I’ve saved £3k on baby clothes and toys – I get them FREE instead of buying new and here’s how you can too | The Sun

I’ve saved £3k on baby clothes and toys – I get them FREE instead of buying new and here’s how you can too | The Sun

July 10, 2022

MUM-TO-BE Samantha Cook is proudly surveying her new nursery full of gorgeous clothes and colourful toys, and all the other essentials needed for her first child.

Preparing for a newborn can quickly add up, but savvy saver Sam has not paid a penny for dozens of the baby items she now owns.

In fact, the 29-year-old from London landed almost all her gear for FREE.

That's all thanks to a handy app on her phone – and it's saved her thousands of pounds.

"I don't know how other people do it- it's so expensive brand new. A buggy is about £1,000 – who's got that just lying around?" she told The Sun.

Parents can pick up items for free from Young Planet, which you can download for free on Apple and Android phones.

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From bikes to babygros, the app works like Tinder for toys, matching parents who need items with mums and dads who want to declutter and avoid waste.

You can give and get things without spending a penny – and there are no fees for listing items.

The company says the average user saves £265 and the most active users £1,672 each – but Sam has managed to save much more.

"I reckon I've saved as much as £3,000 so far," she said. "It's made a massive difference and lessened the financial blow of having a child."

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Sam has picked up dozens of items for their baby due in September

It was a "huge surprise" when Sam and new husband 31-year-old Nick found out they were expecting their first child.

The pair who work in marketing had only just paid for their wedding leaving their finances already tight.

But the average cost of having a baby is £11,498 in the first year alone, according to the government's MoneyHelper website.

So it's no wonder that many parents-to-be are looking for ways to save.

"We've never been in a position before of having to buy so much at once – but we needed to do it without breaking the bank," she said.

"We have also definitely felt the squeeze this year of everything just becoming more expensive, like bills and the weekly food shop."

After discovering she was pregnant in January, Sam immediately got to work on finding ways to save.

And over the past six months she has got quite the haul from the app, including:

  • Tommee Tippee bottle set, steriliser kit and bottle warmers. plus additional teat heads
  • Baby carrier
  • Baby bouncer
  • Change table
  • Changing mat
  • Moses basket
  • Baby bath
  • Tens machine
  • Sterilising bottle drying rack
  • High chair
  • baby clothes – including this adorable M&S bodysuit that's all fluffy and looks like a teddy bear, which was brand new and still had the tag on.
  • bath toys
  • Baby bath
  • Travel cot
  • Nursing pillow
  • Smaller items like breast milk storage pouches

"I've always shopped in charity shops to find gems, but you need so much stuff with a newborn," Sam said.

She has kept her search local and picked up items she's spotted, but other users send and receive things by post.

But Sam said this meant she could check the item was up to scratch -although she has never had any problems, and frequently finds items are in almost-new condition.

She said: "Baby clothes sizes go up in three month increments so the wear they get out of them is so minimal – it seems crazy to get everything brand new when the chances are a Babygro has been worn only a handful of times."

And Sam has even had some people throw in extra essentials on top when she goes to pick items up.

"When I collected the bottle drying rack, the lady gave me her Tens machine. She said it was really helpful for her during birth. I checked later and they cost £30," she said.

"When the time comes I'll be passing on everything I've got again – depending on how disruptive a toddler we have.

"I want to pass it on to someone like me who needs it, too. It's only fair."

How to get kids toys and baby clothes for free

You can download the YoungPlanet free via the App Store or Google Play, and simply browse for nearby stuff that other families are getting rid of.

The app will ask for your postcode when you register, and will use this to see what is available near you.

You can search for specific items and filter “by distance” or “by date”.

If you find something you’re interested in, you have to “request” it and send a message to the person who posted the item.

It’s then up to the person to decide who they give it to – but as YoungPlanet is a “cashless” app, users can’t request money for any item.

Once you’ve secured what you want, arrange either to pick it up in person, get it delivered, or asking the “giver” to post it.

The person who wants the item will be responsible for paying for postage, although the makers of YoungPlanet say they would always recommend exchanging items with someone nearby so you can meet in-person.

You should always be wary not to fall for scammers if you’re being asked to pay postage for an item.

YoungPlanet was first launched by husband and wife duo Jason and Emma Ash in late 2019, with the pair starting off with a trial in London.

Here are Sam's top tips for getting a bargain:

Go prepared

It wasn't just the Tens machine that was a surprise item offered at pick up.

"I went to pick up a Moses basket and it turned out to be almost brand new – then he asked if I wanted a high chair as well," said Sam.

She recommends making sure there's room in your car just in case or that you have someone with you to help with larger items.

"Everyone's so happy to pass on the things they don't need anymore. It's happened more than once."

Be flexible

Be open to traveling if you can and work around people's schedules, Sam said.

You may need to widen your search terms to bag item you're looking for.

"It might not be the exact colour, but if you can be flexible you'll find what you're looking for," she said.

You could consider getting something you can upcycle too -Sam picked up a changing table and then painted it the same colour she used for the walls of her nursery.

More ways to get freebies online

There are other ways to bag freebies online, whatever it is you're after.

Sam also used Olio to find items – and get rid of things she no longer needs to make room for the new arrival.

Olio is better known for it's free food, which is given out to avoid it going to waste, including from Tesco and other faves similar to Too Good to Go.

But you can also search for other items people are giving away for free.

Sam also uses Vinted another app for secondhand items, which provided the family with a pram at a third of the price.

It won't necessarily be free, but you can certainly get secondhand items much cheaper.

Sam said: "You can buy babygrows from there for a £1. In shops they can cost £16."

Website such as Freecycle, Freegle, Nextdoor and Facebook are great for finding freebies in your local area too.

You are only supposed to sign up to your nearest area on most sites, but if you live on the border it’s worth looking at others close by.

The trashnothing.com website allows you to search multiple sites and areas at once.

And Gumtree has a “freebies” section which is worth bookmarking and checking regularly.

It’s also worth noting that towards the end of car boot sales, sellers often give away items for free rather than lug them home again.

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You could then even sell these items online to make money from them if you don’t need them.

Check out how you could get more freebies, including money, holidays and food. 

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