Wednesday 24 May 2017

Surviving an NCT Sale

They say babies are expensive. They say you'll spend a fortune in their first few years. The baby industry will also have you believe everything needs to be new. 

Really though, there's just a few basics a baby actually "needs" (Sarah wrote an excellent list a year or so ago) and the majority of things can be bought second hand. More than likely, you'll end up being given thousands of things anyway.

For all those the other things you'd like?

Enter the NCT Nearly New Sale.

The beauty of an NCT sale is that it's organised just like a shop; similar items are grouped together on tables or rails so you can see at a glance what's there and compare things. Everything is clearly (and often cheaply) priced and usually you can pay by card when you've finished. No haggling needed!

However, the small downside to them is their popularity! When I was pregnant and people talked about these magical sales, they also threw about phrases such as "bunfight", "sharp elbows" and "queuing up for hours".

We've done a few NCT sales now: as a customer, as a seller and as a volunteer.

So I have a few top tips for surviving an NCT sale...

1. Make a list
Think about what things you want or need; even if it's something niche, put it on the list; you never know what might be there! Think ahead too, buy the next sizes up in shoes or clothing. 

2. Prioritise items and decide on a plan
Work out which things you need the most and make sure you plan to look for those things first. If you're going to the sale with someone else, you could each take half the list to make sure you don't miss anything.

3. Go prepared
Some sales don't allow pushchairs (or ask them to be left in the cafe area) so check in advance and plan accordingly. Wearing your baby or toddler in a sling or carrier is often a good idea and there's usually sale volunteers who'll help you carry things or pick things up.

Don't do what we did at one sale, think "nah, it'll be fine, we can just carry her" - except than she then falls asleep and becomes a dead weight...

4. Get there early
It's first come, first served and some sales in London have queues which start forming over an hour in advance. Here in Sonerset, we usually get to a sale about 15-20 minutes before the doors open.

5. Become a member
NCT members get in 15 minutes before the public (plus there's a whole host of other discounts for being a member such as cashback on your shopping and access to an NUS card) so if you plan on going to sales regularly, it might be worth joining.

6. Quick decisions
When you spot something you like, pop it in your bag as if you go back for it later, more than likely, it'll be gone. Before you pay, you can always look through your items and put back anything you've changed your mind about.

7. Go round twice
Take a second look round; you'll usually spot things you didn't see when you first arrived.

8. Volunteer
For the ultimate early entry, volunteer to help at a sale! It's good fun and lovely to meet so many expectant parents, new families and little babies. You help out with setting up and packing away the sale and in return, you get your own private pre-sale to buy all the bargains (and sometimes other perks such as lunch or your seller fee refunded).

And for a bonus tip...
9. If there's a cafe, make sure you check it out. Our last local sale boasted a huge variety of cakes including gluten free and dairy free options :-)

You can search for your nearest NCT sale on their website here.

Happy bargain hunting!


  1. Ah, I can't believe you remembered a post from two years ago! Thanks!

    1. That's because it was a very very good post! :-) xx


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