Don’t you want to be WEIRD?!
Cheap. Frugal. Thrifty. All are compliments in my mind :)
Having a baby is expensive, no? Sidebar – paying for college in 18 years?! I used this college cost calculator and we need to save over $140,000 for Merfbaby to attend a Private 4 Year University. I graduated from a Private University so I’ll assume he may attend one too — goooo Panthers!
In a word – yikes.
So, how do you save monies with a tiny human? Here are a few things we’re doing. It might not be millions of dollars, but I’m thinking every little bit saved will help us down the line.
Get Health Insurance
I know this is sort of a hot topic lately, but if you can get insurance I think it’s worth it for the cost of labor and delivery alone. I recently got the bill for our hospital stay (we left 24 hours early, remember) and it was crazy! We were blessed with a non-medicated, natural birth so I can’t imagine what the costs of an epidural, anesthesiologist and c-section might be. Cray-cray. When I opened the claim from the insurance company all I could say was “thank you Jesus that we have health insurance.”
I know not all women are able to breastfeed, but if you can it’s a huge savings! Formula is expensive. There’s all kinds of awesome benefits to breastfeeding, both for you and the tiny human. Just think, every day you’re able to breastfeed that’s one day you’re saving money on formula. Heck, every feeding you can do count that as a savings.
You can do all kinds of research about cloth diapering vs. disposals and the cost/environmental impact. We decided to cloth diaper and it’s working really well for us. It can be a larger investment initially – but if you save some of your gift cards from the baby shower you can purchase your cloth diapers at any baby store – Target, Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby…We did notice an increase in our water bill, and it does take an extra load of laundry every few days, but I love that we can never “run out” of diapers. We used disposal’s that we were gifted for the early weeks when you’re changing diapers like it’s your job, wait – it sort of is.
We are so fortunate to have lots of generous friends and family that have children older than Merfbaby. We accepted any and all clothing/books/toys/baby gear they wanted to hand down. I only recently had to buy some winter outfits since most of what we’d been given was summer 6 month clothing (yes, my not even 3 month old baby is wearing 6 month outfits). Our best hand me downs 2, yes TWO Pack N Plays. Both in excellent condition. We keep one at home and I have one at the office. You better believe that we’re going to hang on to Merfbaby’s stuff for Merfbaby 2.0. Even if we have a girl most of the clothing is neutral – hey, stick a bow on her head and call it macaroni.
This one isn’t exactly a baby-only savings. We all know that eating at home is cheaper than eating out. In the early months it’s a challenge to cook meals but if you can prep stuff during your prego days or have friends and family that will bring meals by it’s a great way to save. We go out to eat one meal a week, either a lunch or dinner on the weekend. Merfman and I both had pro-out to dinner families so we think it’s important to get out of the house with Merfbaby like it’s no big thang. Plus, at this point we don’t even have to order for him off the children’s menu ;)
Bring Baby Along
As I’ve mentioned before I’m so blessed that I have an amazing boss and a very casual office environment so I’m able to take Merfbaby to work with me. This has been a huge savings since we haven’t needed to pay for childcare yet. I know childcare is a tax write off, but it’s been great not having that extra expense each month. If you can utilize the Grandparent babysitting system that’s a win too!
Living Like No One Else means you need to plan, shop and eat Like No One Else.
I love me some food. I will gladly throw down $XX for an amazing meal…Sushi, Mexican, Italian. Yes, and yes.
But, since Merfman and I are following Dave Ramsey’s Plan we’ve cut wayyy back on the fine dining. I don’t mean we were chowing down on steak and lobster every night. Just a few out to lunches/dinners/pizza delivery that were quickly adding up.
I like cooking, and Merfman is really only home for meals on the weekends so I can get it together for 2 days, yea? I’m partial to leftovers/solo meals when he’s working late so I try to plan our meals out on Thursday for grocery shopping on Fridays.
I know there’s a million MealPlannerWeeklyMenuShopping Printables out there on the interwebs, but I made one for myself.
You can download it here —> Menu Planner
I think the key to staying on track with your weekly grocery budget is planning ahead, making a list and no impulse buys! Seriously, if you look at what you already have in the kitchen, plan your meals and then make your list you should be set. I’m also a big fan of sticking to cash for grocery shopping. We have $80 – $100 a week for food. I know from shopping at the same stores that I can hit right around $80 each week, sometimes under if I use coupons ;)
So, do we eat rice and beans for every meal? No…but we do love our crock pot “refried” beans and Fried Rice dinners, yum. I don’t eat any meat besides fish so that cuts wayy back on the spending. If you have 1 – 2 meatless meals a week you’ll save money. Protein is the most expensive item on your shopping list…well, next to the vino, hehe. Scratch that, we drink $2 wine in our house…Fresh and Easy brand for the win!!!! Don’t judge, it’s actually really good.
Buy frozen veggies, they last longer and still hold their nutrition. I HATE wasting food, especially produce. Make your own beans, seriously. You’re like, wha – beans are dirt cheap anyway?! Think about it, you can buy a BAG of dried beans for a few bucks and make multiple servings vs that one CAN for a few dollars that’s 1 – 2 servings.
Steer clear of the JUNK food. For one, it’s not good for you. Two, it’s not going to make you feel full so you’ll eat more, therefore spending more to fill you up. Hard-boil an egg, or eat a piece of cheese. Protein is what fills you up, so if you’re snacking on those granola bars you’re getting nothing but sugar and carbs at $1 a pop.
Buy the store brand. I know, I know…but the name brand TASTES better, right? Sometimes, it does. There are a few things I will buy name brand for, like Pancake Mix. Bisquick has a million uses anyway. But almost everything “store brand” is made in the same place where the name brand is, it just has a different label. Try a blind taste test with your family by switching your oatmeal, or tortilla chips. It’s not a big difference, but it will save you moneyz.
Happy Cooking, and Happy Friday!