I was just sitting here watching the infomercial for the new 'Baby Bullet' from "Magic Bullet' and was kinda jealous that they didn't have that when I was making my own baby food. It's so cute! But that got me thinking about how much money we saved making our own baby food (not to mention the little jars that didn't get thrown in the trash...I hated that!) and some of the other ways we saved back when my now 3 YEAR OLD (wow!) was a baby. We were unexpectedly thrown into having to make it on ONE INCOME and had to adjust our spending habits and FAST! And I'm proud to say that we didn't use one credit card, take out one loan, or go broke. God provided! But we also got a little bit frugal and learned to manage our resources better. I still have a long way to go, but learning the lessons of frugality made what seemed impossible at the time, very possible.
None of these things are new ideas, but they are things that surprisingly a lot of folks just don't do. So, I thought I'd share our list with you. And I must say that several of these ideas came from my friend Heather over at Want What You Have. She and her blog were a lifesaver for me during this time!
12. Used Wal-Mart brand formula. At first we were buying the ridiculously expensive Similac brand. We tried the Wal-Mart brand (because it was HALF the price of Similac) once and it seemed to make her sick. So I sadly put it back in the cupboard and thought I'd never use it again. But a few weeks later, we tried it and she seemed to do just fine with it. So we kept buying it and she kept drinking it until we stopped using formula. Saved us TONS of money! So my advice is, if it made them sick once, don't give up. Try again later. They may be able to tolerate it over time. Or use coupons. Now that I'm a couponer, I notice great sales on formula all the time. Just keep a watch out and be proactive and you can get your name brand formula pretty cheap.
11. Did not shop for needless baby stuff for nearly a year. I know it's hard for a new mom to exercise restraint when they see those darling outfits at Babies R-US or that HAVE TO HAVE baby item (i.e. wipe warmers...everyone said we just had to have one, but that just seemed like a total waste of money to me), but I made myself NOT shop. In fact, I didn't even go to the baby aisles, just so I wouldn't be tempted. I knew that back at my house I had TONS of beautiful clothes, tons of toys and blankets and all the baby stuff I needed, all from my baby showers (I still have so much gratitude in my heart for all those that blessed us!) so I just didn't buy anything.
10. Stopped going out to eat. Before we had our daughter, we ate out for dinner at least 3 times a week, sometimes more. That doesn't even count my EVERY DAY Chik-Fil-A breakfast stop before work for the 3 pack Chicken Minis and 2 large OJs while I was preggers! On one income, eating out all the time is just not feasible and it's just no fun with a fussy or demanding baby in tow. So, we just didn't go out and ate nice dinners at home.
9. Sold clothes in the big consignment sales from the TONS of clothes I got from her 7 baby showers (made 200 bucks from just one sale!).
8. Participated in a church clothes swap. Took in clothes and was allowed to swap those for newer ones that fit, all for FREE. I mostly got warm winter type clothes for wearing around the house (sweat pants and sweat shirts, turtlenecks, sweaters, etc).
7.Made baby food from canned and frozen vegetables and fruits and froze them in ice trays.
6. Bought low sugar apple sauce in BIG jars and spooned out smaller portions instead of buying the expensive tiny baby food jars of apple sauce.
5. Did not buy those expensive "kiddie meals" in the containers (the ones in the baby food aisle) when she was old enough for table food. I fed her from THE TABLE! She ate what we ate.
4. When I would go have her picture made for that special package price of $9.99, I would stick to the package for $9.99 and not let them talk me into the more expensive portraits. A little discipline goes a long way! I didn't do this for one sitting and spent over $200! Lesson learned.
3. Made my own laundry soap. I loved making it, especially with Ivory soap. I love that smell! But lately, I have found that if I use coupons when certain brands of detergent go on sale, I can get some really good bargains (I was not a couponer back when my daughter was a baby).
2. Graciously accepted hand-me-downs from friends and family. People are sometimes anxious and very willing to get rid of their kids' old clothes and toys. Just let them know you're interested and most of the time they're GLAD to let you have it!
1. Used cloth diapers. My sis-in-law made and gave us TONS of diapers so I didn't have to buy even one! What a blessing and what a money saver!