A crib is the centerpiece of any nursery. This is where your baby will (hopefully!) sleep peacefully for many hours. You want a piece that is beautiful, functional, safe, and – of course – in your budget! Here you’ll learn my best tips and tricks for finding cheap baby cribs for your precious one.
A Little Help From Your Friends
I know, I know. You want something NEW for your sweetest one. But hear me out! A quality crib will stand the test of time. You would be way better off buying (or borrowing) a quality crib from a friend than buying a cheap one from Walmart. Why? High-end cribs are made from real wood rather than plywood or fiberboard. This makes for a beautiful, strong, safe, and timeless piece for any nursery.
Ask on your social media accounts (Facebook and NextDoor are great for this) if anyone you know has a crib they aren’t using that you could borrow or buy from them. I bet you’ll find several options to choose from. If not, join a local Facebook parent’s group. Most have buy/sell/trade sections where you can find a quality, gently used crib from a nearby parent for a great price.
And remember that cribs, unlike other used baby items like strollers and clothing, rarely show any wear at all. A quick wipe down and some beautiful (budget!) bedding and your new-to-you crib will be a showpiece. And I promise, if you don’t tell them, no one will ever know it’s not brand new.
Shop the Sales
One of the best things about having to wait nine months for baby is that you’ll have plenty of time to wait for a deal! I know you want to get started and get the nursery ready ASAP, but if you can be a little patient, you’ll find some great sales on cribs.
- Pick a few of your favorite retailers (Target, Pottery Barn Kids, BuyBuyBaby…) and sign up for their email lists so you’ll be notified of upcoming sales. To avoid a mailbox full of junk, I started a free email address just for these offers. You can use gmail or another free service to create an email like firstname.lastname@example.org and always use this when you’re signing up online or in store.
- Look for companies that offer great coupon deals. For example, at least once a year, Target lets you turn in old car seats (even expired ones!) in exchange for a coupon good for 20% off of baby stuff. Pro tip: if you don’t have an old car seat, check with friends or even on a neighborhood buy/sell/trade or free site. Someone definitely has one collecting dust that they’d be happy to give to you.
- While you’re out shopping, always take a look at the floor models. Many times you’ll find a beautiful crib that has been in the showroom that is now available for a clearance price. If you don’t see a sticker price, just ask!
Consider a Convertible
Nope, not talking about cars. And no, a convertible crib is not one with a removable top! A convertible crib can convert into a toddler or child’s bed. Just like convertible car seats that can last all the way from infant to little kid, a convertible crib can last your baby many, many years.
When deciding if this type of crib is right for you, don’t forget to consider your particular situation. I bought a convertible crib for my first child back in 2010. By the time he was ready for a toddler bed, I was pregnant with my second child. I decided it made more sense to use the crib for the new baby brother and purchase a set of bunk beds for them both to grow into. My oldest slept on the bottom bunk until his brother was ready to move into a bed – then he “graduated” to the top bunk. It worked great for my family. But I never did utilize the “convertible” feature of that crib.
If it makes sense for you, a good-quality convertible crib will save you from buying a toddler bed later. It may even convert into a twin or full-size bed. You’d just need a frame and mattress later on. Hey, that crib might last til baby goes off to college! How’s that for a budget-friendly option?
Don’t Forget the Mattress
Cribs typically do not include the cost of a mattress which can cost as much as the crib itself in some cases! Again, a good quality mattress that has been cared for well can easily be used for multiple children. Ask friends or family if you can buy or borrow their old one.
When choosing a mattress, remember that baby will be spending lots of time in very close proximity to it. Consider spending a little extra for quality, safe materials. You’ll probably want to avoid PVC, vinyl, and polyethylene. Other features to look for include breathability, water-proof cover, and whether it is hypoallergenic.
There are many great options for affordable mattresses – follow the tips above as you shop for a budget-friendly crib and you’ll be sure to find the perfect mattress at a price that will let you sleep well at night, too.
The “Don’ts” of Buying a Cheap Crib
You know I want you to save money! But there are some serious “don’ts” to avoid while you’re shopping.
- Don’t buy a drop side crib! These are technically not allowed to be sold any longer, but you may have one offered up from a well-meaning friend or family member. But drop side cribs have serious safety concerns, and no matter the bargain, you don’t want to use one! (They do make conversion kits to fix drop side cribs…you can go that route if you want…but my suggestion is to just avoid them altogether!)
- Don’t buy a crib with lead paint! Again, lead paint is no longer used for cribs, but if your great-grandmother has her heart set on you using her childhood crib, just say no (nicely). The alternative would be for you have the piece professionally stripped and repainted and that would NOT be a cheap option.
- Don’t buy a crib with wide slats! If you’re shopping yard sales or getting hand-me-downs, pull out your ruler and check the slats. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, they should be 2 and 3/8 inches apart or less! No matter the price, a crib that could cause entrapment dangers is a no-go.
In general, buying a crib that was manufactured within the last 10 years is a good rule of thumb and reduces the risk of safety issues.
When in Doubt, Choose Quality
A high-quality crib will keep your baby safe and keep your mind at ease. A cheap crib doesn’t have to mean cheap quality! Use your network. Shop smartly. Consider what features are worth paying for. And definitely DON’T skimp on safety.
I hope this article was helpful as you search for your baby’s new abode. I would LOVE to hear your success stories of finding beautiful cribs for a steal! Leave a comment below if you’d like to share.