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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"Baby" Doesn't Have to Mean Family Fiscal Cliff

Well, fellow US tax paying citizens, we came close to the edge, but averted the fiscal cliff. I think about money a lot, but it's been all the more on the forefront of my mind as I watched doomsday updates about the right staying right and left staying left. My thoughts about money: Am I being a good steward of it? How can I save more? Make more? Give more? Invest more? Grow it? Pay my momma's house off? Live in Mexico with Bobby for a summer? Let your friends tell it, the expanding of a family through babies is a good way to answer the preceding questions with, "You can't, you won't, barely, hardly, never." I hear babies cost a lot of money, though we always seemed to have plenty at 2465 and 2493 (my grandparents homes in Detroit). There was always food, always laughter and fun, lots of pets (Sparky, Midnight, Midnight, and Midnight--my father named all of his dogs Midnight). My maternal grandparents had 6 children. My paternal grandparents had 13. My grandfather threw the best parties. I remember big blocks of ice from the local icehouse chilling glass bottles of pop (Town and Country??).My parents raised 4 of us and we always had generous Christmases, braces for our teeth, music lessons, instruments. I guess this is precisely where the money went. The kids were the investment. While I want our child/ren to have good things, I don't want to blow our budget. My goal is to be a savvy mom who is still able to do savvy things with money. So, I'm on a quest to do this baby thing on a shoestring budget, utilizing Grannyeconomics--maybe not going as far to make all of my own soap and sewing all of our baby's clothes-- but I want to know the secret of how my foremothers did so much with so little. I started the quest seriously this morning at 2:30am. What generally happens is Bobby's artistic brain really gets cranking at 11pm, starts slowing down at 2:30, and then he wakes me up to debrief! Huh!? I couldn't go back to sleep after this morning's debrief and got to thinking of how we had to make some serious adjustments for our new addition who is due to come in less than 16 weeks. So, I made accounts with both Craigslist and FreeCycle. Within hours, I scored the co-sleeper we wanted for 1/3 of the cost. Instead of buying new storage furniture, our friend, Jen, the proprietor of Simplify (contact me if you want her services), came up with a plan to install closet systems and underbed storage drawers facilitated by bed lifts. I've started my costs analysis: cost per diaper per brand, disposable vs. cloth, etc. I'm scouring online consignment and finding that there's a lot of good gently used stuff out there...still can't bring myself to buy a used breast pump. Something seems terribly wrong with that idea. A big goal is the convenience of modernity, yet simplicity, and I'm asking as many dads and moms: What stuff was essential and what was just colorful, plastic clutter? What do you do or plan to do to save time, money, and space? What's your best money saving tip for new parents?
Almost 6 months pregnant with sister Brooke and goddaughter, Hope