Here are my hints:
- Be prepared. Print your registries and take them with you everywhere you go. Look at the cost of other things like storage (for clothes, toys diapers, etc.) as well. It is great to have a reference on how much something is new so you know just how good of a deal you are looking at. I have purchased something thinking it would cost a lot more new (my bouncy seat) and not purchased things thinking they were cheaper new (activity gym).
- Do you love it? We (meaning I, I don't think my husband cared either way :)) did a primary colors theme for our baby things and there were some items that you couldn't buy new in that theme. If I found something at a garage sale that was exactly what I wanted and not something I could still buy in stores, I was willing to pay a bit more for. If it is not something you care about the style with and you registered for the same thing or something similar, it might be best to wait and see unless it is a REALLY good deal.
- Is it a REALLY good deal? This means its in like new condition and at least 50% off the retail price, or it is in usable, but poor condition and 90-95% off and an inbetween % for other conditions.
- Be cautious of stores that like to mark things up before having a sale on them, use your research to decide what the true "Retail Price" is.
- Watch out for the garage/tag sale where they post the "new" price as well as their price. This may be what they paid for the item in 1982, but it does not mean that it is worth that today, especially if it is well used.
From personal experience and seeing what others get at their showers people LOVE to give the following:
- Clothes - Clothes poured in after our son was born! - I am not sure if this was because his gender was a surprise or not though. Any other moms have comments?
- Blankets (receiving and otherwise) - We got a lot of personalized blankets from people.
- ANYTHING bath related - This was the first stuff to be purchased on my registry.
- Group gifts - I actually had quite a few people organize with others to purchase large items on my registry and I have seen the same with my friends.
- Because of this, I recommend thinking ahead for large things that you may not need now, but will need in the future. A good example is a convertable car seat. Registering for one ahead of time will save you the expense of having to buy one when they are older.