Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Frugal Baby

Baby James is getting ready to come home in a day or two. He arrived a little early so we have been using this time between my release from the hospital and his to get things ready for him. This includes making sure we have everything we need and getting anything we are missing. While I was sorting through the gifts and hand-me downs it occurred to me that Zach and I haven't really spent much on this baby. Just for fun I added up what we spent and it totaled all of $.49.50, not including medical costs, of course. I am blown away by the generosity of our friends and family. $49.50? I've spent that on dinner and a movie.

Here's what we did that saved us some cash.

-Most of the things we bought for ourselves were secondhand. For example the bassinet was purchased at the church garage sale and the bouncy seat (which my kids liked for people watching more than for bouncing) was purchased at a thrift store. There's no sense in paying full price for stuff they outgrow quickly if you don't have to.

-We have received so many hand-me-downs it's incredible. Almost all of James' wardrobe is made up of hand-me-downs and they are all in really good shape. We have a hand-me-down sling, a hand-me-down nursing pillow, a borrowed get the picture.

-Well-targeted gifts. People have been great about asking me what I really wanted and needed and getting me those items. When we did our baby registry I tried to be really judicious about what I added to it, making sure only the items I really needed made it onto the list. I also want people to feel like they can celebrate the baby with me without buying a gift. It's no big deal as far as I'm concerned. Non-traditional gifts are great also. My bible study group gave me a gift card to the grocery store to help with increased food expenses while I'm too tired to make everything from scratch. Another friend brought me a Jimmy John's sandwich when I was sick of the hospital food and has offered to watch the girls sometime for free. Stuff like that is greatly appreciated.

-We thought carefully about what we need and don't need. There are so many things marketed for babies that are really unnecessary. Some of it is nice to have, don't get me wrong, but it's not necessary. We tried to weed out items we hadn't found useful yet or could do without. For example, neither of my girls liked the baby bathtub. G.G.B. is the sink-bathing master, so instead of getting a baby bathtub I've opted to have her refresh my memory on her sink-bathing technique. There's something beautifully simple about it. It's just a baby, a sink, a towel and a little baby wash. It's easy on my back and there's nothing big and bulky to store.

-We went with a not-so-babyish room theme. This was Zach's idea. I have to admit that at first I didn't like it. I wanted something cutesy and....well... a little less masculine. Zach, who never puts his foot down on anything, told me no. He wanted input this time and he wanted it to be a boys room. Consequently, we are going with a classic car theme. Zach is ordering a sleek custom decal of a vintage sports car for the wall decoration and making a clock from a hubcap. He's making it a room that he, as a 26 year old man would appreciate. This lessens the chance that James will hit 5 years old and think his room is too babyish.

Overall the preparation for this baby has been incredibly simple and incredibly inexpensive. I wish I'd known when I had baby #1 how simple all this could be. I could have saved myself a lot of money and hassle.


  1. Congratulations! Here's to health and happiness with your baby boy:) And your post is so spot on--we spent little on #1--no diaper genie, etc. So much of what is marketed to parents is NOT necessary. And we enjoyed a lot of hand-me-downs,too.

  2. CONGRATS!! How exciting that he will be home soon! These are all really great tips. It really helps to think carefully about what you really need. There are so many products out there, and really a baby doesn't NEED that much.

  3. Thanks guys! It really is amazing how much is marketed to parents. I had a friend who was pregnant at the same time as me. She has an 8 year old and a 4 year old and we were talking about how much more stuff they've managed to come up with in the four years since we had our last babies. We agreed that if we didn't need something four years ago the odds are good we don't need it now. :)