3 Things You Should Never Buy Brand New For Your Kids

Joanne Poh



As much as Singaporeans like to complain about how expensive raising a kid can get, it’s clear that many parents are splurging on their kids simply because they can. That can be the only explanation for why so many of the toddlers whose young parents flood my Facebook feed daily are perpetually decked out in designer kiddywear and accompanying their parents on trips to Europe.

I’m going to get slammed for saying this, but I think spending a lot of money on kids can be like casting pearls before swine. Kids don’t care if you feed them caviar–all they want is McDonald’s. It makes no difference to them if their shoes are from Burberry or Bata, so long as you don’t nag them for getting them dirty. Here are three things you should always buy second-hand to lower the cost of parenting. Don’t worry, the kid won’t notice.


Mobile phones

While we find the idea of buying tablets for primary school kids rather distasteful, we understand the need to ensure your child stays contactable by mobile phone, since payphones are pretty much obsolete in Singapore. Whether you’re okay with getting a smartphone for your kid, having accepted that it will take over his life, or insist he deserves nothing more than a dumbphone, don’t waste money by getting a brand new one.

The main reason you’re getting a phone for your kid is so he can remain contactable at all times, and not so he or she can download hundreds of games, spend his or her entire day chatting with friends on Whatsapp or camwhore on Instagram. So there is really no need to get the latest phone with all the best specs. Get a second hand one online or simply pass down your old, used phones to your kid when you upgrade.

What’s more, kids have the tendency to break and lose things—I myself have an unhappy memory of losing my Nokia 8210 on the bus many moons ago. You can bet that the more expensive a phone you get your kid, the more likely it is that he’ll drop it into the toilet bowl or shatter its screen on the basketball court.


Game consoles

Whether your kid is of the Xbox, PlayStation or Wii persuasion, or is satisfied with a Nintendo 3DS, these game consoles don’t come cheap. You’re looking at a cost of hundreds of dollars, not including games. And you can bet that just days after receiving the console, your kid is going to be begging for the Gran Turismo steering wheel or the entire set of Rock Band instruments.

You can save yourself a few hundred dollars simply by buying a used set off eBay or Carousell. These consoles are a lot hardier than laptop computers, and if you clean out the insides they should run as quickly as they did when they were brand new. You know, just in case you wanted to use it as well….



When I was a kid, I would always try to figure out what was in those wrapped giftboxes in the lead up to Christmas. And the ones I hated the most were the soft, squishy packages that meant there would be clothes or, worse, socks within. Unless things have changed dramatically since then, most kids under the age of 12 don’t care about clothes at all.

In addition, kids grow so darned fast that anything you buy them will no longer be wearable in 2 years (or less!!). All these factors make buying brand new clothes—especially expensive ones, an unwise financial decision.

If you’re leery about buying used clothes online, ask friends or family members whose kids are older than yours if you can buy their kids’ old clothes off them. Chances are they’ll be relieved to get rid of them anyway. When your kids outgrow the clothes, sell them online or pass on the favour to a newer parent.

Have you ever bought second hand items for your kids? Tell us what they were in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.