Monthly Archives: December 2011

How to have kids without blowing the budget!

So you get pregnant.  Planned or not, shortly after the shock/excitement sets in, so does panic about how are you going to be able to afford this kid!  This panic has set in for myself 3 times and these are the ways that I have dealt with it.  Most of these were learned when I had my son almost 12 years ago and had NO money.  I’ve carried them over with my last two children.  It’s helped us save loads of money, and with an ever-expanding grocery bill (a preteen and two little piggies will make you cry at the grocery store every time!) we need all the help we can get!  So here’s a few of my tips!

FEEDING:

  • Breastfeed….as long as you can!  Not only is it free (and easy), it’s best for babes.  The longer you nurse, the longer your baby receives the benefits.  My oldest son nursed full-time until I went back to school when he was 9 months, then he continued to self wean until he was around a year.  My daughter nursed until she was 15 months, with bottles as well starting around 10 months.  My younger son is almost a year old and shows no sign on stopping nursing.  He refuses bottles.
  • If you have to formula feed, use coupons!  It helps a lot.
  • When it’s time to start solids (please not before 6 months!  Or under the recommendation of a GOOD doctor.), make your own baby food.  I always found that my kids hated jarred food (who can blame them?  Have you ever smelled it?)  Plus the savings are tremendous!  1 jar of sweet potatoes baby food costs about $1.  You get, what, 2-3 servings?  I bought a medium sweet potato for $2 and got more than 12 servings.  You just steam the veggies (keeps the nutrients in) until very soft, then puree.  Freeze in ice-cube trays.  That’s it.  Plus, my kids only ever ate puree for a few weeks, so I had lots of puree to throw into things like spaghetti sauce or chili.  You can also do some research on baby led weaning.

CLOTHING:

  • Ask around for hand-me-downs, check out www.kijiji.ca, find local consignment shops, and keep an eye out for local clothing sales.  If you’re in Nova Scotia, keep an eye on the Facebook page.  I’ll be posting starting in the spring all the local sales that I hear about.  These sales are also great for getting things like swings, seats and toys.
  • Use cloth diapers.  Even if you just use them part-time, you’ll save so much money!  To save money when buying your stash, shop for used diapers (www.kijiji.ca), stalk your favorite sites for sales (there’s some really good Boxing Day sales out there right now!), register for cloth diapers for your baby shower, or stick to flats/prefolds and covers.  If you’re looking for something a little different for your baby shower, check out The Fluff and Stuff Shop diaper parties!  They also have a virtual option for those with family far and wide.

EXTRAS:

  • Ask yourself if you really need all those toys/swings/seats/etc.  You can save a lot of money (and space!)if you don’t buy any of the extras.  The only item I really needed/used was our exersaucer.  I bought it used at a yard sale for $15, used it for 2 kids, then sold it for $10.  Can’t complain then.
  • If you really need the extras, buy used.  Most are rarely used and are in great condition.
  • For wipes, even if you use disposable, use cloth.  You will get 100’s of those tiny little wash cloths at your shower, so grab a few and use them for tushies.  I regret not doing it before.

THINGS THAT MUST BE BOUGHT NEW:

  • Car seats and cribs.  Don’t mess around with those items.  Use the savings from above and get the best that you can get!  You never know what has happened to them before hand and you can get good quality for a fair price.

Good luck to you if you’re pregnant/planning on becoming pregnant, just had a baby, or are losing your mind every time you walk into the Wal-Mart with your children.  Kids are expensive, but there are ways to ease the pain!  Leave me a comment on ways that your family saves money!

Happy Diapering/Parenting!

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My Cloth Diaper Story

My Cloth Diaper Story.

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My Cloth Diaper Story

This blog post is a contest entry, but I think it’s a great idea to write about the benefits of cloth and my personal experience.  Please comment and tell me about your experiences!  I always love to hear from others!

I started using cloth diapers almost 12 years ago when I had my oldest son.  Back then it wasn’t a choice, I had no money for diapers.  NONE.  So, for about $20, my mother got me a diaper pail, some pins, a few rubber pants, and made me some flannel flats out of an old flannel sheet.  It started out as a way to cut down on my use of disposables, but quickly I found a love for those diapers that I never thought would happen.  I started using them when I was out of the house (dirties went into a bread bag!), I only used disposables at night.  He rarely had rashes, and the amount of money I saved was crazy!

Fast forward 8 years and I was pregnant again with my daughter.  We knew that we would use cloth again, but were unsure if we wanted to go with flats again.  We started out with flannel flats when she was little, then moved onto fitteds, pockets and prefolds.  By the time she was a year old, we had way too many diapers and had never paid anymore then $250 for all the diapers that we had.  We were so happy with the decision we had made!

A few years later and we were pregnant again with our son.  The only things that we had to purchase were some small covers and prefolds, which were bought used.  We might have paid $60 to get ready for him.  Then when he outgrew the smalls, he went into the same diapers that his big sister was wearing.  And we recouped about $40 from selling his diapers.  Eventually we did have to replace some of our prefolds, but it was still worth every penny.  The old prefolds were added to the rag-bag for cleaning.  They are still super absorbent, just rough around the edges.  Diaper Decisions has a great chart that explains the costs of each type of diaper for you.

Cloth diapers are super easy.  Even to use flats and prefolds (the most economical choice), after you use them a few times, you’re an old pro.  YouTube has some great videos that can help you out.  Washing may take a little bit of a learning curve as well, but it’s still super easy.  If you are exclusively breastfeeding, even the poopy diapers get thrown in the pail. (It’s water soluble.)  Even if you have to rinse the dirties off, a diaper sprayer (a must have in  my opinion) deals with it.  I have never actually touched to poo on a diaper….EVER.

We have never once regretted our decision to use cloth diapers with our children.  They have only ever had teething rashes on their bums, we have saved loads of money, and they are really easy once you get the hang of it.  In fact, even my husband grabs a flat or prefold and a cover over the pocket diapers.  If that doesn’t speak volumes to the ease of use, I don’t know what is!

Happy Diapering!

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How Many Diapers Do I Need?

This is a common question that many people have.  The cost of buying cloth diapers can be a little intimidating when you are first starting out.    You must keep in mind that this is most likely a one time cost.  There will be no running to the store because you are out of diapers!  If you chose to still use disposables at night, you can get through without too many worries.  We keep the smallest packages of disposables in the house for night, so we go through a 40 pack about every month or so.

OK…so how many do you need?  With a newborn, I would suggest a minimum of 25.  This will most likely not give you more than a day, day and a half at the most between washing.  When they are older, I would say a minimum of 18.  This again will not get you far.  But it will get you started!  Be prepared to do washing more frequently, and there will be more wear and tear on your diapers.

To be comfortable, minimize the wear, and have a day or two between washings, I would recommend 36 for newborns, and 25 for older babes.  You can always add more of less depending on your preference, how many days you want in between washings and such.

I always want to suggest as well, that when you are starting your stash, please purchase a mix of diapers.  Whether it be brands, or types (such as pockets and prefolds), this will let you know what works on your baby, and will also help minimize the costs.  (It will minimize costs because you will nt be buying an entire stash of something that you don’t like!)

Here are some links with more info for you!

Happy Diapering!

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Happy Holidays! And How to Survive!

It’s just about that time of the year again!  Snow (should be) on the ground, children (should be) on their best behaviour, family (hopefully) getting together for gatherings.  As exciting as this time of year is, it can be stressful with children.  Here are some of my tips for parent survival of the holidays!

  • Take some items off your to-do list.  With a serious case of teething, many traditions have been kicked to the curb in this house.  I feel guilty, but I know that it’s better to do less and enjoy the time with my kids instead of getting out my Christmas cards this year.  Plus it saved us a bit of money!
  • Take the time to plan a few child friendly crafts to entertain the kids.  It’s fun for the kids, plus it keeps them occupied for a few minutes while you get a few things crossed off your list.  It doesn’t have to be anything crazy either.  Today, M made Christmas ornaments out of construction paper circles.  Super simple.
  • Let the house work go to the wayside.  People will understand.  Or maybe not show up!  Or not stay as long!  Honestly, my house is a disaster at the moment, so I need to do something about it.  But I’m talking about every pot is dirty on the counter and I had to shove a bunch of crap to the side so I could put the laptop down to type this.
  • Stick to the schedule as much as possible!  If your kids have a nap or go to bed at a certain time, keep it up!  They may not go to sleep, but you will have a better chance of it if you stick to a schedule.  Plus this helps minimize over tired melt downs that tend to ruin Christmas dinner.
  • Keep lots of snacks in the house for your little ones!  I know that in our house, we tend not to eat actual meals this time of the year for some reason, so I keep lots of fruit and veggies, crackers, cheese, etc. in the house for the kids to graze on.  Helps with the whining as well.
  • Lastly, expect melt downs.  It’s to be expected.  The kids are super overstimulated over the holidays and if they didn’t have a tantrum, then you need to Thank whomever and be grateful for well behaved children.  (If you do have one of those kids, the best present you can give your friends is to not bring it up.  They might not be your friends anymore.)  I have had a child around for almost 12 years now, and I can’t remember a holiday that didn’t have an overtired, cranky, overstimulated child in it.  It’s the magic of the holidays.
  • And lastly, enjoy yourself!  Start family traditions!  Get outside and enjoy the cold!  Hug your kids a little tighter!

This will probably be the last post until the New Years unless something comes to mind.  So have a great holiday, enjoy the festivities and take the time to enjoy it through your childrens eyes!

Happy Diapering!

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AMP 12 Days of Christmas!

Have you checked out this contest yet?  http://www.ampdiapers.com/blog/day-7-amp-diapers-12-days-of-christmas-giveaway

These are great diapers (one of our top favorites!), so take a few minutes and enter the contest!

Happy Diapering!

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Cloth Wipes

We just recently started using cloth wipes.  I don’t know why it’s taken us so long, but I’m in love.  Here’s our system:

I only fold up about 10 of those cheap baby face clothes that you have 100’s of already from your baby shower.  I only do a few at a time so that we don’t get a mold situation.  Here’s how I fold them.  I use a Prince Lionheart wipe warmer that I found at a used clothing sale for $10.

The solution that we use at the moment are Monkey Doodlez wipe cubes.  I bought mine from The Fluff and Stuff Shop  during the Cyber Monday sales.  I keep a 500ml mason jar with 1 cube diluted in the fridge.  1 cube will do 2 fill ups in our warmer.  If you want to make your own, just do a quick search for wipe solution and you will find lots of different recipes to suit your family.

Whenever my sewing machine and serger find each other again, I will be making my own wipes.  The face clothes work well, but I find them a little small.  All personal preference though.

To go out, I just grab a few and put them in a ziploc baggy, or through them in the travel case.  I don’t store them in my diaper bag, just because of the mold situation that can occur.

To wash, you just throw them in with your regular diaper laundry.  If you don’t use cloth, they can go in with your towels.

You can also use a dry method with your wipes.  All you do then is keep a spray bottle and spritz the wipes as you need them.  I personally prefer a warm cloth for J2’s tushy, but it’s all up to you!

Happy Diapering!

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