A few weeks ago, Pappa Starbucks and I were talking about making our lives more user-friendly. We examined our budget, because we’ve been striving hard to manage our money better. And we found some large ways to cut our costs. First, we decided that much of what we do is destructive to our lives instead of constructive.
For example, we both need to eat healthier and take better care of ourselves so that in the long term, we get sick less, and will miss less school or work, and so the baby stays healthier. This means eating better, keeping our home cleaner (getting rid of and collecting less stuff). There are things that we need still and we cannot afford (for example, I need a new post-baby wardrobe for winter), but also, there are things we buy that we do not need (i.e. more pacifiers for the baby).
We also have started eating many more meals at home, and packing food to eat when we leave. He has started drinking more coffee in our kitchen, and much less in his car and at the local *$.The baby needed some hats, and so I made them from old onesies she outgrew instead of dropping $10 for three at Target.
As students, we’re still learning how to manage our money at all, but as new parents, there are a million things we never considered we would need to watch. It’s easy to get caught up in consumerism as new parents: for example, we recently went on a spree of spending, despite the economy’s bad shape. However, it was on a micro level, and our tab only came to about $200. We got the top things we’d been wanting as new parents, and I don’t regret any of them- we thought, and thought about each purchase and resisted a long time. But now that we have them, they DO help us enjoy being new parents more than having that extra $200 sitting in the bank. The purchases?
A car mirror for traveling so Pappa could see the baby when I’m not in the car to soothe her , a Bumbo seat AND tray, even though she’s just 2 months old (we bought that in blue, too, just in case someday we have a boy..). Then there's the Peanut Shell sling for me, something I had wanted since before I had her, and I wish I had got sooner. This isn't a product recommendation, but I will tell you...it was WELL worth it.
The only thing I would have done differently, is, silly me- shopped for these items second hand (like, for example, maybe on Ebay, if I weren't a dim wit). Since they’re all lightweight, I could have probably got them at great prices and shipped cheaply. We did search for coupons online first though!
The other change we are in the process of making is reducing our dependence on plastic grocery bags. I’d like to say it’s all because I’m environmentally conscious, but I really just hate having all those plastic bags taking up space in my kitchen. Currently, we use them for doggy poo...which sucks when they are a bit holy.
The other bit of wisdom we have learned is to earn our credit card points. I never had credit cars before, but now I am learning to use those cards in my advantage. (HOWEVER, we make sure to never, ever, under any circumstance even so much as think about carrying a balance. It's scares me so much to think about getting into debt that I wont use the card if I know we can't go straight home and pay for the item). This means store cards and other kinds, as well as those points’ cards stores give you, which often come with being put on a coupon list as well. Most mailing lists I loathe, but free coupons are always nice if they’re for something I will use. And for the rest, I’ve started sending them to a sister in law, who in turn sends me her unused baby coupons. It’s a win-win for all, except the cat: no one seems to have one, and you’d be surprised how many cat coupons we get each week. Maybe we should start looking for a kitten : )