have a lot of kids to buy for yet though (just one nephew). and for adults, i like to give a gift receipt when i give a gift (mostly because i myself am pretty picky about things and would rather return/exchange something than have it sit unused).

    but aside from gifts, i totally agree with you on the used toys. most of what we personally have bought for max is second-hand. i just saw the climber i found him at a garage sale this summer on sale for $275... i bought it for $100 and you could never tell we didn't buy it brand new. and i'm sure the kitchen stuff we have would sell for over $200 - and i think i gave the lady $60 for it?

    clothes - max only has a few used things i've seen at garage sales while checking for toys. i usually shop at the regular stores for him, but i'll almost never pay full price. i love the sales at the children's place. if i absolutely love something, i'll buy it full price from old navy or h&m or target (i.e. somewhere that's fairly cheap anyway), but otherwise i stick to the sales. baby gap, i love - but ONLY the sale stuff - i think it's crazy to spend $40 on a sweater for a one year old! :)

  2. I am totally with you on this subject. I rarely by Kaiden new toys or clothes unless we REALLY need them for soemthing or they are a crazy good price. And I am with kim in the fact that we dont have too many kids to buy for yet but I know my sister wouldnt care about getting something used as a gift and neither would I, Depending on the quailty.

    And I know some people would just give used gifts because they are cheap and look at nothing like the quality or condition they are in. that to me is wrong, you are not even putting thought into the gift then. on the other hand I could have in mind just what I wanted to get and have been shopping around for it and find it super cheap in amazing condition at a resale shop or garage sale and get it.. I think it means just as much as buying it with the thought that goes into it.. and you dont have all that dang plasitc and cardboard to deal with!

  3. A gift is a gift, chosen and given (hopefully) with love, uncoerced, by the giver. Some of my favorite gifts which I have received are used, especially books. My mother-in-law often gives me gifts such as Christmas decorations which they no longer use. These are special to us because George grew up with them. I also give books which I have read as gifts, while reading I realize that it is perfect for someone!

  4. I am in total agreement with you. I haven't given a lot of used gifts, but it is not to say that I wouldn't. It would depend upon the person I guess. I pretty much only buy my kids used clothes or have been fortunate to receive a few hand me down clothes from friends. I love being able to buy my kids cute, quality clothes and yet spend so much less buying them used. It is also fun because you are not limited to what is on the racks at the store for that season, buying used you have all those previous seasons to browse as well. I love the frugality of shopping at thrift stores and garage sales, but I also love the kindness to our earth with reusing things that someone else no longer needs. I try to buy my kids toys used (typically on Craigslist). A lot of the toys they have received have been hand me downs from the neighbors or gifts from friends. They are not hurting for toys. The whole concept of buying used appeals to me in every way. I think it is just smart.