Bringing up a child can be very expensive, but if you know the right places to go, you can get some great bargains on baby and kids items, saving you hundreds of dollars. The Baby and Kids Markets are jam packed with pre-loved and new products for babies and kids of all ages.
Even as a mother who had never really considered purchasing pre-loved goods for my child, it was hard not to get caught up in all the excitement with swarms of other parents rummaging through the colourful stalls. A few larger items caught my eye including a beautiful handmade timber toy-chest, but unfortunately it was already in the arms of a very chuffed dad. Prams, doll houses, bikes, cots, cubbies and bassinettes were all lined up for inspection - and some in near new condition at bargain prices.
An abundance of clothing for all ages was hung on racks, folded in baskets and lay out on display at various stalls from 50c a piece and mostly in very good condition. If you prefer to dress your little one in brand new items, then a range of handmade grow bags, hats, bibs, shirts and knitted jumpers were just a few of the new products available for purchase from local designers.
My bargain finds for the day were a plastic child swing ($6); 15m of animal wall border for the nursery, still in the box ($2); and a gorgeous denim hat, pre-loved but washed and looking brand new ($4).
The Baby and Kids Markets are run by a well-organised group of mums who have been coordinating the markets Australia-wide since 2003. The chosen market locations are indoors so they run rain, hail or shine and adequate parking is made available on market days.
WA – Belmont, South Fremantle, Warwick QLD – Gold Coast, North Brisbane, RNA Showgrounds, South Brisbane, Sunshine Coast NSW – Central Coast, Five Dock, Kellyville, Lane Cove, Newcastle, Penrith, Rose Hill, Sutherland, Wollongong ACT – Canberra VIC – Berwick, Caulfield, Coburg, Croydon, Flemington, Geelong, Malbern TAS – Hobart, Launceston SA - Morphettville
If you are after something specific, try to get there as early as possible. The item you are looking for isn't guaranteed to be there in the first place, but if you arrive later in the morning, you risk missing out on the bargain you were hoping for. We learnt this one the hard way.
Prams are not recommended at these markets. We took our bub in a carrier on my husband's chest, which made negotiating the crowds and squeezing your way to the stalls much easier.
Don't forget the ute or trailer if you are looking for a larger item, the markets are only open for a few hours so there isn't a lot of time to go back home and change cars.
Finally and most importantly, do take the time to sort through all the bits and pieces at the stalls. While some tables are set up and displayed in a meticulous fashion, others have been jumbled up from other frantic shoppers. It's usually these stalls that have the hidden gems, so take the time to look through all the piles and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you stubble across.