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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to Work, Wife,Mom...Life! for Working Mommy Wednesday. For this week the discussion is: Favorite recipe, organizational tip, or money saving tip!

Today I'm going to write on our money saving tips with a newborn and how to avoid unnecessary products.

There is so much product on the market for parents with newborns. I found myself as a product designer and new mom 2 years ago astonished and overwhelmed with all of the choices. My husband and I were very cautious and made sure we had the basics covered but others bought us more than we needed which resulted in dealing with storing issues.

Here is my top 5 list of things that were bought for us that are NOT NECESSARY:

1. The First Years Night and Day Bottle Warmer $29.99 - how many times did Charlotte scream while we waited for this stupid thing to heat the bottle and more times then I can count either over warm or under warm leaving us to try and compensate. We'd been told to not use the microwave because it leaves hot spots in the milk - only if you don't mix it!! So by mid-year we had stored the bottle warmer - tried to sell it on E-bay but didn't get any buyers - and we now use the microwave.

2. Avent Express Microwave Steam Sterilizer $30.00 - took up too much counter space in a seriously limited kitchen area. We still have to wash and scrub each bottle before putting it in the steamer and after consulting with our Pediatrician, learned as long as we scrub with hot water and soap we are removing all the germs so this thing is really useless and takes up too much space.

3. Boppy $30.00 plus covers are $10-20 - I have to say it's useless for breast feeding which is it's intended design but I've enjoyed using it to prop baby up for photos and it gives him a little lift when he's got hiccups. I'm still listing it here because it's not necessary.

4. Swing $60 - $120 - my daughter thought the swing was from the Devil! It takes up a huge amount of space and she'd cry every time we put her in it. If they dare put her in the swing at church she'd cry for me so we learned to tell them every time, don't put her in the swing. How to determine if you child will like/violently hate something is beyond me! I hung onto it for 2 years and we will see if the boy likes it. I'm just saying it's not necessary.

5. American Red Cross 17-pc. Health and Grooming Kit $19.99 - In 2 years I've used the brush, comb and rattle. That's it! Totally not necessary.

Now here's my top 5 saving money techniques with a new baby:

1. Breast feeding - I'm a working mom and with Charlotte I pumped at work every 3-4 hours. I pumped on business trips, at turn pike bathrooms, restaurants, corporate boardrooms where I'd connect with another mom who would reserve boardroom space for me to lock myself in. I found where there's a will there is a way! I did this for 9 months until my daughter weened herself and then my supply dropped so low it wasn't worth it.

The most affordable formula is at Costco for $19.99 for two cans. We'd have bought approximately two of these per month for those 9 months costing approx. $360.00. I'm so happy with my choice to breast feed for even more health reasons but cost was definitely a factor.

2. Cloth Diapers - I didn't do this with Charlotte and we paid $40.00 per month for her Costco diapers. Over two years we've spent $960. No sense kicking ourselves in the pants for this, no no, going forward we are switching to cloth diapers for Sam! The savings are huge!

3. Donations - We've been incredibly blessed with a co-worker who's girls are 3-4 years older than Charlotte and they donated to us their crib, changing table, diaper changing mat, diaper mat covers and toddler car seat. The savings in this list are tremendous, over $1000.00 easily. In return we've offered the use of our truck for anything they need to haul and even though it's not an adequate trade we like to offer something in return. My thankfulness for this couple is through the roof!

4. Strollers - I'm a big fan of baby wearing and didn't see the need to buy an expensive stroller so we got the $20.00 Umbrella stroller. It's worked for countless miles around our condo lake and once Charlotte started walking she only wanted to push the stroller - which will work out great for little Sam! But would have really irritated me had I gone with a more expensive version. Again a space issue AND a cost issue.

5. Clothing - We only buy clothing for special occasions - Christmas, Easter, Birthday, our parents buy everything else. Again we are so blessed in this area and see no reason to buy extra clothing when they have enough items to get through 2 weeks without washing! So even though clothes are cute and call to me from the Target aisles, I say my needs are met.

In conclusion, the most important thing to recognize is - are my basic needs met? If the answer is yes and you still want to spend that money on junior then put it in a bank account with a good interest rate. Watch the money pile up after two years and then get excited about investing it in CD's. Tell yourself you are saving it for something big and expensive if needed and once it's in that savings account you may find yourself less likely to buy something with it because you are so proud of that achievement. That's what we have done!


Betsy said...

I wish we had made the switch to cloth diapers sooner than we did. The money saving is unbelievable!

kt moxie said...

Yay! A fellow minimalist mommy! I can't believe how much baby equipment I had -- and then realized I didn't *really* need!

Terra Heck said...

I agree, getting everything on the market for baby is unnecessary. I like your way of thinking. My kids may wear name brand clothes, but that's because they were given to them or bought at yard sale prices. I barter and trade with others to get goods and services and it works out on both ends.

Julia Ladewski said...

you have AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME tips!! i'm tweeting them now!!! fabulous post!! i love it!! dead on with all your picks too!

Grit said...

you are so right. and your list is bang on the nail! first kids and we spent hundreds totally needlessly. I'd recommend your post to any new mum! well done!

Unknown said...

i am with you 100% on the cloth diapers and breastfeeding. we started CDing ellie at 6mo and fi has never been in anything else (sans vacation when i was not lugging a suitcase of fitteds and covers to NYC). i'm excited for fi to be big enough to fit into ellie's old stash - she still is in size smalls and we started ellie in mediums. each child is so different! the other thing i would add to the totally useless list would be the baby bath tub. talk about bulky! and both of my kids loated it - sold it at a garage sale when fi was 2mo old.