Although it's not the very popular in today's culture, my dream is to have a large family! So far, we've been blessed with two beautiful boys and a third on the way. We've prayerfully decided that the best option for us as a family is for me to stay home with the children, reducing us to one income. This has been quite a challenge for us at times, figuring out how to stretch our modest salary while meeting the needs of a growing family, but I believe that with faith in God and plenty of prayer and wise decision-making it can be done! In many ways I feel my family has been blessed more since I began to stay home, even though we may not have all the latest "stuff". Children are a beautiful inheritence from the Lord, and if we put all our trust in Him, He will surely provide. Still, we need to be wise in building and maintaining a budget. Here are some ideas:
Hit the Yard Sales!
We have saved a significant amount of money on kids' clothes by going to yard sales! Just today I found about seven outfits for Henry and a basketball warm-up outfit, pair of cowboy boots(don't ask!) and pricey ski gloves for Brett! I think we spent about twelve dollars. Another good option is consignment or thrift shops, or you could always try http://www.craigslist.com/ , a great website that features classified adds in your area for amazing deals. I'm currently looking for a good, used playpen, so if anyone has one in the southern Indiana area, let me know!
Avoid the Pink or Blue Trap!
The only blue items Henry has were gifts from other people. If you are planning on having other children it doesn't make much sense to by gender-specific clothing/items! Try neutral colors like cream, green or yellow. We recieved some beautiful baby quilts in a rainbow of all the pastel colors, making them not only beautiful but funcional for subsequent babies. For bedding, we chose a Noah's Ark pattern and solid color sheet sets, although he did end up with some football sheets as a gift. Also, choose solid white onsies/tees and socks--they work well for boy or girl.
Stick to Basics (or why you don't need a changing table)
The variety of baby gear available is overwhelming! Do you really need a wipes warmer? What about that diaper genie? Here's a list of what I've found to be necessary, and ones that are not so essential:
--Swing: Great for soothing a fussy, tired baby. This goes for bouncer, too.
--Sling, or front carrier: Babies love to be snug against their mommies, and you are hands-free
--Bibs: Seriously, buy lots of these! Don't waste money with those cute little ones; go ahead
and buy the larger-size feeder bibs. This will help you keep clothing in good condition
for the next time around.
--Portable changing pad: It's a really good idea to have one of these for diaper changes in public
restrooms! Purchase (or make) one covered in vinyl so it can be
easily sanitized for the next time.
--Baby-sized nail clippers: Too easy to cut baby's tiny fingers with adult ones!
--Sturdy, large diaper bag in gender-neutral color
--Car Seat and Stroller
Save your cash on...
--Changing table: I never used mine with Brett and found it to be quite in the way!
--Wipes warmer: A complete waste of twenty dollars! Dried out the wipes. Use warm
--Mobile: These are really unnecessary, as baby really just wants to see you.
--Baby washclothes/towels: You can use your own towels and washclothes (although those
hoods on the towel are nice!). Chances are good you will recieve
some as gifts anyways.
--Little Mittens: They are always too big and will fall off; use socks!
--Baby powder(bad for the lungs) or oil(overheats the skin): stick with a mild lotion.
--Tons of toys: blocks, stuffed animals and books are great for both boys and girls, and too
many battery-operated toys don't allow children to play creatively, as well
as drive mom and dad crazy!
As you can see, it IS possible to build your family without busting your budget!
What frugal options do you have for raising kids? I would love to hear from you!